Rotorua ace spoils Taranaki's bid for glory
The Taranaki Streetstock Championship trophy has again been driven out of town.
Despite the best efforts of Taranaki competitors to stop him, Rotorua driver and New Zealand ranked No 1, Stephen De Malmanche, won the championship at Stratford Speedway on Saturday night.
De Malmanche, who won the title two seasons ago, was spun in the first heat by Taranaki driver Chris Shingleton. But he recovered well and exacted revenge by spinning Shingleton and then Jonathan Price later in the same race to win the heat.
He followed that with a fourth in heat two and won heat three to win the championship by one point from New Plymouth's Richard Kettle. Rahotu's John Young was third, a further two points behind.
In the stockcar class, Bevan Phillips showed his skill by cleverly manoeuvring his way through the 27-car field to record two wins and a sixth placing, giving him enough points to win the Allan Hancock Memorial. He was eight points clear of his nearest rival, Tyler Walker, while former English driver Richard Hart finished third equal with Kelvin Good.
The large field of youth ministocks produced a relatively clean night of racing apart from the third heat when a large pileup on the last lap involved five cars.
Bradley Podjursky was towed to the infield with major front suspension damage.
Bailey Betts, who has been fast all season, won the City of New Plymouth Classic after finishing well in all three heats, including winning the last.
Blair Uhlenberg, who at times was using his bumper to push cars around, finished second, three points behind Betts. Carol Podjursky fared better than her brother, Bradley, to round out the podium finishers in third.
Uhlenberg dominated the supporting adult ministock races, winning two heats while in the saloon class, Brett Barron hit the wall in front of the grandstand in heat two but was able to repair his car for the third heat to record a fifth place finish. Craig Korff, who normally dominates the class at Stratford, only managed one win with Allan Hooper and Russel Gorrie winning the others.
Jason Kalin produced a stunning drive in the second modified race, stealing the lead from Farron Lowry on the last lap to win. Kalin is really coming to grips with his car and could be a threat at the Taranaki Modified Championship on February 16.
Thirty cars faced the starter for the demolition derby, the highest number in quite some time.
The event, which saw three cars catch fire, was judged by many to be the best derby in several years.
New Plymouth's Steve Reed was the standout competitor, hurtling around the track at a great pace, destroying everything in his path, himself almost included, when he almost rolled after driving over another competitor's car.
Reed was one of the three to suffer from a fire which meant an unfortunate exit from the event.
Jason Cash survived to be the last car mobile after 15 minutes of carnage.
Stirrers prizes went to Karl Uhlenberg and Reed, while Kirsty Hurley won the best presented car prize and Tyler Walker the hard luck award.
On the same night in Rotorua, Phil Ogle finished second in the World Invitation Superstock Championship, while Duane Hickman finished 10th in the New Zealand Midget Car Championship in Christchurch.
Taranaki Daily News