Tony Hislop got his reward for all the hard work he puts into organising the sidecars when he and rider Derek Ramsay won the coveted Manawatu title at Arena Manawatu last night.
In a close battle, Ramsay and Hislop won the three-heat final by a single point from three other combinations.
Hislop single-handedly juggles work as site services co-ordinator at Fonterra's Pahiatua plant, with being the swinger in a top combination, as well as putting the spectacular sidecar meetings together.
A last-corner pass to finish third in the first heat proved to be the winning of the championship for Hislop and Ramsay. They failed to win a heat but consistency was the difference, being placed in each race.
After finishing second last in the first heat, Paul Humphries and Ben Franklin won the runoff for second ahead of Richard and Alister Horne and Gisborne's Clive Ireland and Kerwin Amaboldi.
Multiple national title-holder Peter Rees will head to the national superstock and stockcar champs as favourite to lift a fifth stockcar title at Christchurch, and one of the favourites for the superstock title at Nelson, both in the next fortnight.
Rees won all three superstock races last night, from Graeme Barr twice, and Wayne Hemi.
Rees looked headed for a clean sweep of the stockcar races also after winning the opening race, but had a flat tyre and then was forced to the infield with a mechanical problem in the feature. Gareth Edwards and Jay Knight won the races.
In his first appearance of the season, Stephen Buys showed he will be a major threat when the national Minisprint title is decided at Arena Manawatu early next year after two sensational victories, winning by the length of the straight.
Karl McGill was an impressive feature winner ahead of Trevor Stephenson. Gary Parkes has named a predictable four drivers to defend the national teams' championships with the Palmerston North Panthers, but the fifth member and the reserve driver are still up in the air.
As expected, a rejuvenated Scott Miers will captain the team with his Tank, along with Peter Bengston, Peter Rees and Shane Penn.
However, Parkes admitted the last place could come down to who perform best at the big national meetings in the coming weeks.
"Really, I think it will be between Scott Joblin, Wayne Hemi and Jack Miers," Parkes said. "I haven't seen enough of Scott (Joblin) or Wayne (Hemi) yet to name them at the moment." The will be just the one change to the Palmerston North Pumas, who will be going for a three-peat of the national Stockcar Teams' Championships at Arena Manawatu on January 18 and 19.
Regular Gary Davis has rarely raced this season, with heavy work commitments, with Asher Rees taking his place. It will be the first time a father and son have raced in a team. Peter Rees will lead the team.
The rest of the team comprises Gavin Taniwha, Alec Wilson, Ron Tye and Gareth Prentice, with Parkes saying an unlucky Jay Knight will be the reserve driver.
"I've spoken to Jay and he'll be in if any of the other drivers have problems in the next three weeks; he has had an impressive season."
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