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Chaotic Couple Of Days End Beachlands Season

Beachlands Speedway

STORY BY

DARYL SHUTTLEWORTH
Shuttleworth Motorsport Media

Images supplied by: Robin Simpson

(Disclaimer – results as seen by myself while commentating, results may have changed slightly due to relegations etc. – This article or extracts from it are not to be used by any other form of media without prior permission.) 

The annual Battle Of The Streetstock is fast becoming the showcase attraction at Custom Signs Beachlands Speedway in Dunedin, and if you were not trackside for the recent instalment you simply missed out on two insane nights of classic South Island Streetstock cation.

The event is raced over six races, shortened to five in this case, which we will touch on a little later.

It pairs sixteen local Streetstock drivers with sixteen out of town drivers, all drivers apply to be a part of the event, then a random draw is done to partner the local driver with the visitor …….. but wait there’s more, they then draw the number of a Youth Saloon driver and that driver then becomes part of the team and a whole other series called The Young And The Restless where all three drivers points across the two grades will be calculated.

The weekend would also see the running of The Stockcar Man Of Steel, Saloons would run the Donald MacLean Memorial, Production Saloons would have a thirty lap race and then there was the Celebrity Challenge for I Am Hope featuring a number of celebrities including the likes of Comedian Mike King, former All Black Kees Meeuws, former Highlanders Nasi Manu and Marty banks plus many more, so an action packed two day event not to miss.

Gillies Contracting were back on board as the main sponsor of the Battle of The Streetstocks and the event would kick off with each combination nominating one driver to hit the track and do some hot laps to determine their grid positions.

Time Trials would see Dunedin’s Ben Jenkins who was partnered with Brian Shaw of Nelson smash out the fastest lap time, followed by Ryan Musgrove of Nelson teamed with Jacob Campbell of Dunedin and in third New Zealand Streetstock Champion Allan Finch of Dunedin, teamed with Invercargill’s Brent Bradley.

So with the grids decided and the scene set for action it was time for heat one of the Battle Of The Streetstocks.

Heat one and the lights go green and as you can only imagine with thirty two screaming Streetstocks going hammer and tong it was pretty hard to keep up with all the action, hence I will possibly miss what I didn’t see in the review, but lets try and cover it off.

Now to be fair heat one was the cleanest of the weekend, no stoppages, plenty of spins a few cars retired to the infield but a good fast entertaining battle which saw Jenkins claim the race win ahead of Musgrove and Mike Jones of Christchurch in third place. The key to this event is ensuring you partner also finishes the race or you end up bleeding points to your opponents.

Heat two saw a couple of red lights come on as cars speared all over the Beachlands circuit, Dunedin’s Brian Nicolaou and Bradley would have a coming together mid race, Nicolaou flipping Bradley onto his roof and putting him out of this heat, these two drivers would meet again in a well publicised incident the very next race.

The only other red light was bought about by debris on the track, again a good hard fought battle that would eventually go the way of Steve Soper of Nelson, Corey Schumacher of Christchurch second with Musgrove backing up his solid result from heat one in third.

Race three would only compromise of one lap and would end in sahre horror as the big field of Streetstocks battled their way down the back straight, Nicolaou would be tagged in turn three and roll violently towards the wall, coming up behind him at pace was Bradley who used Nicolaou’s car as basically a ramp, sending him up towards the top of the catch fence, where his car would get thrown out into the arena narrowly missing bystanders and public walking past.

There were screams of horror and as a commentator the next ten minutes of so were a total blank.

Thankfully no one was hurt, neither drivers, or anyone in the public, this was simply the perfect turn of events which led to an unbelievable incident that you possibly could never play out again in your lifetime.

Both cars were out of the event and the meeting at this point was called, this also being the last race of the night.

I must also state here that the Committee of Beachlands Speedway did a remarkable job of dealing with this situation, calmed, collected and while Im sure they were all very panicd, they didn’t show this at all, public and competitive well being was at the forefront the entire time.

So with night one done the points table saw Jones and his partner Clay Marshall of Dunedin leading the standings, four points clear of Soper and Matt Stewart of Dunedin with Braden Adams of Dunedin paired with Shaun Andrew of Christchurch a further four points back in third place.

There was a delay in getting the Streetstocks out for night two races after a number of the cars sustained damage during the Celebrity Challenge but when they finally got to roll out on track for heat four the big crowd were amped, chomping at the bit to see some Streetie action, and they got plenty of that over the next three races.

The leader after night one Jones would have been gutted in this heat, Jones was dominating the entire race out front and looked like extending his lead in the series only for the Cantabrian to retire on lap eight of twelve with mechanical drama’s. All Jones could do was park up and watch his rivals snare points away from the buffer he had early.

Local driver Adams would sneak to the lead from this point and bank his first win for the event, the Otago Streetstock Champion ensuring he was going to remain in contention, he needed to win this as Andrew his partner also never completed the race. Second went to Musgrove who was again at the pointy end of the field with Cody McCarrison of Nelson third.

Race five and we were starting to see some noticeable gaps on the starting grid, it was fast becoming a battle of attrition and it didn’t take too long to see a few more cars sustain damage early in this race.

Coming out of turn two there was a big pile up of cars, one noticeable incident saw Dunedin’s Shya McHardy looking for a way down the outside of the pile up, but he was given the big squeeze which would result in putting him out, other cars to be put out at this early stage were Invercargill’s Phil Johnston, Dunedin’s Kerry Campbell and Soper.

Another stoppage just two laps later would occur when Bailey Gillam of Dunedin would barrell roll in turn three, leading to the track getting a bit of a tidy up in that area at the end of the heat. Gillam ensured the crowd was in fine voice, getting the crowd to cheer him on as he stood high on his heavily damaged car.

The rest of this race was fairly clean, Jenkins coming home to claim his second race win, Finch in second and McCarrison third.

The final race would decide the weekend, and again a pretty tidy display of driving across the field, the way I’m writing this almost sounds as if there was little action but it was totally the opposite, there was big hits, spins, crashes, even a wee hit after the race had finished.

The first stoppage would be for debris to be cleared from the main straight, while the next one was for Johnson on lap five, the Southlander returning to the infield with the front suspension ripped out.

A number of cars would retire from this race as the weekends tough races were starting to take their toll on the field, but when the checkered flag fell on the last race of the competition it was Adams who was all class, keeping his nose clean and getting across the line first in what would ensure a very interesting points wash up overall. Second in race six was Schumacher with Soper coming back strong from not finishing race five in third place.

So with the points all tallied up the Gillies Contracting Battle of The Streetstocks would go the way of Adams and Andrews, Marshall and Jones second and Stewart and Soper third overall.

Individual points for the weekend went to Musgrove over Adams in second with Jones in third place.

As mentioned previously the Youth Saloons were racing for the Young And The Restless Championship where each driver would be partnered with a Streetstock pairing, their points adding to the overall tally, and the racing across the entire weekend in this grade was nothing short of amazing.

Heat one was a heartbreaker for local driver Max Kemp who looked lightening fast at the front of the pack, Kemp would fight off the advances of Riverside’s Cayden Race who fought him hard all race, Kemp looked to have the race in the bag, right up until the very last corner when his car almost came to a stand still allowing Race to cruise through for the win, Race was followed home by clubmates Joshua Richardson in second and Lachie Robertson in third while Kemp would roll across the line in fifth place.

Race two of night one and another incredible fight at the front of the pack between Kemp and Race, the two young drivers going toe to toe once more, keeping it clean and fast, Race would take the spoils of a race win in this heat ahead of Kemp with Richardson home third.

The final Youth Saloon race of night one only had the one caution for debris on the track, this race however had some controversy as both leading cars, once again being Race and Kemp both made a pas under the pole line, both passes were on lapped cars and in my opinion was the safest option for both cars to avoid a bigger incident with a slower car, and neither driver actually gained an advantage over any of their rivals.

On track Race would take the win ahead of Kemp with Noah Kitto of Dunedin third, but Kitto would be elevated to first with both lead cars facing relegation for the pole line infringements. Second would go to Kian Greene of Dunedin, with Kemp third. It was also strange how Kemp only got relegated one spot, but Race given two for what was the same incident.

Night two and the drivers were well and truly fired up and good to go, the two form drivers of night one were still stinging from the relegations in heat three.

This race was dominated by Race who took another race win by a fraction of a second over Kemp and Richardson again third, a very close race with all drivers in the lead pack giving each other plenty of respect and racing room.  

Race five of the weekend saw Richardson turn the tide on his opponents who he had sat behind all weekend. Richardson was calculated in his passing and never looked as if he would be challenged the entire race, Richardson would win this race by over seven seconds with Robertson solid in second and Kemp third.

Youth Saloons final race had dramas in the first lap with three Dunedin drivers having a coming together in turn two, Cruz Soper, Kate Howard and Lycan Cuff all made contact, Soper retiring to the infield.

At the restart Kemp would find a new car to do battle with, this time Dunedin’s Ashley Bennett put on a great drive to hold Kemp off, Kemp would eventually pass but Bennett stayed with him challenging him all the way to the flag, Kemp would win the race with Bennett second and Race third.

Overall results for The Young And The Restless went the way of Howard, Andrews and Adams in first, Dresden Constable of Dunedin, Stewart and Soper second with Kemp, McCarrison and Clay Marshall of Dunedin third.

Friday night saw Classic Streetstocks on the program, it was great to see a field of cars from years gone by on track and in support of the main Streetstock event.

Race one would go the way of Alister Finch of Dunedin, followed home by clubmates Gary Cuff in his Production Saloon and Russell Stewart in third.

The second heat would see Beachland’s Graeme McKernan grab a win, McKernan would get home ahead of Cuff in second with Finch third.

And in the final Classic Streetstock race of the event Finch would back up his race one win, McKernan second and Cuff third.

The club hosted sixteen celebrities from many different forms of sports and entertainment, this race put these drivers all well out of their comfort zones, racing one fifteen lap race in a Streetstock, and the race did not disappoint, the big crowd well pinned to the fence taking in the race that was raising funds for I Am Hope.

There was no shortage of carnage with some big hits being put in, in a race that was meant to be non contact, at the end of fifteen laps it was Scott Weatherall (I Am Hope Ambassador Otago) the race winner, Mike King (Comedian / I Am Hope) second and Daryl Shuttleworth (Beachlands Commentator) third.

Production Saloons would run two heats on the Friday night to determine grid positions for their thirty lap race.

Heat one was a bit untidy early with Dunedin driver Maia Johnston spinning up on lap two, then clubmate Aaron Brookland would also bring the race to a caution when he had a big blow up on the main straight, rolling to turn two where he would park up, taking no further part in the weekend proceedings.

Once the race started to take shape it was Dunedin’s Ricki Pilley who would take full control of the race leading home clubmates Cam Bower and Nyall Brookland who led a number of laps early.

Race two was a fast affair with no stoppages, again Pilley was just too fast, ensuring he would take his place on the front row of the grid for the thirty lap feature, second behind Pilley was Alena Johnston of Beachlands with Bower home in third place.

It was now feature time for Production Saloons and Pilley got away to a handy buffer early, behind him Alena Johnston gave Bower a big spin down the main straight while the pair were placed second and third, the incident look blatant but Johnston wouldn’t face any penalty for it at the end of the race with officials not seeing the incident. 

Bower then became a target for Hayden Skilling also of Beachlands who also hit him, ultimately putting Bower out of the race. Pilley escaped a very lucky break late in the race when he came out of turn four a lapped car driven by Dunedin’s Charles Hayde had spun and would just clip Pilleys car, and inch further in any direction and Pilleys race could well have been over.

The race would restart and Pilley would have to defend his lead, he had Johnston and Skilling attacking hard but he would hold on to take the race win, Johnston claimed second with Skilling third.

In the Friday night bonus race Nyall Brookland of Dunedin would put in an outstanding drive to claim a race win, second was Mike Holley of Dunedin with clubmate Brian Wilson third.

Day two of the event also produced some great racing in Production Saloons, heat one would see more domination from Pilley, yet another race win, getting home ahead of Johnston and Dunedin’s Tyler Kelk.

Kelk would then go a couple of places better in the next race but would have to work hard for the race win, getting home a fraction ahead of Dunedin driver Lucy Greer who looked threatening all race, third would go the way of Central Motor Speedway’s Laura Heads who was also fast.

One caution late in heat three for Mark Hoare of Beachlands who came to a stoppage in turn two, this made Pilley have to fight off challenges from early leader Tristan Bullmore Mason of Christchurch and Maia Johnston, Pilley would get past the pair to snatch another race win for the weekend, Bullmore Mason second with Johnston third.

The final Production Saloon race of the weekend was pretty much a time filler to allow the Streetstocks to repair broken cars, this was one of the best races in this grade over the weekend, both Johnstons, Maia and Alena battled hard at the front of the pack, Heads was also there pushing hard for the race lead. Alena Johnston fought for the race win hard, and was rewarded for a solid weekend being the race winner in this race, Maia Johnston was second with Heads third.

Saloons were racing over both nights, night two was the Donald MacLean Memorial.

Heat one of the Friday night opened the meeting and it was Beachland’s Aaron Andrews who was just too fast at home, winning heat one over Riverside’s Mark Dobson who also looked dialed in, Travis Smith of Dunedin was third.

Andrews would be made to work a bit harder in heat two, Beachland’s clubmate Mark Newall showed plenty of pace but he would have to settle for second place, Andrews again taking the win with Dobson third. This race ended with a spectacular incident by Calvin Todd of Dunedin who would sit his car up on its nose at the end of the race, very lucky not to go over onto his roof, Todd would do some running repairs and return for the next race.

Newall would have a midrace spin in race three dropping him down the order, again Andrews dominated this race and would make it three from three, home in second was Smith with Dobson third.

Roll on Saturday and heat one of the Donald MacLean Memorial would see Andrews continue on the form of what was produced just one night earlier, Andrews would start the night off with a win, Dobson second with Newall third.

Heat two and Stu Millar of Beachlands who didn’t race on the Friday came out of the blocks strong and would dominate the race, Miller had Newall challenging him early but would clear off to almost three seconds by the end of the race, it was a win to Millar, Newall second with Dobson third.

This would now lead to the final heat, neither Millar, Dobson or Newall could push up to the front end of the pack, Andrews got away quickly at the start and would be chased hard by Smith and Todd who found some great pace in his car during this race.

Andrews would take the heat win to claim the overall win in the Donald MacLean Memorial Smith got home second with Todd third.

Dobson would cruise home in forth spot which would give him second overall while Newall and Miller would need to go to a run off to decide third place, Millar would get home ahead of Newall to claim third overall.

Stockcars were running for the Man Of Steel and while it was disappointing with a big crowd in attendance to not have a bigger field of cars, but the drivers who were on track certainly put on a good show.

Friday night saw Dunedin’s Paul Simon take the win over clubmates Steven Thompson in second and Bailey Mitchell third, heat two Thompson, Simon and Mitchell, then race three Simon was the only car to finish.

An extra couple of cars rolled up on Sunday for the Man Of Steel, in heat one Simon would take the race win from Thompson who was seven seconds down the track, Nico Tuhura would get himself up to third place.

The same result would unfold in heat two, while in heat three Thompson would get the job done on both Tuhura and Simon, giving Thompson the overall Man Of Steel, Simon second with Tuhura third.

It was a late moment call up to get visiting Six Shooters at Beachlands from Central Motor Speedway and Riverside for Sundays racing.and they were a welcome addition to the program.

Heat one and Cromwell’s Adam Evans was simply too good, the Sprintcar driver who loves to get back in the Six Shooter when he can was too quick in clean air, he would have to battle hard with Riverside’s Danny Livingstone but managed to break away and grab the win, Livingstone took second with Samantha Sandford of Central Motor Speedway third.

Heat two saw Sandford have a coming together with Cromwell’s Tony Creighton in turn three early in the race, this would result in a restart. Again Evans was the man the field would have to chase, he would cross the line in first but must have faced a relegation after the race for something as he dropped to third in this race, handing the race win the way of Josh Livingstone of Riverside, his clubmate Mason Whelan second and Evans third.

This would now lead to the Six Shooter feature over fifteen laps, Whelan and clubmate Daniel McIntosh would have a coming together that would lead to Creighton spinning to avoid them, bringing the race to a restart.

From the restart it was one way traffic for Evans, the driver who had been the man to beat over the two earlier heats certainly didn’t hold back in the feature and smashed his opponents to take the feature win by almost six seconds, Danny Livingstone came home strong in second with Whelan shaking off the early race incident snaring third place overall.

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