Sprintcar war promises top action

A great night of action is guaranteed when 22 drivers will do battle in the first round of the General Tyres Sprintcar War of the Wings Series tomorrow night at Ruapuna Speedway.

More than $60,000 in prizemoney is up for grabs in the 10-round title fight at the Mag & Turbo speedway. Competitors will race over six heats and then in a feature race which will contribute points towards overall series honours.

Cromwell's Jason Scott is keen to add to the South Island Championship that he won last summer at his home track. It is likely that his toughest opposition will come from the Christchurch duo of Ray Baughan and Matt Honeywell.

Nelson drivers Brett Sullivan, Greg Teece and Chris Gerard have also entered, in the V8-powered class, while six drivers from Otago-Southland will also race. In addition, the evening will feature TQ Midgets, Midgets, Sidecars, Modified Sprints and Quarter Midgets. Racing starts at 7pm.

Next weekend will see the conclusion of two exciting endurance series at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna. On Saturday the South Island Endurance Series will have its final three-hour race, with a clash of locals vying for overall victory. The Christchurch combination of Rick Armstrong/Matthew Hamilton (Porsche GT3) are currently equal on points with fellow Cantabrian Paul Kelly, who is partnered with Australian-based Kiwi Daniel Gaunt (Porsche GT3).

Also over the weekend, the highlight for spectators will be the final round of the V8 SuperTourers Endurance Series. Saturday will see practice and qualifying while Sunday will feature two 53-lap races.

The series has released its 2013 calendar in which the South Island will host two rounds. Christchurch will see the second of the four round Sprint Series on March 9-10, while a yet-to-be confirmed southern destination will hold the second of the three-round endurance series on November 9-10. This may well be either in Christchurch or at the new Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.

The motorsport community are mourning the loss of Ian Snellgrove, who died this week. "Snellie" spent many years as a motorsport administrator with important roles including technical, general manager, steward, chief circuit safety inspector, licence examiner, head of the circuit safety department and manager of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust.

Ian and his wife, Pat, retired to Drummond, Southland, before moving back up north near family in Carterton, but frequently returned south with Ian acting as a steward for the Toyota Racing Series. In 2007 he received a Distinguished Service Award from Motorsport New Zealand for his dedication to the sport.

The recent release of the V8 Supercar calendar and the New Zealand round date clash with the 2013 Rally Otago has seen the opening round of the New Zealand Rally Championship brought forward a week. The event will now be held the weekend of April 5-7 to avoid a dilemma for drivers, motorsport media, service crews and club volunteers.

Benjamin Carrell is the online editor of nzmotorracing.co.nz