Despite last Saturday's shocking weather, Queenstown Roofing Central Motor Speedway promoter Jason Scott and Central Motor Speedway club president Andy Erskine stuck to their guns… 'No decision to cancel until 6pm'. Brave words, but as it turned out, their stand resulted in what many say is one of the best ever nights racing at Cromwell's speedway, with a number of track records falling.
One of the records to take a tumble was the Super Saloons, a class that wasn't even on the night's programme. With Elf Cup Super Saloons racing cancelled in Dunedin on Friday and then in Invercargill on Saturday, 14 of the country's top Super Saloon drivers and their crew took up a hastily put together invitation to race at Cromwell for the 'Tony Arras Memorial Trophy' in memory of a pit crewman for Cromwell driver Paul Wright. Paul (Mainfreight) with Ray Stewart (Heavy Trax) and Shane McIntyre(Central Race Parts) also sponsored prizes, Ray sweetening the pot with $500 for the driver who could break his long standing track record.
It's a fair bet Ray put up this money before he was aware that the wet weather and tremendous preparation put in by volunteers had created a track Andy Erskine described as "one of the fastest we've had. In speedway racing, track condition have a huge influence on whether or not records will fall as they did on Saturday when Ray's Super Saloon fastest lap record fell a number of times before he won it back only to have it snatched away by Canterbury driver Trevor Elliott with a time of 16.0886 seconds."
Andy also said he can't thank enough all other volunteers for how they literally weathered the storm and pulled together for a night that ran like clockwork and even with the addition of the Super Saloons, saw the fireworks start on time. "The fireworks finale was as much as anything not just a big thank you to Central Otago spectators, especially families, but to show just how much we rely on and appreciate the time and effort put in by volunteers."
Sharon Leckie with son Sam (12) are speedway regulars who couldn't believe their luck that the weather came so right and the racing so action packed. "It was an awesome night topped off with an amazing fireworks display. For people who were put off by the weather, they really did miss out on one of the best ever nights of speedway."
Track action saw some great tussles among the crowd-pleasing Modifieds with current 1NZ Luke Keegan starting at the rear of the grid in the 20 lap feature race to come through the field and take the chequered flag. The saloons delivered plenty of action that saw winner on the night Peter 'Dutchy' Schouten also set a new track record.
Racing returns to Queenstown Roofing Central Motor Speedway at 6pm on Friday, December 5 with round six of the DHL saloon series featuring top drivers from all over New Zealand.