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Action Packed Season Opener At Oreti Park

Sean Mason of the Auckland Rhinos and Grant Tregoning of The Southland Outlaws go toe to toe in the Inter-provincial solo champs
(photo credit to Corey Varcoe Photography)

Meeting review by Daryl Shuttleworth
A massive crowed filled The Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway for their opening meeting on Saturday night, and they were entertained by almost as many spills as there was thrills. Steady rain threatened to slow proceedings just before the start of racing but once the rain cleared it was business as usual on track and the crowd was eager to see The Southland Outlaws take on the Auckland Rhinos in the Inter-provincial Solo Match, Auckland were hurting after a narrow loss last weekend to the Canterbury Comets in Christchurch and they made their intentions very well know from the start of heat one when they scored maximum points and then repeated the dose in the next heat to take a commanding lead straight away.

Southlands luck was turning from bad to worse when number 1 rider Grant Tregoning blew a motor and had to use a replacement, he also blew a tyre in a later heat to give the near to unbeatable rider a night to forget. The Southland team also lost Jeremy Godfrey who looked fast in early races before a nasty crash took him out for the night with a shoulder injury, this opened the door for reserve rider Paul Hayes who started a Southland Outlaws come back with a win in his race followed by Tregoning picking up a win in the following race but the damage had been done and the Auckland Rhinos came out on top with a commanding scoreline of 48 - 23.

For The Rhinos Bradley Wilson - Dean was the rider to do most the damage picking up multiple wins, this now elevates Auckland to the top of the table with 5 points from 2 outings, followed by Canterbury on 3 from 1 and Southland 0 from 1. Southland will now take on The Rhinos in Auckland on November 17.

Kevin McDonald and Karl Hosie lead Lionel Green and Shayne Breach in the final of the Malcom Officer Memorial Sidecars
(photo credit to Corey Varcoe Photography)

The evergreen pairing of Kevin McDonald and Karl Hosie were just too good for the competition in the Malcom Officer Memorial Sidecars Trophy, the Southland pairing faced tough opposition all day but did enough to qualify for the final. Favourites and current title holder Lionel Green and Shayne Breach of Christchurch started the day with a win but were upstaged in the heats by McDonald and Hosie along with a stunning ride by Scott Ayto and Dylan Carnie who both out rode the Christchurch pairing to claim heat victories, while Ayto and Carniedidnt quiet do enough to make the final, McDonald and Hosie did and dominated from start to finish to claim the Malcom Officer Memorial Trophy much to the delight of the large crowd, they were followed home by Green and Breach while Southlanders Luke Thwaites and Neville Chalmers took third. The pairing of Thwaites and Chalmers claimed the most race wins of the day and look to be the in form pairing to watch going into the Burt Munro Challenge later this month.

The third championship of the night was the Southland Classic Solo Championship which came down to a two way battle between club stalwarts John Tuffley and Paul Hayes. In heat one every rider on track fell off, 3 of them early in the race causing a restart with just Tuffley and Hayes, Hayes led early only to fall off, then Tuffley led with one lap to go only to fall off also, allowing Hayes to rejoin the race and take the win, but as the night went on it was Tuffley who started to build the points needed to claim the overall championship from Hayes and Les Payne in third, just another title for Tuffley to add to his already impressive collection he has amassed at Oreti Park over his many years competing.

The club now looks forward to The Burt Munro Challenge on November 30, there is already record entries received from riders all across the country, if the opening meeting is anything to go by, this will be an event not to miss.