Napier - Saturday 28
New Zealand Stockcar Championships
Reporting & pictures by Mike Pollard
Thirty or so drivers that took part in
qualifying failed to make it for finals day, leaving us with just 115 x cars! Yes 144 x
cars tried to qualify for the 26 x championship grid positions, which must make this one
of the hardest to win stock-car events in the world.
The weather looked threatening as the entire stadium rose for the national anthem, after
which it was green for go as #54p Bevan Humphrey starts things off with #21s Josh Hancock
in second, as the first casualty is #92p Brett Lloyd who gets taken up the wall at the
back of the grid. #2nz Phillip Brisco shows in third before being passed by a quick
looking #22w Richard Gaskin as #5k Brad Ridland struggles to keep away from the wall with
a collapsed right rear end. #21s Hancock and #22w Gaskin hold each other up battling for
second spot which allows #19p Kerry Humphrey and #11p Peter Rees to sneak through, as the
reds go out to recover a stranded car. On the restart #15p Rob Miers fails to get going as
#2nz Brisco retires to the centre green in a plume of smoke.
1.#54p Bevan Humphries 2.#11p Peter Rees 3.#19p Kerry Humphrey 4.#22w Richard Gaskin
5.#10s Jay Knight 6.#48r Ivan King
One lap in and its close up front between #78s Shaun Bloeman #58m Stephen Hermansen and
the sole home town qualifier #49b Mark Jones. At the back #19p is facing the wrong way as
is #26s Blair Luscombe who is giving it the big thumbs down as he gets hit hard by #49b
Jones on his way past, requiring the reds. On the restart #11p Peter Rees moves to the
front ahead of #58m Hermansen, #68r Keith Spanhake and #16r Clive Pritchard while #18m
Simon Carter gets blasted into the wall by #31p Gary Davis. #68r Spanhake moves ahead of
#58m Hermansen to take second as #11p Rees motors on for the win with #58m Hermansen
dropping down the lap charts late on.
1.#11p 2.#68r Keith Spanhake 3.#16r Clive Pritchard 4.#51w David Marshall 5.#56r Kevin
A check of the points shows #11p Rees a huge 7points ahead of #22w Gaskin with #19p
Humphrey and #51w Dave Marshall a further point back. Such a lead for #11p Rees means that
a half decent finish should be enough but also means that he is a marked man!
#68r Keith Spanhake leads them away ahead of #15p Rob Miers, #56r Kevin Henry and #22w
Gaskin in fourth. #15p Miers takes the lead as he blasts #68r Spanhake into the wall. #68r
Spanhake recovers well to rejoin in third before being hit again by a melee of cars, and
finds himself being sent crashing into the wall again, only this time backwards, and this
time requiring the reds. A quick stock-take shows #11p Rees moving ominously well through
the field, before an allmighty hit from #48r Ivan King sees them both hurtling through the
air in a cloud of dust which immediately brings out the reds again. But when the dust
settles it's #48r King who is upside down, with #11p Rees facing the wrong way but still
very mobile! Green flag, and straight away #11p Rees is being blocked and bashed by
everybody without a "p" on their car. #11p Rees is sent into the wall again and
recovers to rejoin right in front of new leader #19p Humphrey! Reds out again to recover
the #68r Spanhake car which has cried enough after yet another battering. The first two
heats were nothing compared to this as the reds are out for the umpteenth time, this time
to recover the #15p Miers car which sits atop the wall and also to extinguish a car on
fire at the opposite end of the track. Leader #19p Humphrey deals well with the blocking
tactics of #49b Mark Jones and again hones in on the rear bumper of the almost lapped #11p
Rees. Two laps to go, and a large section of the crowd have realised that #19p Kerry
Humphrey will be the New Zealand champion if he can despatch #11p Rees to the wall. First
the white and then the chequered for #19p Humphrey, but he's still right on the bumper of
I dont know if #19p Humphrey didnt realise it, or maybe he didnt want to jeopardise his
podium spot, but either way the hoped for lunge didnt materialise as #11p Rees came home a
lap later in sixth position and became the stockcar champion of New Zealand.
1.#19p 2.#22w 3.#54p 4.#12h Blair Ashton 5.#32p George Frear 6.#11p
3 points behind #11p Rees were #19p Kerry Humphrey and #22w Richard Gaskin tied for second
and requiring a run off.
The green flag saw little movement as they both eased away from the line. #22w Gaskin
slowly forced #19p Humphrey to the wall and held him there for a while before #19p
Humphrey squirmed out of the block and looked to be on his way to victory until puncturing
on one of the infamous Napier ruts allowing #22w Gaskin through. #19p Humphreys waited and
tried to take out #22w Gaskin on his way past, but the game was up, leaving #22w Gaskin to
become 2nz with #19p Humphrey having to settle for the #3nz jersey.
With the N.Z. champs just a week away it was no surprise to see just the locals battling
Star of the show was undoubtedly #77b Shane Penn who was sublime in the way he handled
both the opposition and the track, and with the possible exception of #31b Andy McCabe
looked to be in a different class to his fellow competitors.
1.#31b Andy McCabe 2.#77b Shane Penn 3.#10b Brent Larsen 4.#65b John Hynd 5.#11b Nigel
Cooper 6.#7b Shane Mellsop
1.#77b 2.#31b 3.#10b 4.#7b 5.#5b Mike Groome 6.#11b
1.#77b 2.#65b 3.#11b 4.#31b 5.#7b 6.#55b Tony True
A good nights racing with nothing else on the bill to get in the way of the
stock-cars........ it was just like being back at home ...........then again, with so many
cars out there.........perhaps not!