The promise for Otago Anniversary Weekend Saturday night at Cromwell’s Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway was an ‘Eve of Destruction’. Few, if any, of the big turnout of spectators would have gone home disappointed. Destruction in fact started from the get-go with a number of non-injury prangs during races leading up to the highly anticipated Demolition Derby.
In her first season in Six Shooters, 17-year-old Georgia Gordon from Invercargill provided the night’s heart-stopping moment with a high flying flip. Although the front of 99i looked a sorry sight we are told it was repaired in time for Georgia to compete at Riverside Speedway on Sunday afternoon. There was also plenty of accidental car contact in the combined Super Saloons and Saloon field. Always guaranteed to the thrill, the Sprintcar heats and 20 lap feature race showed that although pushed hard by his nephew Sam O’Callaghan (49t) and fellow young gun, Christchurch-based Steve Duff Jnr (15t), current Sprintcar King of Cromwell, Jason Scott, is definitely back on form. In Productions Geoff Friend continued his winning ways while Youth Ministocks showed why this is such a popular entry level for future speedway stars.
Earlier in the evening there was a taster of sorts when the 24 demolition derby cars had a short, non-contact race for drivers to familiarise themselves with the track. At around the scheduled start time of 8.20pm the young of age and young at heart crowded the safety fence for the main event. This time it was to be no holds barred, full on contact racing.
While it didn’t take long for most of the field to look like snub-nose, steam-belching bulldogs, these modern day gladiators at the wheel provided close to half an hour’s smashing entertainment. In the end it became a metal-crunching duel to the mechanical death between The Brew House Team mates Megan Kelly and Whetu Taewa. Not only was this female versus male it was also Japan versus Germany with mother of two Megan in a Mitsubishi Lancer and Whetu driving a BMW 3 series. Despite claims of Japanese motors having it over those from Europe, Germany won the day with Whetu’s car chugging to a stop a few seconds after first time demolition derby competitor Megan’s had given up the ghost.
As a follow up to the father and son entry that made the front page of the Cromwell Bulletin, six year old Jonti had to watch his father pull out fairly early in the tournament after a car clipped the rear of the car. Mark believes the impact either smashed the fuel pump or damaged the fuel line as the car basically conked out. After the race Jonti was keen to take the car home for Mark and he to repair but in the cold light of Sunday, changed his mind deciding the Hyundai Lantra was in a terrible way. Remarkably the wiper motors still worked.
Racing at Cromwell’s speedway goes from fun to serious with two full on Easter meetings that on Good Friday will decide the $60,000 2016-17 Hydraulink Sprintcar War of the Wings winner and on Easter Sunday, the 2016-17 South Island Sprintcar Title decider. Among support classes will be Easter and other championships. Gates open at 2pm with racing starting at 4pm.