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  • RACE REPORTS

President Returns From Retirement To Claim Family Trophy

Riverside Speedway

STORY BY

DARYL SHUTTLEWORTH
Shuttleworth Motorsport Media

Images supplied by: Clare McMurdo & Vanessa Adcock

(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.) 

It was only twelve months ago that Aotea Electric Riverside Speedway Club President Chris Kergozou hung the race helmet up and went into retirement to concentrate on running his son Hunter who was entering the sport in Youth Saloons.

Fast forward a year and he was back behind the wheel of a borrowed car and ready to compete in the Cecile Kergozou Memorial Trophy for Streetstock, a trophy raced for in his Grandmother’s honor, and one that Kergozou had competed for ten times previously and never managed to win.

The odd’s of a Kergozou winning the trophy were doubled with Kergozou’s cousin Ethan also entered in the field.

A number of cars were entered from Riverside Speedway as well as Beachlands Speedway in Dunedin, Kergozou struck a bit of luck in race one with Shae McKenzie also representing Riverside heading off to a handy lead only to suffer a puncture, handing the lead over to Kergozou.

Kergozou would keep his nose clean to race home in first with Riverside’s Phil Johnson second and clubmate Dillon MacHattie also back from a twelve month break in third place.

Heat two would see the race red flagged within one lap when Ethan Kergozou would fail to get off the line. At the restart Kergozou would race off to a handy lead  and pretty much run this race unchallenged and back up his race one victory by winning heat two, but in doing this he put a target on his back going into the third and final race.

Johnson would again place second to remain in the game with MacHattie once again banking the points for third place.

Johnson was sitting second in points and would race off to a flying start, McKenzie who was out of contention and have nothing to lose would target Johnson on a couple of occasions to try and help Kergozou grab the win, Johnson however was up to the task and kept managing his early race lead.

Kergozou was buried in the back of the pack but soon worked his way to third, before sneaking up the inside of MacHattie for second, MacHattie making it easier for his close mate to grab the trophy he’s gone ever so close to for a decade.

If he could remain in this position he would win overall but Johnson looked to slow slightly on the very last lap, putting some doubt into peoples minds that he may target Kergozou but this wasn’t to be the case, Johnson would take the heat win with Kergozou second, giving Kergozou his first ever Cecile Kergozou Memorial Trophy win, a win that means the world to his family who were also all in attendance.

Johnson was second overall with MacHattie third.

The biff and bash of Stockcars was a highlight as they competed for the Ronnie Tree Memorial which was sponsored by Robbs Racecars and Repairs, an event that rewards the biggest stirrer of the event more so than the cars who happen to win the races, the top three would of course receive trophies but the big one was for the stirrer.

Heat one saw an early restart after Riverside driver Alisha Race came to a standstill in turn two of lap two, Race would be sent to the infield. Once the race got started it was Riverside’s Peter Knight who would feed clubmate Dwayne TeMaro up the wall on turn two, leaving him perched on the fence and needing crash crews help to return to the infield, Knight looking like he was the man chasing that stirrers trophy early.

Christchurch driver Luke Molloy managed this race up front, he was fast and would take the race win ahead of Luke Fallow of Riverside with Knight third.

Heat two was also action packed with the first incident happening on lap one when Adam Naber of Riverside would feed clubmate Quinton McLeod up the wall and over onto his side in turn three, both cars would sit the rest of this race out which would have been frustrating for Naber who was one of the main instigators of race one and looking good for the stirrers award also.

Riverside’s Riley Henderson would then put in a classy hit on Race in turn two on lap six, the former Southland Youth Saloon Champion showing he wasn’t just there to make up the numbers, he meant business and would go after anyone. Remarkably Race would land back on her wheels and continue to race, however this was short lived when she would retire with mechanical dramas a lap or so later.

Fallow would turn the tide on Molloy in this race by taking the win, the Cantabrian claiming second with Knight third.

Heat three only lasted a few meters before Knight met his match when Aaron Rawcliffe of Riverside who was competing in his first Stockcar meeting put the seasoned competitor up and over on the main straight, this bought out an almighty roar from the big crowd, Rawcliffe taking out one of the main drivers who were in the running for the Ronnie Tree Memorial Trophy.

Rawcliffe himself would be the cause of a red light late in the race stopping in turn four with a handful of laps remaining.

From here it was a great battle to the finish with Naber and Henderson doing all they could to upstage some of the faster cars in the pack, but this race would go the way of Cromwell’s Logan McNamara, Fallow home in second with Karl Thompson of Riverside third.

Over the three races there was some massive hits delivered from the likes of Riverside’s Peter Knight and Adam Naber, but it was second generation driver, Henderson who would win the stirrers award for the event, claiming the Ronnie Tree Memorial Trophy.

New driver Rawcliffe picked up an award for rolling Knight in race three, while Naber secured Grandkids pick of drivers for the event.

Overall results saw Fallow take the win over McNamara with Molloy third.

The final grade racing for trophies was Saloons who would run for best pairs, it would be a blind pairs format so no one knew who they were paired with until after the final race.

Heat one and Riverside’s Graham Williamson was fast out of the blocks after battling with new driver Scott Edwards of Riverside for a couple of laps he would break free of the pack.

From here it looked like it would be one way traffic to the flag for Williamson, but Southland Saloon Champ Mark Dobson was making a run towards the leader, sneaking down the inside on the back straight late in the race to claim the heat one win, Williamson would settle for second with Jason Gold of Central Motor Speedway third.

Gold would get a front row start in heat two and would make the most of his advantage getting away to a handy lead that would eventually disappear as “The Flying Scotsman” Stu Miller  of Dunedin would start to reel him in.

Miller would then have to handle pressure of his own with Phil Burgess of Cromwell looking fast, challenging Miller enough to take the pressure off Gold who would hold on to take the heat two win, Miller would be second with Burgess third.

The final heat saw Miller gain an advantage and with the track in a condition where you could almost guarantee the spot you raced to in turn one would be where you would finish up Miller would hold all the cards up front.

Dobson tried to make a decent challenge of things but a rough track meant either nurse the car home in one piece of go for the pass which may leave you in the wall, Dobson deciding the safer option in this race. Miller would go on to win this heat, Dobson second with Burgess in third place.

Once the points were added up it was Millar who would win overall partnered with Burgess who scored consistent results all day, second went to Dobson who was partnered with clubmate Darren McLeod and third was Gold and Riverside’s Jamie Black.

Youth Saloons unfortunately got just the one race with the track deemed to be too rough and safety concerns for the young drivers seeing them pulled from the program.

The one race they did do saw Riverside’s Vandah Thompson come to a sudden stop after spinning in turn one, this backed up clubmates Eli Bartley, Hunter Kergozou and Beachlands Blake Fox Miller but all the cars would manage to restart.

Riverside driver Josh Richardson in his last meeting in the Youth Grades dominated this race from the outset, and was patient amongst traffic to snare himself the one and only race win on offer to the youth, Richardson charged home by almost five seconds over clubmates Lachie Robertson in second and Cayden race third.

A small field of Six Shooters actually turned out some quality racing throughout the day, just the four Riverside cars were entered as the majority of the grade were racing at Ruapuna.

Heat one saw Danny Livingstone make contact on Samantha Cunningham early, this would later come back to bite Livingstone who took a comfortable race win but would face a two spot relegation dropping him to third and handing the win the way of Jason Jenner who has found some good form late in the season, Livingstone’s son Josh would come home in second place.

The next heat Danny Livingstone ensured he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, this heat Livingstone would dish out a hiding to his fellow competitors getting home in first by a massive margin of over six seconds, Josh Livingstone second with Cunningham third.

Cunningham would have a career best finish in race three, gaining confidence with every outing and punching out respectable lap times throughout the meeting in testing conditions, while Cunningham couldn’t catch Danny Livingstone who in this race would win by over fifteen seconds she did get home in second with Josh Livingstone third.

There was plenty of fireworks in the Production Saloons with the first caution when Steven Nicholas of Cromwell grinding to a halt early, stopping with mechanical dramas in turn four of lap one.

Once the cars reformed there was some hard racing between both Justin Blackman and Blake Hamilton who were all over each other like a cheap suit. Hamilton and Blackmun were in a great battle with Brad Fitzgerald up front, all cars swapping positions in what was a thrilling battle, as the laps counted down.

Towards the end of the race Blake Murdoch of Riverside was fighting hard with Liam Ballantyne of Cromwell when Murdoch would fall victim to the rough track, rolling in turn two with Ballantynes car under Murdoch’s in what could have been a far uglier incident, the race was called at this point and track work undertaken.

Hamilton would cross the line first ahead of Fitzgerald and Blackmun but both Hamilton and Blackmun would face relegation handing the win to Fitzgerald, Murdoch claimed second despite being on his roof and Hamilton third.

Heat two wasn’t much calmer than the first with Blackmun and Hamilton making contact on numerous occasions early, while this race would go the distance with no cautions it had plenty of action, Riversides Kenny Balloch was super fast in his first outing in the grade, sending a warning shot for next season to his fellow competitors.

Hamilton would lead home Balloch who was second with Blackmun third, but Blackmun would again face relegation elevating Tyson Thomas of Riverside up to third place.

Race three and the last of the season for the grade saw an untidy start with Steven Hills bonnet flicking over his roof ending his race early, then Thomas would lose a wheel in the second lap causing a full restart.

From there again it was a great battle up front but Fitzgerald would simply be too fast getting home ahead of Hamilton by four seconds and Blackmun finally getting on the podium in third after two earlier relegations.

The club also hosted the Demolition Ramp Derby which was won by Troy Dryden.

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