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  • RACE REPORTS

Modified Sprint Mayhem In Cromwell

Central Motor 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.) 

Modified Sprints were the headline act at Central Motor Speedway’s Golden Club Night, a field of fourteen cars were entered from Nelson, Ruapuna, Beachlands and Riverside and were set to run three heats and a feature final.

These pints sized machines, chain driven and powered by motor cycle engines always put on a show in Cromwell and this event would prove to be no different at all with action unfolding in the warm up laps before the meeting had even begun with Christchurch driver Shane Tonkin having a roll over which would see him out for the event.

The first heat for Modified Sprints saw Christchurch’s Courtney Jones get off to a flying start and make a gap on her rivals, this would be short lived however as fellow Ruapuna driver Brendon Hopkins rolled in turn two, resulting in a restart.

As the race went back to green Jones again got down to business, Liam Astle of Christchurch gave chase but he soon had to contend with Riverside’s Jayden Fraser who started at the back of the pack and was making ground fast.

Fraser would get to Astle and make the move into second place but the race went the way of Jones, Fraser second and Astle home in third.

Heat two started messy, both Jones and Christchurch’s Clayton Phillips had a coming together in turn two of the first lap, both cars managed to continue but the race was called to restart as debris was found on the main straight.

The race would go green once more, and Fraser it was who got to the front and pulled away from the pack, behind him was a great battle between Harry McIntyre  and Astle with Nelson driver Gus Dawson in the mix. The race looked won and done by Fraser but with the white flag out indicating the last lap Dawson’s car shot infield with a ball of flames shooting out from underneath bringing the race to a halt.

At the restart Fraser again took control collecting the white flag once more and looking like he would bag his first win of the night, unfortunately Astle would come unstuck in turn two and Ruapuna clubmate Hayden Kedzlie would make solid contact forcing another restart.

Green again and a two lap sprint, this time around Fraser would make it home first for the win, McIntyre second with Jones doing a great job to secure third.

The third and final heat would determine the grid for the fifteen lap feature final, most points from the three heats grabbing pole.

Again the standout drive was from Fraser who was patient, picking off cars with little risk to again get to the front of the pack, unfortunately this race would also have a caution period due to a nasty rollover by Christchurch driver Nathan Hsylett who went over in turn three.

As the race restarted Fraser would dominate and bag the second win of the night ahead of McIntyre and Jones once more.

This would now set up the feature final, Fraser was always going to be tough to beat off the front row of the grid, and with a number of cars that started the evening all parked in the pits with damage traffic wouldn’t be too much of an issue. 

For the fans it was great to see the Modified Sprints in full flight in this race, with no cautions just good fast racing, and Fraser once he managed to shake off McIntyre would race off to win the feature with ease, almost half a lap over his rivals putting in a dominant performance to claim the event. Second went the way of McIntyre with Jones getting herself up to third place.

There was also action a plenty in the Youth Ministocks with the first race only lasting half a lap before Cromwell drivers Paige McNally and Jess Evans had a coming together down the back straight, at the restart Brooke Marshall was hit causing her to spin up in turn two, leading now to a third attempt of starting the race.

This time around when the flag dropped it was Joshua McIntyre who led them off and would remain unchallenged, pulling away from the pack to win race one. A great battle behind McIntyre between Cooper Arkell and Lachie Campbell Tate would be the first of many involving these two young drivers, Arkell claiming second with Campbell Tate third.

Race two was a brilliant race to watch, McIntyre started down the pack and would work his way through, while Arkell was up front and raced off to a commanding lead. Arkell looked a safe bet to bag his first race win but on the very last lap McIntyre took a dive down the inside of Arkell to claim his second win of the night, Arkell had to settle for second place while back in third was McNally who had also impressed from further back in the pack.

The third and final race and one notable absentee was McIntyre who suffered fueling issues putting him out of the race. This would now give the likes of McNally, Arkell and Campbell Tate a little extra incentive as a race win was well and truly on offer.

Campbell Tate was quickest out of the blocks and looked in control but Arkell never backed off at all, holding his lines well and remaining patient before making a move that would see him snatch the lead and ultimately the race win. Campbell Tate never gave up but couldn’t get the lead back, Arkell claiming first, Campbell Tate second and Marshall third. Overall points for the event went the way of Arkell, Campbell Tate second and McNally third.

Production Saloons went down to the wire, it was a small field but certainly a field that would produce some great battles.

Heat one saw Cromwell’s James Woods race off to an early lead only to fall back into the hands of clubmate Steven “Socks” Nicholas. Woods also came under fire from Cromwell driver Sam McKenzie but when the flag fell it was Nicholas who would claim the win, Woods held onto second with McKenzie third.

The second race saw Nicholas start from the front and race off to a lead that was unchallenged, two wins from as many starts for Nicholas with the results for second and third a carbon copy of race one, Woods second with McKenzie third.

While it looked as if a solid result in race three would secure the night for Nicholas a small field always ensures the points are tight, and this was the case after race three, Woods almost stole the show after taking the race win, at this point Nicholas was down in fourth and a win to Woods would drop him to second overall, but Liam Ballantyne would suffer a flat tyre while holding third place allowing Nicholas to slip past, very late in the race. 

Nicholas and Woods were now tied on points bit with Nicholas claiming two wins he collected first place for the event, Woods second and McKenzie third.

Six Shooters are always great to watch at Central Motor Speedway and at this event they did not disappoint. 

In heat one Blair Smith of Cromwell continued on his solid run of form by taking out a hard fought race ahead of Riverside’s Mason Whelan in second with Tony Symons claiming third spot.

Symons would run into issues in race two parking up on the straight forcing a restart. From the restart it was Smith once more who was in full control, looking as if he would bag his second win, however on the very last lap of the race Cromwell’s George Hedley put on brilliant move that would see him sneak through and steal victory with Smith having to settle for second ahead of Samantha Sandford of Cromwell in third, I must make mention that Sandford has certainly been the biggest improver in Six Shooters this season.

Race three and again there was some great battles, up front Hedley and Smith would battle hard while Sandford and Whelan had there own race going on for the minors. Hedley would take out heat three with Smith second, while lapped traffic gave Whelan the advantage he needed to snatch third place. Those results were also the overall positions for the event.

Stockcars produced the biggest field and like a lot of Stockcar races heat one was a good clean affair with not too much drama unfolding, this always seems to be saved for races two and three.

Cromwell’s Brodie MacDonald led from the outset and would claim an easy race win ahead of Riverside’s Luke Fallow with Christchurch driver Luke Molloy third.

Race two saw plenty more biff and bash, cars spinning and multiple attempts put on cars to upset the race order were entertaining. Fallow was keen to get to the front and maintain the lead, he did well to avoid any form of carnage and looked fast taking out this race from a hard charging Shinnae McNally in second and Cromwell clubmate Jacob Boulton third.

Fallow backed up the form he showed in race two, as a number of drivers put a target on MacDonald’s back, trying to get the young driver use to coming under attack when it comes time for teams racing. To MacDonald’s credit he did well and despite a number of advances from his rivals he managed the race well. Molloy would be an early casualty in race three, parking up in turn two, but it was again Fallow who would dominate to claim the win, Cromwell’s Ashdyn Gable got his best placing in the adult grades with second, while in third it was again McNally.

These results gave Fallow the win for the night, ahead of MacDonald and Boulton.

The final grade to run was Sprintcars, again a smaller field but the drivers entered certainly provided some great battles, and less cars meant clean air and less stoppages.

Heat one, Cromwell’s Dean “The Thriller” Miller led for the first half of the race, looking pacey before mechanical dramas put him out for the rest of the meeting. Josh “Young Buck” Buchanan fired to the front after passing Miller and cleared off to win the heat ahead of clubmates Finn Cleveland and Adam Evans.

Race two was the only race that would feature a caution, this bought about by Cromwell driver John Sievwright who spun up in turn three while placed second. At the restart Evans showed a clean pair of heels and drove off to a dominant win to beat home Buchanan and Cleveland.

Heat three was always going to be a great battle between the two guys who had won the earlier heats, Buchanan and Evans. Evans would have to start further down the grid so Buchanan got away early and had company in the form of Cromwell’s Shanarrah Stronach. Stronach drove a strong race, up front the race was Buchanan’s to lose and it was Evans on the charge through the pack who got behind Stronach, making multiple attempts to drive by before spinning up and falling to the back of the field. Cleveland would go on to win with ease, Stronach claimed second with Cleveland third.

Overall the nights victory went the way of Buchanan, Evans second with Cleveland third overall.

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