Easy to remember address : www.macgor.co.nz
1st published Feb 2001, republished 25-06-2015

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Rotorua North Island Teams Classic 2nd & 3rd February 2001 by Macgor

This meeting has figured high in the priority viewing stakes for a few years now although to be honest the standard of show has varied greatly . The format has in the past involved teams races for Streetstocks , Std Stocks and A-Grade Stockcars . This year it was just 6 A-grade teams backed up by the North Island Minisprint Champs .
Some of the six teams on offer weren't all exactly thrilling on paper .

The Auckland Allstars :
comprising a bunch of new members  who although likely to be worthy were unproven in the form of  Waikato import 11a Gary Ellis , new to A-grades this season 7a Dayne Wright , 17a Rick Campbell , 41a Warwick Ansty and 125a David Neal .

Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes:
Who don't usually star or even start at teams meetings . Surprise to see 32b Bryce Penn included along with 31b Ross Leonard , 33b Robbie Maybe and 35b Steve Jude . All good drivers in their own right but would they gel as a team was the query . No fifth car meant they would be on the back foot from the beginning . All in team colours which was a surprise demonstrating a commitment to the cause . I wasn't happy with the numbers used though . too confusing and if I start writing Ian Glenny as 35b then it's because I've been around too long.

Northern Selection :
Smacked of a team thrown together in haste but comprising of stars , past , present and future .
22h Blair Ashton , 6h Jason Redinger , 9a Kevin Brookes , 29r Russell Hunter with those four joined by 36h Kevin Free for the second night .

Rotorua Rookies :
A team of young guns all in team colours similar to the Nelson Tigers look and in sequential numbers adding another confusion for me . 28r Gary Hunter , 27r Daryl Manson , 26r Mark Osbourne , ?? Kyle Fraser and ?? Tony Smale made up the team of future stars .

Rotorua Rebels :
The highest profile team in the country this season even before they had raced in team combat . Look alike bodies and a change to sequential numbers really had my brain working over time .
92r Shane Penn , 93r Chris Allen , 94r Darcey Hunter , 95r Rodney Wood and 96r Murray Hobbs .

You can imagine how long it took to adjust to seeing Hobbs as 96r instead of 94r . Same goes for the others although on a lesser scale since their normal numbers weren't in use .
This team was expected to do extra well being made up of some of the best individual racers in the country.

Waikato Wanderers:
Back to basics with the Waikato team with a couple of fast runners and a couple of rugged hard hitters . 8h Dave Roigard , 18h Bryce Steiner ,41h Trevor Mason , 58h Shaun Wade and 71h Tony Wootten .
No teams colours and no number changes meant I was happy with this lot of Huntly hitmen .

The format: was said to be teams paired off for three separate races , first across the line wins and points kept  also to decide the highest scoring loosing team to make the fourth team for finals night .
Disappointing in that last year's winning team the Wellington Wildcats were not on hand to defend and  the recently announced Baypark Busters team of Rotorua drivers wasn't part of this meeting either .
Reasons abound for the omissions , none of which I am prepared to repeat here because I'm not certain any of them are the truth .

Qualifying Teams race one :
Waikato Wanderers versus Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes
Hawkeyes had pole for the first clash of the weekend and 35b Steve Jude filled the prime spot . 41h Trevor Mason beat Jude of the mark from grid two , Jude caught and spun 41h as they entered the back straight though and while the two cars tangled 32b Bryce Penn grabbed front running .

18h Bryce Steiner was straight into block mode and when confronted by the waiting green tank Penn made the pass on the infield in a moment of erroneous judgement . Hell I'd go grass racing too if I was confronted with that particular tank and driver . Penn's advantage wasn't to last as 8a Dave Roigard was on his case putting Penn around in turn four relieving the need for the referee to intervene .
All the while the altercation between 41h Trevor Mason and 35b Steve Jude continued until 41h parked 35b on the back straight wall causing the first red light for retrieval purposes .
Mason's next prey was 33b Robbie Maybe and a short time later the reds were back on to pluck the 33b from on top of the turn four wall .
Hawkes bay were now down to two cars against Huntly's three . Roigard had retired with damage after accidentally hitting a stopped car hard under the red lights .

While all the drama unfolded 85h Shaun Wade was storming away with the lead and avoiding confrontation wherever possible although he took time to spin and stall 31b Ross Leonard in the final laps .

This left Bryce Penn to defend the Hawkes Bay pride which he did  to a degree but the numbers were stacked in Waikato's favour and the race ended when the chequered dropped on 58h Shaun Wade . Bryce Penn was the only Hawkeye finisher meaning not much chance of Hawkes Bay making the finals as highest scoring losers .

Quite a good teams race to kick off the weekend with though .