The ‘Vacation Action’ at Heavy Trax Central Motor Speedway on Saturday night started with a burn out and ended with a bit of a dust up. For drivers and spectators, last week’s heatwave in Cromwell delivered a two-edged sword. The clay was smooth and fast but as the night wore on with temperatures hovering in the mid-20’s, and despite continuous track watering, dust became a visibility problem for sprintcars competing in their 20 lap feature race, unfortunately resulting in an expensive flip for ‘young gun’ Matthew Anderson (16t).
For safety reasons the race was called off, and later, the saloon feature called short. This was especially disappointing for Graham Williamson who in 21t was having a blinder of a race, seeming to edge ever closer to passing front runner Steve Robertson (55t). With the race stopped just a few laps short of the finish line, we’ll never know whether Graham would have pipped Steve for the checkered flag, but a big thumbs up to both drivers for their Jandal to the metal tussle.
Although racing did raise a bit of dust on Wednesday night at Heavy Trax Central Motor Speedway the all-important heats and round 3 feature race of the Hydraulink $60,000 War of the Wings (WoW) was speedway as it should be. Fast and furious. Exciting to the max. A feature of this series are time trials to decide grid positions and heats. In his first season of sprintcars and competing in his first WoW series, Matthew Anderson was fastest with a very creditable 15.14 seconds.
Wednesday’s Sprintcar War of the Wings
Even though a chill wind blew, racing in the heats and 25 lap points decider was red hot with current title holder Matt Honeywell(64c) placing well enough to maintain a series lead just 5 points ahead of Nelson’s Steve Sullivan(11n) on 230. Nipping at the heels of this former midget driver of the 80s and 90s is 19 year old Canterbury University student Matt Leversedge (7c) who only this speedway season made the leap from three quarter midgets to sprintcars. Former title holder Ray Baughan (95c) moved up a place to fourth with Kris Gerard (75n) retaining 5th and Cromwell contracted driver Jason Scott (88t) taking 6th on points. The next Cromwell driver, Sam O’Callaghan (49t) is 12th with Matthew Anderson (16t) 13th. War of the Wings Round 4 is in Nelson on Saturday, January 30 with the final back in Cromwell on Easter Friday (March 25).
Wednesday night at Heavy Trax Central Motor Speedway was also a biggie for those stripped out, roll caged and mostly Japanese cars competing in the Cromwell Collision Repairs Central Otago Productions Champs. Racing was exciting with former rugby league professional Whetu Taewa (99t) in his Subaru Impreza taking home the trophy with Flip How-Johns (65t, Subaru Legacy) second and Aaron Pratley 3rd in 34c.
Saturday Smash and Bash
With big fields of saloons and other support classes, Wednesday’s crowd got their money’s worth although for spectators who come to speedway for smash and bash, Saturday was the night. From ministocks through to sprintcars, each class had its fair share of whoopsies, all injury free although some of the racecars looked worse for wear. With the exception of sprintcars, productions and saloons, all classes took their points from Wednesday through to Saturday.
Perhaps it was the challenge of winning a combined Christmas/New Year Championship or the hot Central Otago January night, there was some fairly hairy driving where the innocent party was invariably the one most damaged and a DNF.
Legally losing traction on Saturday saw a huge early bird crowd ready and waiting for the $1000 winner takes all Cromwell Tyres Burn Out Comp at 5pm. Johnny Stewart of Paintball Central who organised the event with son Michael of Michael Stewart Restoration, could not have been more pleased with the outcome. “We had seven entries, four of these on the night, and winner Chris Daley of Te Anau in his 700 horsepower Holden Monaro really put on a great show. His experience with drag races really showed.” Speaking with spectators such as Scott Williamson, who would have been racing a production had the engine not blown, they all said they thoroughly enjoyed the event and expressed the hope it wouldn’t be a one off. Johnny says he shares the same hope. Thanks must also go to the mostly young Modified Sprints drivers from Invercargill and Christchurch who in their 1000cc motorcycle engine miniature sprintcars were crowd pleasers.