Rookie Stuns Field At Cromwell’s Christmas

Central Motor Speedway


Shuttleworth Motorsport Media

Images supplied by: Christopher Scrimgour

(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 and a big crowd of Central Otago holiday makers filed into Central Motor Speedway for the running of the Central Motor Speedway Christmas Champs, along with the running of Round three of the Stockcar and Youth Ministock Tri Series which had been contested over three meetings at Beachlands Speedway in Dunedin and Riverside Speedway in Invercargill.
All eyes were firmly focused on the teenager from California Joel Myers Jnr who was in New Zealand to race Sprintcars this summer. Myers Jnr had just come off a round win prior to Christmas at his contracted track Ruapuna in Christchurch at the War Of The Wings and was quickly gaining a reputation of being the man or kid to beat here in Cromwell.
Sprintcars were split into three groups, the first two groups battled it out in heat one which featured Myers Jnr, out front it was “The Gasman” Steve Duff who got off to a flying start, looking very quick and building a sizeable lead over the field while down in fourth place Myers Jnr would clip the wall coming out of the tight turn two and eventually come to a stand still on the exit of turn four condensing the pack back up to Duff.
Behind Duff some great battled had unfolded, Riverside’s Jacob McIntyre had worked his way up through the pack to be challenging Cromwell drivers Nigel Colvin, Daniel Anderson and Josh Buchanan.
The race would restart and again Duff bolted away from the pack with ease, eventually having to negotiate a few lapped cars to bag a popular win, McIntyre had made another couple of big moves to bring himself up to second while Colvin would take the points on offer for third.
Heat two and Myers Jnr was back on track and would need to bag some points to move himself up the grid for the feature final. Up front Jason Scott of Cromwell got the jump and raced off to an early lead but was in a red hot toe to toe battle with Adam Evans the rookie who was in his first season of Sprintcar racing, you could not have two drivers more different as far as their racing career goes, Scott with all the Sprintcar experience, Evans still learning his craft.
This pair would battle lap after lap until Evans made a slight mistake allowing Myers Jnr and Buchanan to snatch valuable places away from him just prior to Scott taking the race win. Myers Jnr showed his class to get up to second ahead of Buchanan in third.
Heat three was a tad messy at the start, Cromwell’s Hayden Johnston was carrying a fair bit of speed into turn three when he clipped Evans before heading out towards the wall causing both Dean “The Thriller” Miller and Shanarrah Stronach both of Cromwell to make contact, Stronach would retire to the infield.

A full grid restart and James Robinson of Cromwell would get a break from the second row of the grid to race off to a decent margin on the field, behind Robinson Evans and Anderson would race hard with Colvin also coming through the field to put pressure on the race leaders.

Robinsons lead would never be challenged and he would take a win in heat three with Evans again impressive getting home second ahead of Anderson in third.
The twenty lap feature final would cap off what was a long and testing night for all, sunstrike, dust and incidents across other grades put the meeting well behind time and the drivers had been told “keep it clean or the race will be called”, and to the drivers credit they did a great job.

It was a fast affair with the rookie driver Evans chasing Anderson who got off to a flying start. Anderson would dominate early but as Evans found his groove he started to come back at Anderson fast. Myers Jnr started well down the pack and was starting to make some big moves through the field, the highlight when Myers Jnr came from well back heading into turn one to slip under both Duff and Colvin to get himself up to third with just laps remaining.

Evans made a big lunge himself taking the lead from Anderson just as the yellow light came on for Stronach’s stranded car with just three laps to run.

There was then some confusion as Anderson tried to get back to the front of the grid for the restart, the officials calling that Evans was leading and he would start there, this was also debated after the race had finished.

The lights would go green and Evans would get the jump clearing Anderson who now had Myers Jnr to contend with, this was the breathing space Evans wanted to pull an advantage but this was short lived as Miller and Cromwell’s John Sievwright had an incident in turn four, Sievwrights car rolling heavily in the process, this incident led to the race being called with two laps to run, Evans capping off a remarkable drive with the overall win, Anderson having to settle for second and Myers Jnr home in third.

Six Shooters kicked off the nights entertainment and ensured the crash crew would get an early outing when Christchurch driver Kane Jemmett made slight contact with Riverside’s Duane Cracknell coming out of turn two, this led to Jemmett going sideways and being collected by Cromwell’s Faith Ainsley and Riverside’s Jason Jenner making contact and all three cars parking up for the race.

Out front Jake Shearing of Cromwell got a good clean run from the start and put on a masterclass to dominate and take an easy race win ahead of fellow Cromwell drivers Emma Gordon and Blair Smith who both battle well for the minor placings.

Race two was clean and fast with no cautions at all, Cromwell driver Sophie Wills who claimed two race wins at a previous event was out front and looked like a seasoned veteran despite the fact this is just her first season of Speedway action. Wills would bag yet another race win for the season while behind her Brian Ellison drove well to hold of Cromwell clubmate Jake Shearing for second, Shearing bagging some solid points to add to his earlier race win in third.

The third and final race and it was Shearing’s old brother Luke Shearing who got off to a flying start, he battled briefly with Riverside’s Hayden Graves but eventually cleared off into the distance the only driver that really looked like chasing Shearing down was Tony Creighton of Cromwell who chewed into the race lead but laps remaining were the enemy.

Luke Shearing would take out the third heat with Creighton second and Graves third. Overall the Christmas Champs going the way of Jake Shearing, Luke Shearing second and Ellison third.

Youth Ministocks were running for the Christmas Champs, Round three of the Tri Series as well as best pairs alongside Stockcars and the big field provided some fantastic racing across all three heats.

Heat one of action saw Christchurch driver Jordon Cox and clubmate Toni Lee Best bought out the first caution with a tangle in turn three, both cars would retire from the race.

Out front Cromwell’s Trent Ainsley was on the pace getting away early and looking assured of a race win. Behind him a confident Ashdyn Gable also of Cromwell was coming off a race win at Riverside and chasing the leader hard, with three laps to go Gable was right on Ainsley’s tail and pressuring for the lead.

A nice move from Gable saw him sneak in front with just two laps remaining and he would hold on despite Ainsley applying pressure to take the heat one win, Ainsley in second while Jaxyn Houtos of Christchurch wasn’t too far behind in third.

Heat two was a good close battle also, the first caution coming out while Cromwell’s Jess Evans parked in the wall at turn two on the sixth lap, Evans would go to the infield. Ollie Dicey of Cromwell was also impressive in this race sitting in second place for the majority of the race challenging the likes of Ainsley and Houtos before slipping back slightly in the order, ultimately coming to a grinding halt after hitting the wall in turn one on the very last lap. Despite the incident Dicey certainly showed plenty of promise in this heat.

Up front Ainsley managed to hold off Christchurch driver Jacob Skurr for the race win. Skurr drove a nice race to be rewarded with second, and Gable again impressive in third.

The final heat saw Skurr pinged early for a jumped start sending him to the rear of the field and extinguishing any hopes he may have had of a placing or win in the Christmas Champs. Dicey’s run of bad luck continued when he came to grief with Cromwell’s Thomas Scott in turn four.

Out front it was a surprise leader Emily Brooks of Christchurch who started on the front row and got off to a flying start, Brooks had immense pressure applied to her by Houtos lap upon lap but she sat her car perfectly up until there was one lap to run. You could tell that Brooks was excited, possibly even a bit anxious as the white flag came out and she would be only moments away from a big win on a big stage, Brooks lines started to deviate and Houtos looked as if he would snatch the win with only two turns remaining, but Brooks managed to hold on to claim a popular race win with Houtos in second and a very good drive by Baylee Craig of Cromwell to grab third place.

Christmas Championship went the way of Ainsley with Houtos second and Gable third overall. The Tri Series went to Houtos, Ainsley second with Cromwell’s Zak Phillips third.

Stockcars have entertained in the South over the last few days with big fields of cars embarking on all three Southern tracks.

Heat one was a thrilling battle between Riverside’s Luke Fallow and Christchurch driver Murray Greig. Fallow got off to a great start and held Greig off who was right on his rear bumper lap after lap. Greig eventually slipped past Fallow but Fallow would not Greig get away, with one lap remaining it seemed as if Greig had it in the bag but Fallow made a brilliant move that paid off and bagged him a win in heat one, Greig was second while Casey McEwan of Cromwell raced home to third.

Heat two and it was another Riverside driver who was looking the goods up front, this time Shanan Knight was in sublime form, working his way to the front early and keeping out of trouble. Behind Knight, Tyler McPherson of Christchurch was trying to make up ground in the overall points, McPherson was the series leader after round one at Beachlands but suffered damage at Riverside while leading a race which would have cemented him the leader after two rounds.

McPherson wasn’t within striking distance of Knight but was certainly looking on pace staying well ahead of McEwan who had come through the pack once again.

When the checkered flag dropped it was a comfortable win to Knight with McPherson second and McEwan third.

Heat three was a brutal affair, Beachlands Mark Taylor got off to a flying start  taking the early lead, there was cars all over the track all having individual battles, the track resembling a war zone at times.

Taylor managed to avoid all trouble despite being chased by a very quick Shi Robb of Christchurch and again Knight who was looking fast also. Taylor looked to have this race in the bag but as he came around turn three on the very last lap Cromwell driver Kamryn Reddy was parked up against the wall, Taylor had to slow in a hurry to avoid Reddy which allowed both Robb and Knight to steal spots, Robb taking the race win ahead of Knight with Taylor frustrated in third.

Christmas Champs for Stockcars went the way of Knight in first, McEwan second and McPherson third, Pairs competition with Youth Ministock went to Knight and Gable with Greig and Prattley second and Craig Robb of Christchurch and Skurr in third.

The overall winner of the Stockcar Tri Series was Knight with Greig second and McPherson third.

A small field of Super Saloons were on track for the Christmas Champs, race one was a welcome return for local driver Greig Johnston behind the wheel of his new Hypermac, Johnston would take the win after starting up front despite facing constant pressure from clubmate Ray Stewart who took second ahead of Ricky Boulton of Dunedin in third place.

Race two saw Owen Dixon of Cromwell wind back the years dishing out a driving lesson to his son Kerry Dixon also of Cromwell. Dixon Junior would pressure his father lap after lap but senior would do the job, winning heat two for Supers with Kerry settling for second and Stewart home in third.

Race three was a messy one, Stewart got to the front early only to spin up in turn two in front of both Dixon cars Scott Williamson of Riverside and Matt Greene of Dunedin.

All cars got restarted and the officials deemed Kerry Dixon to be at fault and sent him to the rear of the pack for the restart. Stewart would take off to a flying start while Owen Dixon would man handle his Lovelady which had a flat left front tyre. Stewart would race on to claim the win with Dixon eventually getting past by Johnston who claimed second and Alister Lister who drove a good race up to third.

Overall Christmas Championship honor’s went to Stewart, Johnston second with Lister third.

A classy field of Saloons were on track competing for the Christmas Silverware, race one started with dramas as Cromwell’s Steve Robertson got tagged sending him into a spin just coming out of turn two, this led to Riversides Darcy Hewitt and Christchurch driver Willie Woodhouse making contact, Robertson and Hewitt would both retire from this heat.

From the restart it was newly crowned Otago Saloon Champion Aaron Andrews of Dunedin who would make some big passes to get to the lead of the race and come home fast to claim a solid fist full of points, behind Andrews was clubmate Jason Gold who led for a number of laps with the Beachlands Trifecta happening the way of Stu Millar who placed third.

Heat two and again it was Robertson who bought out the first caution in lap four, spinning up in turn two. After the restart the race found its rhythm up until Daryl Martin of Blenheim came unstuck in turn four causing a massive pile up of cars which included Graham Williamson of Riverside, Gold, Ivan Murdoch and George Phillips both of Cromwell. Williamson’s car suffered considerable damage and would not return with a lot of work needing done for Williamson to return on New Years Day.

Soon after this incident the race was called off due to dust and sun strike, this put a massive hold on the nights action. The win in race two went the way of Peter Schouten of Christchurch with Woodhouse second and Phil Burgess of Cromwell third.

Heat three saw Murdoch get a great jump from the front row and lead into turn one. The first caution came when Hewitt spun up on lap seven with Millar and Dunedin clubmate Shane Greer having a tangle up in turn two bringing out the second caution in quick succession. 

At the restart Murdoch was put under immense pressure from Schouten who was throwing everything he had at the local driver but Murdoch was up for a fight, putting his Pro X mid track making Schouten have to work hard to make any kind of move at all. Murdoch would do enough to take a well deserved win, Schouten was happy to settle second with Andrews again fast home in third.

Overall results for the Christmas Champs went the way of Schouten with Woodhouse second and Andrews third.

The final grade on the program was Production Saloons and a capacity field were on hand to put on some good wheel to wheel racing. Heat one saw a sudden stop for Christchurch driver Chris Bailey who lost a wheel coming onto the back straight, this would ultimately end Bailey’s night.

At the restart Sam Martin of Blenheim wasted no time at all getting to the front of the pack and from there it was game over, a big win for Martin who came home ahead of Brad McTaggart of Cromwell and Riverside’s Alex Crosbie in third. Crosbie had started from well down the pack in a car he was just racing a few weeks ago in Youth Saloons, this was a big result for the Invercargill teenager.

Crosbie would steal the show in race two also, this time putting his name up in lights while he battled with Vaughan Fairbairn of Christchurch. The pair put on a great display of driving, getting away from the pack until James Woods of Cromwell bought a caution with contact in turn two.

At the restart it looked as if Crosbie would get swallowed up by the higher horse powered cars around him but but this wasn’t to be Crosbie bringing his Honda Integra Youth Saloon home for his first ever race win in the senior ranks. Fairbairn was second with Martin third.

The final race for Productions was a bit of a torrid affair with a big pile up on the back straight involving Woods and Daniel Rolton of Cromwell and Blake Murdoch and Brad Fitzgerald of Riverside bringing the race to a grinding halt. For the majority involved it was more a case of pulling up to avoid further damage, Rolton and Woods unable to restart.

Local driver Brad McTaggart got out front and sailed off to a handy lead and wouldn’t be challenged taking a heat three win, Martin got up to second with Fairbairn third.

The Christmas Champs for Production Saloons going the way of Martin with McTaggart second and Crosbie well rewarded in third.

Central Motor Speedway return on New Years day with the Southern Sprintcar Series and the New Years Champs.

  • Advertising with us supports our speedway community
    Are you ready to grow your business and make a difference?


Your number one platform for dirt track racing. Purchase tickets, merchandise and watch your favourite videos right here, on Driven By Dirt.

© Copyright 2018 – 2023 Driven By Dirt Powered by 41 Digital

All prices are in New Zealand dollars

Post Views: 1,051