Excitement aplenty for season's best crowd
There was so much action at the Palmerston North Speedway on Saturday night that the season's best crowd hardly had time to draw breath.
With the running of two major titles - the International Sprintcars as well as the highly sought-after Manawatu Superstock champs - action was almost guaranteed. And the track, prepared by track manager Bryan Puklowski, gave both classes a perfect racing surface.
It was no surprise the American drivers filled the first three placings in the Palmerston North PartsWorld sprintcars with Peter Murphy heading home Jonathan Allard and pole setter Ricky Logan third.
The big surprise in the sprintcars was Wellington-domiciled (but Palmerston North-contracted) rookie Jamie Larsen setting the quickest time in the hot laps, then winning the first heat. After starting near the front in the 25-lap feature, Larsen held third place until he was overtaken by Allard late, but his fourth place was an outstanding finish and a good reversal of form having written off two chassis in crashes this season.
Larsen headed home the country's best sprintcar drivers in former national champions Jamie McDonald and Dean Brindle.
Wade Savage won't forget his first sprintcar win when he beat Logan and Murphy in a heat. Stephen Taylor also won his first race, beating Allard, but then destroyed his car with a spectacular roll in the feature as Allard passed him. With just one crash tyre choice was clear with Logan getting away to a quick start before his tyres went off and Murphy using a harder compound blasted into the lead and then on the final lap Allard took second place from Logan.
The top-six shootout saw a rare outcome when the sixth-placed drivers beat every one of the five ahead of him in two lap runoffs to secure pole for the final ahead of Murphy. Allard was forced to start in sixth place after he jumped the start against Logan and was disqualified from the runoff.