The promise was exciting, high speed action. The reality was even better with many of those among the big spectator turn out on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday describing racing as some of the best they had seen at Queenstown Roofing Central Motor Speedway.
Although commitments had prevented him competing in enough rounds to make the podium, Christchurch's recently crowned Sprintcar 1NZ Jamie Duff demonstrated during Good Friday's War of the Wings heats and 25 lap feature race why he is the country's best driver. He's also one of the youngest national champions, celebrating his 25th birthday on Easter Monday. As in the past couple of years, Jamie will soon be off to the US to further hone his skills competing mainly in Washington State and Oregon.
Matt's The Man
Friday night however belonged to Matt Honeywell, the 'flying farmer' from near Methven, could have driven a cautious race but as he explained after winning the 2014/15 War of the Wings title relished the challenge of attacking rather than driving defensively. Unfortunately a first corner incident put Cromwell contracted driver and last year's winner, Jason 'Capt' Scott out of the feature race, although accumulated points gave him second equal in the series with Nelson's Brett 'Sausage' Sullivan. Another victim of the first corner incident was Christchurch driver Ray 'Chicken Man' Baughan who managed to nurse his sprintcar around the track to avoid a DNF and collect enough points for fourth in the series.
For sprintcar fans and followers of the annual War of the Wings series the news from organiser Alistair Kelso is all good for next season with format revamping to further amp up excitement levels, a new major sponsor in the wings and Cromwell confirmed to again host two of the eight rounds.
Daryl Rewards Fans
Friday night also saw the methanol-gulping, flame spitting super saloons serve notice of great racing to come on Easter Sunday's Super Saloon Stampede. On the night Cromwell's Daryl Ainsley at the wheel of 5t showed he was not intimidated competing against a clutch of super saloon champions including current 2NZ Mark 'Fluffy' Grocott and 3NZ Ian Burson. After convincingly winning the grid-deciding pole shuffle, Daryl drove a blinder in the 20 lap Super Saloon Stampede chasing 2NZ into second place. Third place went to fellow Cromwell contracted driver (and pensioner) Ray Stewart. While Kristin Vermeulen wasn't at the pointy end of the stampede, the country's only female super saloon driver showed why she is rated among the North Island's top 10.
Fresh from racing the Saloon NZGP in Invercargill on Good Friday, these slightly less horsepower versions of super saloons thrilled the Sunday crowd with some fairly hairy moments, although the most challenging whoopsie of the night for the rescue crew and track volunteers was untangling the six shooter of local driver Lyndon Buchanan from the safety fence.
Congratulation must go to all drivers in all classes for putting on a wonderful show over both nights. While six shooters, youth ministocks and productions may be referred to as support classes, they were never short on delivering crowd-pleasing, exciting racing as they competed in their Easter Champs.
Speedway action returns to Queenstown Roofing Central Motor Speedway with the 2014/15 season finale on Anzac Day (April 25) at the early start time of 3pm. All classes will be racing with the added attraction of a demolition derby.