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Palmerston North - Season Opener - Saturday 15 October 2005
Words and pictures Mike Pollard

 

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Palmerston North - Season Opener - Saturday 15 October 2005

Words and pictures Mike Pollard

Auckland should have had the pleasure of holding the season opener last week, but the weather decided otherwise.

Hello and welcome to the 75th year of racing at FMG Stadium (formerley Arena Manawatu) Palmerston North.

I managed to arrive early for a change, and was met by a pits area that seemed pretty full of cars as well as people!

Lots of new drivers, new numbers, and plenty of new machines on display, including the much rumoured and long awaited #8P tank of Scott Miers.

Drivers had come from far and wide, but none further than USA Outlaw racer Jimmy Kouba from the twin cities area of Minneapolis - St Paul who had only arrived in New Zealand a few hours earlier and was driving the #63M Sprint Car out of Baypark.

Time for the first race....... up the steps to the track and whoa ............ hold me back! .......... the place was looking well busy, with a huge crowd in place for the opener. so many in fact that it took me a while to realise that the terraces had seen bum shaped individual seats installed, effectively making the place an all-seater stadium! I looked around ......and whoa ..... hold me back again! ... theres a giant screen on the first turn!!!

The winter upgrade, together with the super stand that was built a year earlier, has put the track firmly in the Superleague, and is a fitting tribute to a stockcar mecca that will celebrate its 75th birthday very soon.

No official feature formula today, with it being the opener, but the stars of the show were the Superstocks and the Sprintcars who were starting their first full season at Palmy.

Superstocks

Winner of the heat and grandslam was #58P Peter Bengston who was using his new super green flying machine to great effect. stopping Bengston from taking the hat trick and winner of the feature final was #10P Peter Rees who was doubling up in the Stockcar and Superstock divisions, and seemingly had plenty of energy left after building 13 x (yes thirteen!!) stock cars during the off-season.! The only other drivers to show real speed were #43P Darryl Hammond and especially #61P Gary Trotter who both gave Bengston and Rees a run for their money.

Scott Miers took no prisoners in his brand new tank, dishing out punishment to anyone who dared come near him, and was single-handedly responsible for most of the DNF's in heat 1 before being sent crashing out of the feature on the opening lap by a vengefull #97P Graeme Ward !

Heat
1.#58P Peter Bengston 2.#61P Gary Trotter 3.#10P Peter Rees 4.#11B Nigel Cooper 5.#55P Fred Dykstra 6.#43P Darryl Hammond
Feature
1.#10P 2.#61P 3.#58P 4.#43P 5.#65B John Hynd 6.#11B
Grand Slam
1.#58P 2.#43P 3.#61P 4.#10P 5.#11B 6.#65B

SprintCars

Honours were shared amongst the Sprintcar ranks, with heat wins going to #66P Skinny Colson, who looked exceptionally fast and #21V Peter Huijs, whilst #8P Paul Donovan took the Feature. The super quick surface saw the sprinters throw the dust up and clock times 4 to 5 seconds a lap quicker than the Superstocks! The best set of results of the day belonged to the 2 x Wanganui drivers! Huijs with a win and 2 x third places, whilst #22V Donny Hopkinson had 2 x seconds and a third. the American Jimmy Kouba failed to impress in a car that he struggled to fit in to!

Cars racing
Snr Ministocks 26
Jnr Ministocks 26
Stock Cars 23
Superstocks 17
Streetcars 15
Sidecars 10
Sprintcars 8

All in all, an excellent start to the season ...........the future's bright ... the future's Palmy!



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