Lined up to compete in the finale of the Holden Trade Club Saloon Speedweek, the formation parade of 20 saloons came to a stop on the back straight. Motors were cut as crews and drivers of other classes flooded on to the track from the pits. At the request of track announcer Mike Sentch, a minute’s silence descended on Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway in remembrance of club president Daryl Ainsley tragically killed in May this year; silence that spoke volumes of Daryl’s mana and the high esteem in which he is held and always will be.
The 20 lap feature race dedicated to Daryl Ainsley produced a result that could not have been better scripted with the first three finishers being drivers who had given Daryl the tough competition he needed to go from saloon rookie to champion in just a few seasons before taking ‘Mad Maori Racing’ and the number 5t to the more powerful super saloon class. This number has now been retired to always be Daryl’s.
After the Pole shuffle the top three grid positions were former Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway ‘t’ driver Peter Shouten (72c), Nigel Ross (46a) and Blenheim’s Paddy North (2NZ). From the moment the lights went green, the three set a blistering pace with Central Motor Speedway ‘t’ driver Graham Williamson (21t) tenaciously holding onto fourth. Towards the end of the race a slight miscalculation saw Peter scrape the wall out of turn 2, quickly regaining control to hold first place. With no yellow light cautions or race incidents it was all over in around five minutes with Peter not only taking the checkered flag but also winning the 2019 Holden Trade Club Speedweek presented by Valvoline. In 2014 Peter placed third in the series. Unfortunately for Nigel Ross, one of six North Island drivers, second place in the finale wasn’t enough for him to step up to the winners’ podium at Sunday morning’s prize giving. However, defending title holder Paddy North’s third in the finale gave him second in the series.
The biggest smile on the podium belonged to Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway ‘t’ driver Ivan Murdoch (7t) who after a disappointing performance in last year’s Speedweek in the North Island jumped enough cars in the finale to move up from midfield to earn the points necessary to place third in the series. Christchurch’s Willie Woodhouse (71c) was fourth with Graham Williamson (21t) fifth to complete a southern sweep.
No yellow cautions or race stopping incidents
Organiser Steve Williams said the return of the Holden Trade Club Speedweek Series to the South Island after several season’s absence could not have been more successful for the way it gave 12 series rookies the opportunity to race against experienced North and South Island saloon drivers. But as Steve said, what pleased him most were no yellow cautions or race-stopping incidents in all five feature races. If all goes to plan the series will again be in the South Island next season.
Saturday’s racing wasn’t all saloons with the visiting gang of nine winged V8 modifieds from Greymouth and Christchurch demonstrating why this class introduced to New Zealand in the 1970s still holds its own as a spectator pleaser. The return to Central Motor Speedway of this cross between a saloon and sprintcar would be more than welcomed. For on-track antics and tangles the prize goes to the Commodore 3.8 powered open wheeler six shooters. The small field of sprintcars delivered the goods as did the productions and youth ministocks.
16-year-old US sprintcar ace to race on Cromwell clay
The ‘Stop Press’ news for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s racing at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway on Saturday, December 29 and Tuesday, January 1 is the appearance of 16-year-old US sprintcar ace Michael ‘Buddy’ Kofoid (aka The Kid) who is the country for track time in preparation for competing in the Civil Construction 2019 NZ Sprintcar Title. A few Buddy facts to blow your socks off, he started racing sprintcars against adult drivers at just 11, recently won a $10,000 race and in the US 2017-18 season competed in 74 races with seven wins and 26 top five and 50 top ten finishes.
There’s much to be learned about Michael ‘Buddy’ Kofoid on the internet with one particular article pointing out that racing is what Buddy wants to do, taking his mum and dad along for the ride, much like our own Scott Dixon did with his parents. Buddy is reported as saying that it’s not speed he experiences but, rather, the smooth effortless movement through space.