Parkes gives brilliant blocking display

TONY COFFIN
Last updated 12:00 16/04/2012

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Speedway

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Gary Parkes showed class never goes away with a brilliant blocking display in the Legends Day at the Harrisville Speedway at Ohakea on Saturday.

Almost 100 competitors from Palmerston North, Wanganui, Stratford, Wellington and Hawke's Bay gave up their time and vehicles to help raise money for World 240 champion Andy McCabe to contest the world formula 1 final in England later this year.

The large crowd was treated to an entertaining day with some of the greats of yesteryear showing they could still comfortably race today.

But the standout event was the teams' race between the Legends Panthers team and an All Star team.

The Panthers looked destined for the scrap heap and back into retirement until first "tank commander" Bryan Anderson, and particularly Parkes, blocked four All Star drivers, allowing Robert James to come from fifth to win the race ahead of team-mate Bruce Robertson and All Star Clive Elliot. Elliot's brake pedal fell off three laps from home.

After an early battle with James, Russell Joblin looked to have the All Stars on the way to victory until he smashed into the back of his other son's car driven by Kevin Davey. Even then former Wellington Wildcat drivers Clive Elliot, Graeme Gaskin and Ian King were headed for victory until Parkes' brilliant blocking held up all three, allowing James to zip past and win.

The man behind the current Panthers national superstock and stockcar teams titles displayed why he manages both teams with his ability to understand teams' racing tactics.

The fans may not have seen the best of "the general" Dave Evans during the teams race, where he ran out of fuel on the first two races, but in the third race when he got a handle on the Rees Tank's power, he blasted to a big win.

Stepping out of the car, the usually quiet Evans was beaming.

"That car has got has incredible horsepower," he said.

Veteran of most speedway classes and more than 40 years driving, current sprintcar driver Ian Easton showed he's lost none of his stockcar driving ability as he stepped into the Scott Joblin rocket ship and blitzed the field in the final race of the day.

Peter Rees, who was the recipient of the legends day last year, only drove in the last race, which he won.

He had little time to do anything else though as he and son Asher spent the day rushing around getting drivers into cars and refuelling the two superstocks, three stockcars and ministock for the legends and celebrity drivers to have a pedal in.

After the Gisborne meeting was cancelled while the teams were heading there, even the sidecars turned up for two races on their way to Wellington to race.

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- Manawatu Standard

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