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)
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
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
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
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 !
1.#58P Peter Bengston 2.#61P Gary Trotter 3.#10P Peter Rees 4.#11B Nigel Cooper 5.#55P
Fred Dykstra 6.#43P Darryl Hammond
1.#10P 2.#61P 3.#58P 4.#43P 5.#65B John Hynd 6.#11B
1.#58P 2.#43P 3.#61P 4.#10P 5.#11B 6.#65B
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!
Snr Ministocks 26
Jnr Ministocks 26
Stock Cars 23
All in all, an excellent start to the season ...........the future's bright ... the