Revamped programme looks a winner

Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012

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There is plenty for stockcar fans to get excited about this weekend as Stratford Speedway hosts two of the biggest events for the contact classes on the local season calendar.

The club is running meetings tonight and tomorrow night.

The two race nights were originally scheduled as qualifying rounds and were expected to be held for the under-23 stockcar champs, but with entries falling short, the qualifying rounds have been scrapped.

Tonight's feature event is the Best in the West Saloon Car Champs, an event local driver Craig Korff will be keen to add to his list of achievements after winning the Taranaki Championship last Saturday.

He will join 11 other competitors, including Wellington driver Gary Marshall, in the starting lineup.

Other classes will be stockcars, minisprints, youth ministocks, streetstocks and the golden oldies. The 38 under-23 entrants have automatically gone into the finals and will race together in three 15-lap heats on Saturday night.

"Although the entries are down on what we expected, the quality is still there" event organiser Jarrod Macbeth said.

"The defending champion, Chevron Taniwha from Palmerston North, has entered, as well as last season's second and third placed Mitchell Hill and Josh Prentice [also from Palmerston North]."

Palmerston North competitors make up the bulk of the field with 13 cars, Stratford has six, the most in the five-year history of the event which is run annually at the track.

All North Island tracks are represented. There is, however, only one entrant from the South Island, with Invercargill's Mark Taylor making the long trip up from the deep south.

There are two females competing, 17-year-old Caitlin Hayward, of Tauranga, and 19-year-old Channelle Gordon, of Auckland, proving that "stockcars" are not just for the boys.

The Stratford Scrappers will take on the Manawatu Mustangs in a superstock teams race on the same night.

The teams race, recently added to the programme, is to become a biennial event at Stratford.

Every other year, the two teams will face each other in Palmerston North. It has been several years since the class has had teams racing locally and Scrappers manager Roydon Collingwood is confident the local team will be holding the trophy at the end of the race.

"Although the Mustangs have a good team, we believe that we have good depth in our team and we have drivers that really have the desire to teams race. We have good equipment and ability and have every chance of taking out the race".

The Scrappers team is Michel Willemsen, Phil Ogle, Wayne Moss, Car Shearer and Tony Zehnder (reserve). The Manawatu Mustangs consist of Kerry Humphrey, Simon Joblin, Asher Rees and Jack Miers.

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More than 30 superstocks will be competing in the King of the Mountain Championship, including New Zealand ranked No 2 Kerry Humphrey, along with Scott Miers and Peter Rees, of Palmerston North, and Karl Pegg and Glen Drabble, of Huntly. Midgets, adult ministocks, stockcars and golden oldies will round out tomorrow's programme.

- Taranaki Daily News

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