Big turnout of cars for final night

TONY COFFIN
Last updated 12:00 12/05/2014

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Huge fields from the more than 150 competitors treated a large crowd to fast racing on the final night of the speedway season at Arena Manawatu on Saturday night.

All classes except the sprintcars raced, as as drivers chased the season points title or tried to protect their leads.

With 29 superstocks chasing the Lucas Oil series, which had only run one previous round, it came down to a battle between Graeme Barr, Scott Joblin and Peter Bengston.

After a disappointing season, Joblin, who apart from being part of the Palmerston North Panthers' win at the Auckland teams nationals, turned in his best performance of the season. He won the series with a win and two second-placings in the three series heats ahead of Barr, Bengston, Peter Rees and Christchurch visitor Malcom Ngatai.

Barr did get the final race of the season, easily winning ahead of Rees, Bengston and Adam Joblin.

In an incredible feat, Rees debuted his new superstock just three weeks to the day after beginning to build it from scratch and showing the experience of someone who has built 150 stockcars and superstocks. He picked up two podiums and finished all four races in the top five in a classy field.

Craig Humphries went into the final night with a 17-point lead over Kenley Brown, who was unable to race after blowing his engine recently, and a massive 28-point lead over Rees. But with double points up for grabs Humphries needed a good night to guarantee the title.

Unfortunately for Humphries, his night ended when he got in the way of an aerial spin, with Allan Levien putting him out for the night with a damaged roll cage.

With so many points up for grabs and four races, Rees scored in every race, including a massive 20 points in the feature to overhaul Humphries.

William Humphries made sure of a deserved stockcar point title with two wins and halting nearest challenger Rees in his tracks.

After wiping out Peter Rees' chances of a sixth national title, fans had been waiting for a Rees payback but each time Rees came up on Stu Rackham he took to the infield, then came back out onto the track behind him.

Asher Rees did fire Rackham up the wall in the final race.

Jamie Larsen and Nathan Jefferies went into the final night level on points in the minisprints, swapping wins in the first two races. But a DNF put Jefferies behind going into the feature which Larsen cruised to third and the title, with Jefferies well back.

Dylan Rose and Blake Barnett have had an intriguing battle for the adult ministock title, with Rose narrowly ahead. Barnett picked the wrong night for getting involved in all the crashes ahead of him, picking up no points, for Rose to take the title easily.

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National sidecar champions Paul Humphrey and Ben Franklin, along with Mark Whyte and Jacob Cooper, split the first two sidecar races to be level on points going into the last race.

Whyte and Cooper began badly in third place, but shunted Humphrey and Franklin wide on the first corner, going on to win the race from the fast-closing Humphrey, who had lost almost 100 metres in the collision.

James Malia won the youth ministock title by more than 60 points from Wellington's Josh Patterson, winning one race from Patterson by a fraction of a second. With sprintcars the only class not racing, Stephen Taylor won the points title well ahead of Bryan Menefy.

- Manawatu Standard

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