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Lister Surprise Victor At 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.) 

If I was to be handed a list of drivers who would be the top three at Aotea Electric Riverside Speedways round of the Debbie The Webster Super Cup would I be picking Dunedin driver Alister Lister? No disrespect to Lister but probably not, its not because Lister isn’t capable, the man is a very good driver and is certainly proving himself within the grade, the fact of the matter is the guys he is racing against are just that damn good.

Testing conditions is what the drivers faced at Riverside, and after a big night of off track controversy at the Beachland’s Speedway round in Dunedin the drivers would have been hoping for a good cruisy Sunday afternoon event.

The weather gods have been good to the Southern Club so far this season, too good perhaps as the track team have battled very dry conditions, leading to the track being extremely dusty and not offering a lot to the higher horse powered machines.

Heat one of the Debbie The Webster Supercup was pretty much a chance for drivers to feel their way around, see what the track was going to do, and test what was on offer.

Christchurch driver Trevor Elliott got away from the pack nicely and managed to keep off the advances of Nelson driver Ian Burson who was keen to attack, Elliott would go on to win heat one with Burson second and Shane McIntyre of Blenheim third.

Heat two and the track had really slicked off and grip was an issue, McIntyre found this out when he spun early in this race, spinning up in turn three of lap one.

This is the race that Lister stepped up and showed what he is capable of, keeping a number of the big guns on his rear bumper eager to pass but not able to find a suitable spot to do so. Lister would bank the win ahead of Cromwell’s Ray Stewart in second and McIntyre third.

The pole shuffle was next on the program for Super Saloons, local ring in Graham Williamson was hoping to debut his Super Saloon but struck issues while loading it up, so he reverted back to racing his Saloon, up against higher horse powered opposition, but he certainly didn’t disgrace himself.

Williamson disposed of Dunedin’s Terry Soper in round one, only to be knocked out by Christchurch’s Kane Lawson in round two. Lawson would last just the one round too as Burson eliminated Lawson and then Stewart the following round.

Burson however would fall victim to McIntyre next up, then McIntyre was out, beaten by Elliott in a thrilling two lap dash, Elliot only grabbing the win late in the piece.

This now left Elliott and Lister and Lister continued on his white hot form claiming the Debbie The Webster Pole Shuffle.

The feature was scheduled for thirty laps but due to track conditions it was halved, fifteen laps would decide the event. Elliott made a flying start in the feature leading down into turn one, this was key in this race, get to turn one first and you have the best chance of winning this race.

Unfortunately for Elliott, McIntyre would spin causing a full restart, and this time around there was no way Lister was going to let Elliott past, when the green flag dropped he muscled his way to the lead and held off Elliott who said after the race “I only had one shot at that, I knew I wouldn’t get it a second time, McIntyre owes me a beer for spinning up”. McIntyre’s response was priceless ” Lister owes me two beers for spinning up”, its great to still see a sense of humor in the sport with all that’s going on.

Lister would hold the lead of the race, Elliott did turn in some sharp laps towards the end of the race to close the gap but it was too little too late, Lister had got the job done to win the round at Riverside, Elliott settled for second with Burson home in third.

Despite it being a testing day for drivers and crews Elliott did say “It was great to add another different winner in the series, it opens the series chase right up”.

Modified Sprints pulled out of this event late on Saturday after just three cars were left after a big night at Central Motor Speedway, the Modified Sprints were scheduled to race for the Brett Cooper Memorial and the Southland Champs.

Production Saloons were fresh off the Southland Championship which was ran a week earlier, Riverside’s Blake Hamilton was gutted at that event after taking a win his car caught fire but he was back just one week later and ready to do battle. Just the one caution in race one when Blake Murdoch of Riverside spun in the opening lap, Murdoch had swapped cars with Stephen Brown, and this would be his first run in a rear wheel drive car. At the restart Hamilton got a nice jump and raced off to bag the race win, second was Dunedin driver Hayden Skilling with Dave McKenzie of Riverside third.

Race two was a major upset, Riverside driver Rose Stanton started from the front row of the grid, and raced off to a big lead before a mid race caution due to Brown hitting the wall hard in Murdoch’s car. At the restart it would be interesting to see if Stanton could keep her race lead, she not only kept it but she gapped the field once more, racing off to her first ever win at Speedway, second was McKenzie with Invercargill’s Aaron Reed third.

The final race was a good hard fought battle, no cautions, it was clean and fast. Skilling led early but Hamilton reeled him in and made a move to snatch the race lead, from there no one would catch the leader, Hamilton grabbing his second win, Skilling held on for second while Kahu Moxham of Invercargill secured third.

Duane Cracknell was all class in Six Shooters, the seasoned campaigner is always at the point end of the paddock, but usually a young gun will chase him down and steal victory, well not today.

Cracknell took advantage of clubmate Mason Whelan who spun up while leading, Cracknell broke away from the pack and took the race one win by a margin, Harrison Brown and Hayden Graves both of Riverside claimed second and third.

Brown who only had a few hours sleep after travelling all the way from racing at Ruapuna looked sharp in race two, Brown worked his way clear of the pack and was never tested, taking a simple race win from Graves in second who was having his best outing of the season, and Riverside’s Alex Crosbie in third.

Race three was another incident free event, Cracknell again showed he was no one hit wonder by racing to the front of the pack, and backing up his race one heroics with his second win of the afternoon, second went the way of Danny Livingston of Riverside and Brown home in third.

The Youth Saloons were split into two groups, Group A the more experienced drivers, Group B the new drivers who have only just entered into the world of speedway this season.

Riverside’s Joshua McIntyre would back up his two race wins in his Ministock in Cromwell the night previous to claim race one, second went to Joshua Richardson, while Cayden Race would claim third, Race also backing up after winning all three races the night prior at Beachlands Speedway.

In race two Riverside’s Holly Murdoch would spin in the very first corner causing a restart, once the race did get underway it was Kadin Cracknell who led, Cracknell following in his father Duane’s footsteps controlled the race from the front, he had done this the week prior only to be robbed of his first ever race win after a caution on the last lap, Cracknell was determined this wouldn’t happen again, but as luck would have it, it was a case of deja vu, a yellow flag comes out for Isiah Stretton of Riverside after he loses a wheel in turn two.

This was almost a carbon copy of what had happened to Cracknell the week before with the man who stole the win last week , Race, right behind him again and ready to pounce.

At the restart Cracknell got off to a flying start and was eager to stay out front, the white flag came out, and Cracknell started to get a little bit wobbly, but managed to hold on long enough to take his first ever win at Riverside, well deserved after placing third at the Southland Junior Solo Champs at Oreti Park Speedway just one day earlier. A great weekend all round for the Cracknell family with Kadin’s results, Duanes two wins and the youngest of the Cracknell brothers Max winning the Southland 50cc Speedway Championship at Oreti also. Second in this race was Race with McIntyre third.

Race three for Youth Saloons was also a bit untidy to start off with, an incident involving Race, Murdoch and Tyson Thomas of Riverside held the race up but all three cars rejoined the grid. McIntyre again drove well battling with Richardson for a number of laps before taking the race win, Richardson capped off a solid day out in second and Race got home with a damaged car in third.

Group B had an untidy race one which led to Riverside’s Ryder Harris being black flagged and excluded from the race, a tough call on Harris in just his second meeting, his first ended in his car suffering severe damage, the team working hard all week to get him back on track. Harris did however show some good speed in races two and three, a sure sign of good things to come.

Newcomer Eli Bartley had shown signs of brilliance at recent meetings, the young driver honing his race craft well. Bartley had never won a race at Riverside and this was all about to change as the young charger dominated this race to bank his first ever win, second was Zak Kitto who has also been impressive with Vandah Thompson of Riverside in third place.

Race two and third generation speedway racer Hunter Kergozou got out front early and while Bartley put on a good chase Kergozou drove beyond his years, clean and precise, and he become the forth driver at this meeting to win his first ever race, a massive confidence boost for the young driver. Bartley powered up to second with Kitto, Mr Consistent in third.

The final race in Youth Saloons Group B saw heat two winner Kergozou come unstuck in turn three of lap two, the race would restart and again Bartley got to the front of the pack and drove away from his rivals to bank his second race win of the day, showing he would fit in against the Group A drivers and be competitive. Second place went the way of Thompson who had a solid day out with Lukis MacHattie getting his best race finish in third place.

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