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Oreti Park Pray To Weather Gods
By Daryl Shuttleworth
Daniel Shuttleworth in full slide at the Burt Munro Challenge. Photo Laben Photography
Competitors at Oreti Park Speedway could be forgiven for thinking Mother Nature just does not like speedway. The club had their opening meeting of the season washed out a few weeks ago, and just last weekend hosted the Burt Munro Speedway Spectacular which was rained out before a third of the races were even run, disappointing traveling riders and fans alike.
This Saturday night the Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway will erupt into life again as the club hosts the Southland Classic Solo Championships and Round 1 of the Sidecar Teams Challenge along with full fields of support classes.
The Classic Solo Championship will be tightly contested, the riders may ride for the love of it but the competitive streak comes out as soon as the helmet goes on and the bikes start up. West Coast motorcycle legend Kevin Ryan has decided to stay in the South for an extra week after a busy Burt Munro weekend where Ryan raced at every event on the schedule, Ryan is one of the favorites to take the Southland title to the West Coast.
Local hopes lay with the likes of Pete Stenning, Joe Hughes, Kelvin Neutze, Les Payne, Noel Caulfield and Rhys Wilson all seasoned campaigners who could win the Classic Solo Championship.
The Sidecar Teams Challenge promises tight action packed wheel to wheel racing, the challenge consists of a visiting Canterbury team known as the Canterbury Shakers led by Lionel Green and Shayne Breech who have won a number of championships at Oreti Park, Jason Riley and Bradley Ross, Aaron Ray and Bevan Nuttridge and the Corey Lang Gus Elliot combination they will be looking for revenge after a solid performance from all the Oreti Park riders at the recent Canterbury Championship.
They will face three strong teams all from the Oreti Park club, the defending teams champions are the Hog Hunters featuring Aiden Thwaites and Shane Twiss, Craig McMaster and James Dawson, Luke Thwaites and Neville Chalmers and Jason Harper and Mark George all combinations who showed pace in the races they managed to run at the Burt Munro event.
The Oreti Contenders team is made up of Bradley Sharp and Chris Chatfield, Jason Kennedy and Myron Anderson, Stan Ross and Chris Leeden and the all girl combination of Clare Hartnell and Tracey Davidson, while this team may lack some experience they make up for it in guts and determination and must be looked at as the dark horse in the field.
The final team from Oreti are the Wild Piglets, a team with experience and desire to win the teams challenge, Erwin Tree and Nigel Cuckow lead the team consisting of James Douglas and Ricky Pubben, Scott Ayto and Dylan Carnie and the pairing of Josh Heenan and Harley Biddle.
All four teams will battle in out at Oreti Park and carry their points forward to the final being contested with the same four teams in Christchurch in February.
Over sixty races are sceduled for the event, racing starts at the Russell Cunningham Oreti Park Speedway this Saturday at 4pm.