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Christmas Speedway Brings The Fans To Riverside

Riverside Speedway

STORY BY

DARYL SHUTTLEWORTH
Shuttleworth Motorsport Media

(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 sun was shining, big fields of cars had entered all Aotea Electric Riverside Speedway needed was the fans to rock up and support the biggest meeting of the year in the deep south.

To be honest the club was nervous that the fans may stay away as just a few days before the Christmas Trophy meeting at Riverside the Fireworks supplier let the club down, emailing saying he wasn’t doing it, at this point the club thought that they were doomed and the fans wouldn’t show, but they couldn’t have been more wrong with a bumper crowd on hand to take in the racing and some of the food vendors even running out of food before the meeting ended.

The meeting got underway with Six Shooters and the newly crowned Southland Champion Mason Whelan showed that championship was no fluke whatsoever racing off to claim the first race of the day ahead of clubmates Jason Jenner in second and Harrison Brown in third.

Heat two saw a new winner in Six Shooters with a fantastic drive by Invercargill’s Alex Crosbie, the teenager a two time New Zealand Formula Ford Champion showing he is as good on dirt as he is on tarseal dominated the race out front, showing plenty of promise and looking like it will be his first win of many. Second in heat two went the way of Brown wirth Riverside’s Duane Cracknell third.

The final race saw an early caution when Crosbie and Danny Livingstone of Invercargill had a coming together early in the race in turn one, at the restart Brown would get away smoothly and race off to claim a pretty straight forward win, behind Brown was Daniel McIntosh of Riverside followed by Cracknell in third.

Overall points in the Christmas Trophy went the way of Brown with Crosbie second and Whelan third.

Production Saloons turned on some great racing with a number of cars from Beachlands Speedway making the trek south. Heat one was a good clean race with no cautions at all, Aaron Brookland of Dunedin took the race win followed by Riverside’s Blake Hamilton and Daniel Thom of Dunedin third.

Heat two and this time around Hamilton would turn the tables on Brookland, starting up front Hamilton got away to a handy lead in another race with no stoppages, Hamilton would bank the win with Brookland second and Dave McKenzie of Riverside third.

The final race and it would also decide the Christmas Trophy with Hamilton and Brookland tied for the lead, Brookland had the advantage of a better starting position but still had to battle hard to take home the silverware.

Hamilton raced from the rear of the field and with a couple of laps to run was within striking distance of Brookland who was now up to second behind Riverside’s Kahu Moxham. Unfortunately for Hamilton he would run out of laps Moxham taking the race win, Brookland second and Hamilton third, this gave Brookland the Christmas Trophy with Hamilton second and Moxham third overall.

Youth Mini Stocks were on hand as a bonus grade, the grade doesn’t usually run at Riverside but were doing all of the southern tracks including Beachlands the day prior before heading off to Central Motor Speedway, and they certainly put on a great show for the big crowd. 

Heat one saw just the one caution when Elsie Vlaanderen stopped in turn four with mechanical issues, Vlaanderens car had a new motor put in overnight after blowing her motor up the night prior at Beachlands.

Heat one would go the way of Oliver McCartney of Christchurch with his clubmates Marcel Vlaanderen in second and Jaxyn Houtos in third.

The second heat for the Christmas Trophy saw Cromwell’s Jess Evans suffer mechanical dramas down the back straight bringing out the only caution of the race, up front was some great racing from the leaders but it was Jaxon Dacombe who would take the race win ahead of Houtos and Marcel Vlaanderen.

Heat three  saw Evans again have issues  this time around a spin in turn two on lap four bought out a caution. At the restart the cream again rose to the top and this time around Houtos would get to the front and manage the race to claim victory ahead of McCartney in second and Marcel Vlaanderen in third spot.

Christmas Trophy would go the way of Houtos in first, second was McCartney and Marcel Vlaanderen third.

A small field of Saloons put on some great racing across all three heats, Peter Schouten of Christchurch had made the trip south to run at all the southern tracks but never came out in heat one, then blew a gearbox in heat two leaving the fans wondering what could have been had he competed.

Race one saw Riverside’s Dan Black get off to a flying start and despite struggling on a bumpy track he would hold his nerve to claim the race win ahead of clubmates Graham Williamson and Mark Dobson.

Williamson was just too quick in race two, dominating the pack after a good battle with Dobson in the early laps. Dobson was looking for an advantage out wide and looked fast but Williamson would be the first man home ahead of Dobson with Black in third..

A repeat dose in heat three from Williamson, with Dobson second and Black third, a carbon copy of race two. This win would hand Williamson the Christmas Trophy win but Dobson and Black were tied on points and have to decide their fate in a runoff which Black once he got the advantage into turn one wasn’t going to let go, Black earing second place with Dobson third overall.

Streetstock put on another great show, the crowd just love the biff and bash nature of the grade and with a number of Dunedin cars entered it lead to some great racing.

Steve Dryden of Riverside dominated heat one, even after a stoppage for clubmate Brent Bradley who stopped on the back straight, no one would challenge Dryden giving him and easy heat win early. Riversides Phil Johnston would claim second ahead of Dunedin’s Jareb Verdoner in third.

Dryden would start from the front in heat two, but a bizarre stoppage after just one corner had drivers and fans scratching their heads, the officials stopped the race only for moments later restarting it, but nonetheless  no one could catch the man up front, Dryden making it two wins from as many starts, Verdoner second and Bradley third.

The final race and Dryden had a target on his back and would only last a very short time before coming under attack and finding himself out of the race with damage. Verdoner got to the front early and was never challenged taking an easy race win ahead of Johnson in second and Bradley third.

Overall placings in the Christmas Trophy for Streetstocks saw Vedoner first, Johnson second and Dryden third.

Youth Saloons had a capacity field, and the big talk so far this season has been just how good some of the new drivers are and how quickly they are challenging the more senior drivers, and the final results in the grade would show just that.

Heat one started with a massive pile up in turn one as soon as the flag dropped, Riverside drivers Josh Richardson and Hunter Kergozou spun up on a greasy main straight and a number of cars piled in behind including Isiah Stretton, Myah Lapsley, Lukis MacHattie and Ryder Harris all of Riverside.

At the restart Riverside’s Joshua McIntyre would work his way to the front, McIntyre was doing double duties also running his Youth Ministock so if anyone knew the track it was certainly him.

McIntyre would take a hard fought race win with Richardson claiming second ahead of clubmate Lachie Robertson.

Heat two saw Riverside’s Holly Murdoch bring out an early caution when her car slowed, this was followed by Richardson losing a wheel and hitting the wall coming out of turn two, ending his day after a solid race one. The next caution was immediately after that when Lapsley came to a standstill, making the race one of the messiest of the day.

Out front Cayden Race of Riverside showed his class working his way through the pack to claim the race win, second went the way of Robertson with Invercargill’s Zoe Menpes third.

Race would find himself facing disqualification in this heat for contact, the second time in the last two meetings Race has been under the microscope of the officials, this meant Robertson would take his first ever race win, Menpes second and McIntyre awarded third place.

McIntyres luck would run out in heat three however when a right front flat tyre seen him park up infield early in the race. An early incident between Menpes and MacHattie resulted in an early caution but when the race got a couple of laps in there was some brilliant battles happening across the track.

Race would again get to the front and take the race win, Blake Millar of Dunedin drove a great race to claim second with Ryder Harris of Riverside claiming his best ever result with a solid third placing.

The results for the Christmas Trophy went the way of Robertson in first, Millar second and Zac Kitto of Riverside third despite not getting in the top three all meeting, being consistent got Kitto on the podium with a well deserved result.

The final grade to run was Stockcars and with cars from Christchurch, Dunedin and Cromwell on hand to bolster the field it was always going to dish up some interesting racing.

Heat one was clean and fast with plenty of action to keep the fans interested, Cromwell’s Casey McEwan would race home to a hard fought race win ahead of Riverside’s Peter Knight in second with Brian Taniwha of Cromwell third.

Heat two saw an early tangle up bring out a stoppage after Knight and clubmate Luke Fallow tangled after contact in turn one. At the restart Taniwha got off to a flying start and took the race lead which lead ultimately to the race win ahead of McEwan in second and Murray Greig of Christchurch in third place.

The final heat of the event saw a brave move by Riverside’s Riley Henderson who took clubmate Adam Naber to the wall in turn one hard, Naber however drove away from the attack but Henderson wasn’t so lucky, being forced to the infield.

Beachlands speedster Shannon Simon showed his class in heat three holding off challenges from a number of cars to take the race win, second went to Greig with Cromwell’s Shinnae McNally securing third spot.

This would now see a three way run off for first place between Greig, and clubmates McEwan and Taniwha which McEwan would get off to a flying start and remain unchallenged to win the Christmas Trophy for Stockcars ahead of Taniwha in second and Greig third.

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