The continual rain since Boxing Day has finally taken its toll on the country's two premier stockcar meetings being held at Arena Manawatu.
It's amazing that every day since Boxing Day has been fine and warm until the rain has swept in almost on queue at 4pm causing major headaches for Palmerston North Speedway promoters.
But with the torrential rain that rolled in at 4pm last night, qualifying for the Machinery Specialists New Zealand Teams' Champs will now be run at 7pm tonight, while the finals has now been rescheduled for the Robertson Holden Speedway on January 11 when there was no racing planned.
Track manager Bryan Puklowski admitted that the rain had made things very trying for competitors, his staff and all the fans visiting and local. But after 10 years as track manager Puklowski said there's nothing that can be done when it decides to rain.
"Dave Evans said to me it's like contracting," Puklowski said. "There's nothing you can do about the weather and just have to put up with whats in front of you." "I'm sort of used to it now but five days of rain when its been fine every morning . . . . I really feel for those who get the place ready and the compeittors a lot of whom have been here since Boxing Day." Puklowski agreed that the rain has pretty much come as forecast, a forecast that helped them sit out the rain twice and then manage to continue the meeting.
"We knew the downpour was coming last night and that it was going to clear again but we wanted to give everyone some certainty and for them not to hang around in the rain last night." Puklowski said tonight was his last night for running the stockcar teams' champs and with a break in the poor weather for today he expected to get qualifying out of the way.
With poor weather expected again for Friday, but also qualifying for the New Zealand Superstock champs at Meeanee in Napier Puklowski said there was no option but to move ,hopefully just the finals, to January. Also a few of the drivers like Peter Rees, Asher Rees, Jordan Dare and Wanganui's Kyle Heibner will be competing in superstock qualifying.
Puklowski said thanks to the staff, competitors, their crews and families, at least the national stockcar title, won by Palmerston North's Jayden Ward followed by team-mate Chevron Taniwha was completed.
"I'm proud of what we've managed particuarly on the night when we held the meeting up when it rained," he said. "My staff then got the track ready and grade,d then competitors came from everywhere to get it ready to race when I doubt it would have happened anywhere else."
There's still penty of work ahead for Puklowski and his staff once the stockcar teams champs is completed, hopefully on January 11. There's the international sprintcar meeting (January 18), the North Island Sidecar champs (January 25) and then the country's biggest speedway meeting when 12 teams of superstocks roll up for the annual Teams' Champs on February 7 and 8.
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