Kihihihi - Sunday 7 May
King Country Stock Cars
Pictures & reporting by Mike Pollard
The regular season should have been over by
now, but thanks to a small number of rain-out dates, the season has been extended by a
couple of weeks.
The effects of the rain were evident for all to see in King Country, as the infield was
decidedly boggy and the track was as rough as a bears' backside! Reminiscent of the Dutch
field racing, the track only added to the spectacle, as the cars bucked and bounced their
way around the oval.
With most North Island tracks represented, the 40 x cars were split into two groups. Each
group racing twice on a reverse grid basis, with the top 13 x from each, making the
one-off feature final, with the top points scorers at the front.
Heat wins were shared between Rotorua and Mt Manganui as wins went to #86r Bill Keizer,
#18m Simon Carter, #449r Steve McPherson and #92m Paul Wilson. Amongst the many highlights
was a first ever career roll for #65v Lisa Black, who was making her debut on the Kihikihi
"hills" after winning the track championship at Wanganui.
The final saw #92m Paul Wilson and #449r Steve McPherson line up on the front row, with
#86r Bill Keizer and #74b Tony Palmer on row 2, with defending champion #168a Rodney
Smythe in the 2nd half of the grid driving the borrowed car of #81a Billy Neil. On the
green, #92m Wilson and #449r McPherson managed to open a small gap over the pack before
the reds were out for #84s Haydin Barker. The track was playing its part, as cars were all
over the place, with #449r McPherson finding the going tough, and falling back to the
chasing back, leaving #92m Wilson out front on his own. Reds again, this time to retreive
the stricken car of #26k Allan Dunne, and to order hard man #137k Blu Rawiri to the
infield for racing in reverse! Blu showed his compliance by parking his car across the
track, next to the pit-gate, which remained closed. Eventually, Blu relented somewhat, and
reversed to the middle, leaving his car on the edge of the track. The delay continued for
no apparent reason, other than for perhaps checking the lap-charts, and a further 3 or 4
cars retired to the grass with overheating trouble, before the #137k Rawiri was pushed
further infield, and the field, now down to 50% of it's original size was let loose again.
The 3 x way battle that ensued for 2nd place was superb, with #449r McPherson, #86r Keizer
and #34a Mark Wareing swaping places at every bump, which in turn led to #92m Wilson
slowly increasing his lead every lap. At the end of the day, it was a flag to flag victory
for #92m Wilson, who raced virtually untroubled. 2nd was #34a Wareing ahead of #449r
McPherson and #86r Keizer, with defending champ #168a Rodney Smythe putting in a storming
drive to finish 5th ahead of #74b Tony Palmer.
Jnr Ministocks 18
Prod' Saloons 15