Superstocks team champs prove record crowd-puller
We reckon the national superstocks teams champs, held in Palmerston North over the weekend, are one of the three best-attended motorsport events in the country.
Arena Manawatu had more than 16,500 crammed in for the two nights. That would be exceeded only by the international midgets meeting at Western Springs and the V8 Supercars.
The stockies are getting even bigger, more tickets pre-sold than ever. Now there are plans to put corporate boxes at the Pascal St end of the stadium.
The Palmerston North Panthers and Manawatu Mustangs were in Saturday night's final and the Panthers have won 16 times since the first in 1981, and the Mustangs twice.
Palmerston North's dominance doesn't seem to have affected the event's enormous popularity.
■ A Spanish mechanic from one of the New Zealand Grand Prix teams at Manfeild popped along to the stockcar champs and described it as "like bullfighting on steroids".
He couldn't believe the stockcars were worth about $150,000 each. About 30 mechanics crossed over to watch the Palmerston North Panthers win again.
■ It was good to see a full field of 20 Toyota Racing Series cars on the grid at Manfeild for the NZ Grand Prix meeting at the weekend.
But that international class carried the weekend because the next best, the NZ V8s did have 15 starters but only four of the new-generation V8s.
The sport is battling for status these days with the V8 SuperTourers having split it and everyone hopes by next year unification will have taken place.
■ When Palmerston North motor mechanic Braden Parsons answered his phone at the weekend, he was draining oil out of a race car at Bathurst.
His day job is with Courtesy Ford but he also works for Motorsport Services based at Hampton Downs, which had six cars (19 drivers, 30 crew) in yesterday's Bathurst 12-hour race for production cars.
Last month Parsons was working on the team's two cars in the Dubai 24-hour and next month will be off to Spain for the world's longest race, the Spain 48-hour event.
■ Another major cycle race was to arrive in Palmerston North today, from Masterton, and was to leave tomorrow. It is the fifth annual seven-day Wellington-to-Auckland Cycle Challenge with 150 riders, including some from Australia, Germany and the United States. Manawatu entries are Peter O'Sullivan and Steve Stannard and Feilding's Shane Read.
Also in the field are Olympic kayaker Erin Taylor, 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist Fiona Southorn and former Olympic cyclists Jack Swart and Blair Stockwell.
■ Tickets have gone on sale for the highly-anticipated netball clash at Arena Manawatu between the Pulse and the Southern Steel at 7.20pm on Sunday, April 14.
It will be the only Pulse game held outside Wellington. Palmerston North's Liana Leota will play following her return from England where husband Johnny is playing rugby for the Sale Sharks. Tu Toa meets New Plymouth Girls' High School in the curtainraiser.