Palmerston North drivers made a clean sweep of all three stockcar events at the Stratford Speedway on Saturday night.
A total of 35 cars faced the starter for the first heat of the under- 23 stockcar championship and several drivers blew their chances on the first lap.
Mitch Vickery was spun then pushed the entire length of the back straight sideways, while defending champion Chevron Taniwha (Palmerston North) was caught up in the ensuing pile-up.
The race was stopped to remove Vickery from his car and fortunately he escaped injury.
It was then the turn of early race leader Caitlin Hayward to find trouble. He spun out of contention on the restart and local driver Kieran Hussey had his hopes dashed when he was spun and was forced to retire when his car overheated.
The carnage continued, with Tauranga's Scott Hayward hitting the wall after his car's steering broke before Auckland's Scott Tennant took the winning points in the incident-packed heat.
There was more trouble on the first lap of heat two when Tyler Walker, Scott Hayward and Kieran Hussey tangled. Hayward's troubles continued when he again hit the wall.
Fifteen cars failed to finish, with Palmerston North's Asher Rees winning the race from a grid six starting position.
Competition points after the first two heats left six drivers in with a chance of winning the championship. Mitchell Hill (Palmerston North) led on 77 points ahead of Scott Tennant (75), Graeme Peter (72), Darrell Wallace (71) and Asher Rees (69).
Rees drove brilliantly to win the heat - his second success of the night.
Hill was the most consistent driver over the three heats, finishing third in heat one and second in heats two and three to win the championship by six points.
Meanwhile, the Manawatu Mustangs outperformed the Stratford Scrappers in the superstock teams race.
The Mustangs controlled the race after starting from pole position.
Phil Ogle (Scrappers) was going well in second spot until Peter Rees (Mustangs) launched an attack on lap two, dropping the Stratford racer back to fourth.
The race was stopped and Rees sent to the infield, his left rear wheel guard missing.
The final three laps were a procession with Rees crossing the finish line first to win the race for the Mustangs ahead of Jack Miers. Phil Ogle was third and the first of the local drivers home.
A total of 25 superstocks fronted for the King of the Mountain Championship.
Peter Rees showed why he is one of the most highly regarded competitors in speedway when he completed a hat-trick of wins, while local drivers Michel Willemsen and Phil Ogle finished second and third.
Duane Hickman won two races in the midget class while Greg Jones won the other.
The adult ministocks completed the programme, with Karl Uhlenberg winning two races and Gary Preston the other, while on Friday night, Craig Korff won the Best in the West saloon car championship.
The Stratford Stormers travelled to Auckland to race against the Auckland Alleycats in a stockcar teams race on Saturday, which Auckland won.
Nine Taranaki modified competitors travelled to Tauranga to compete in an invitation meeting at Baypark Speedway last weekend. John Jackson won the first heat and finished third in the feature race.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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