Eastern States Speedway's 2012-13 season got under way in Renwick on Sunday with the home team, Eastern States Titans, prevailing in a stockcar teams race against KB's Cowboys.
With several wet weekends delaying the completion of a new safety fence, and causing the cancellation of the season opener two weeks ago, the roar of engines was a welcome sound to fans, club members and competitors.
The Titans had extended the invitation to Palmerston North's Cowboys to make the trip south.
With a North Island v South Island Team Challenge coming up at Woodford Glen Speedway in Christchurch this weekend, the Palmerston North team was only too happy to accept the offer.
Both sides started strongly on Sunday but it was the visitors who flew round the track in formation and held the advantage most of the time. However, late in the contest, some smart, tactical defence from the Titans' Sam Thompson, Ricco Gray and Steve Biddulph allowed captain Ralph Gillespie to sneak to the front and take line honours ahead of the Cowboys' Brad Powell and George Frear.
The fifth member of the Titans, Gavin Marshall, was unable to complete the race after his car suffered a mechanical problem.
Another feature of the opening meet was a game of stockcar football, where a strong field of stockcars belted an expired Subaru Legacy around the track.
Christchurch's Paul Anderson took the winner's spoils, taking the ball of metal to the finish before climbing on it in his 1500kg stockcar.
In the supporting classes, Marlborough drivers Daryl Martin and Ritchie Chapman duelled to finish one-two in the saloons, while David Allen, Brett Allen and Robert Lee fought out the placings in the production saloons.
The youth ministocks were neck and neck all night, with nine young drivers sparring over the three heats.
Nelson driver Roydon Winstanley eventually prevailed over Brad Neiman.
No Blenheim drivers competed in the streetstock class, where Christchurch trio Paul Leslie, Kirk Aldridge and Dan Parks claimed race wins.
Meanwhile, three high-calibre meetings kick off at Eastern States Speedway from next weekend.
On November 23, the War of the Wings Sprintcar Spectacular gives Marlborough speedway enthusiasts a chance to enjoy one of the flagship speedway classes.
The class is not often raced in the province.
On December 2, the country's top saloon drivers will race a round of the DHL Saloon Series.
On December 14, the South Island Super Saloon fraternity descend on Marlborough for round one of the Elf Super Cup Series.
A discount entry ticket in the form of the Horsepower Superpass is available to those planning to attend all three events.
- The Marlborough Express
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