|NZ Std Stock Champs : Rotorua 23 &
24 March 2001 By Macgor
After a months delay thanks to lousy weather at the first attempt Rotorua
turned on a brilliant two days of sunshine enabling this the inaugural
NZ Std Stock Championship to finally be run .
A quick count at scrutineering revealed around eighty cars had fronted
to partake representing every track that
runs the class . Stratford , Wanganui and Gisborne only managed one
entry each though . One is better than none
is my way of looking at it .
Scrutineering which was carried out lakeside in Rotorua city
didn't seem to produce any great dramas for anyone other than for 0h Rodney
Smythe who was plucked yet again for engine irregularities . The last time
was at the
Nth Island Champs in Auckland . More is bound to be revealed about
this turn of events as time passes .
A disappointingly small crowd turned up to watch the qualifying
night racing which was as expected for the class fairly aggressive from
the first flag fall . Not too many major incidents happened despite the
amount of contact happening on the track. One rollover for 5b Ivan Smith
was a scary moment when his exposed roll cage was hit
by another car but thankfully no injury to the driver resulted .
Another rollover took an eternity for the crash crew to right again
Results were not forth coming as the meeting progressed and neither
were they broadcast before the close of the meeting so I left the venue
not knowing who the 26 qualifiers were .
I suppose I could have wandered down to the pits after the meeting
but it is my firm belief that that is not the way things should work .
Support Classes on night one were a five car field of streetstocks
that actually turned on a good display
of spinning and generally playing the fool . The 6 car field of A-graders
had one interesting race with Barry Hunter blocking Darcy and Gary Hunter
out of the top spots allowing Mark Osbourne driving the ex 96z Grant Wenzlick
to score a win .
The 12 std saloons should have been somewhere else . 80% of the crowd
left the venue rather than stay to watch their last race which was the
last event on the program .
The big question was would the local fans turn out to support the finals
night as it appeared to me that most of those there on Qualifying night
were out of towners .
Srutineering was once again held lakeside and appeared to be a formality
more than anything else . I didn't see or hear of any dramas and everyone
seemed fairly relaxed about it .
Out to the track and eventually a reasonable sized crowd turned up for
a look see .
Mostly a clean race and not a lot of upset for the front runners apart
from 82a Billy Neil who collapsed his right
front suspension while leading relegating himself to the non finishers
group . 76h Scot Garland won from grid 8 .
58p Peter Bengston had a dynamite drive into second from grid 23 .
Third was 92a Blu Rawiri who had to battle
his way there from grid 19 . 13b Weston Hemara did well to drop only
one spot and come home 4th with
19r Lance Aldridge and 22w Richard Gaskin rounding out the top six
Interesting to note that all of the above named were from different
Heat two saw problems for Blu Rawiri on the starting grid and the three
minute allowance used to effect rushed repairs to get him running again
. His luck wasn't improving though when he was delayed in turn one of the
as a result of the general melee that took place .
58p Peter Bengston's good run ended on the bumper of 68r Keith Spanheke
in the first instance and he was
finished off by 44r Vernon Boothby .
82a Billy Neil and 99a Grant Littlewood were both in 'R'car destruction
mode and silly me thought they were working to help out club mate Blu Rawiri
. 68r Keith Spanheke was having a go at any thing without an 'R' on it
Generally there was combat happening all over the track which made
it not only a spectacle but also very hard to
keep track of who was where in the running order .
22w Richard Gaskin won from grid 9 signaling he was very much in town
to win , Tony Wootten driving the black
99h car of Tony Whyte maintained his grid two spot for second .76h
Scot Garland came in third from grid 23 in
what was obviously a superb drive .16r Clive Pritchard , 89w Dale Robertson
and 14r Steve Axtens rounded out
the top six .
Scot Garland was points leader by 3 points over 22w Richard Gaskin
on 47pts . Blu Rawiri had gathered
43 points by virtue of his heat one second placing and scoring a more
lowly eighth in heat two .
All three cars were to be leaving from mid pack with Blu Rawiri the
worse off on grid fifteen .
Most unusual for a the third heat of a stockcar championship was the
emerging from the pits of all 26 qualifiers
to take their places for the start . I'm not sure I have ever seen
that happen before and probably suggests the
action up to this point hadn't really been all that vicious .
28r Graeme Lambert had pole and started on the brakes holding back
the entire pole line column of cars while
the outside pole column shot through . Scot Garland was in the lucky
lot while both Gaskin and Rawiri were both
in the traffic jam .
Exiting turn two and Scot Garland had moved from grid 12 through into
fourth spot on the track .The bad luck continued for Rawiri when he finally
got free of the start line block he tangled with 64a Carlos Chesnutt delaying
him further .
The race had barely done a lap when a rare red was shown bringing
everything to a standstill to retrieve 43k
Tony Bennetto from the pit gate wall .
A lap after the restart and Garland was into the lead and lapping Blu
Plenty of mayhem going on with the rest of the field meant the other
positions were hard to fathom although I do
think that Tony Wootten was still right up with the play .
Near the white flag lap I noticed the commentators calling Blu Rawiri
in second place but to my mind he was a lap
down and unlikely to be in that position unless the whole field had
been lapped!! . Believe me the run Garland had
going was made that a distinct possibility .
76h Scot Garland received the chequered flag , did his parade lap as
1nz Std Stock, gave the thumbs up to
82a Billy Neil in thanks, letting me know for sure which club the 82a
was working for and I hit the road for home .
A phone call on the way that informed me Blu Rawiri had come out as
the new 2nz Std Stock and a hard fought
run off between 99h Tony Wootten and 14r Steve Axtens had gone the
way of Axtens to decide third overall .
Looking at the Rotorua site the provisional results sheet published
there has Blu Rawiri receiving maximum points
for the third heat and I have since learned that 76h Scot Garland had
been relegated for an indescretion .
The reason I left the venue before the meeting was complete was that
I had had my fill of Minisprints and Ministocks
and when I saw them lining up to come out yet again I was off .
The other supporting class was a strong 12 car field of a-grade stockcars
that raced dull. The only highlight was seeing 62r Neville Stanaway getting
his new beast up to speed and hinting there was more to come .
There were also consolation races for non qualified Std Stocks and
their first heat contained 33 cars , their second
18 cars and at their third outing the field was down to 14 cars . Good
action throughout though
Overall the meeting was run well enough but really there were far too
many hot dog classes and in my heart I am
slightly disappointed with the way one car was allowed to run away
with the championship almost unchallenged .
Rotorua is a great place to spend a weekend for speedway and the improvements
made at the venue show .
The track surface was excellent all weekend with no dust and no slush
All we need now is for the health dept. to condemn the way below standard
toilet facilities and force a rebuilding project to happen . Mind you the
real reason they were so filthy is that a few of the customers were only
in appearance and used them as untrained animals would . I pity the
Rotorua Club members that have to do
the cleaning .
I added a few video clips below but really the lighting at Rotorua
is not suitable for my camera so quality is bad .