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Track: Palmerston North
Date: 5 January 2008
Event: Stockcar Teams Invasion
Pictures & reporting by Mike Pollard 

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Palmerston North - 5 January 2008
Stockcar Teams Invasion
Pictures & reporting by Mike Pollard 

Originally scheduled with 8 x teams, but the recent highly destructive N.Z. Stockcar Teams Champs put paid to that idea. Nevertheless, and as the commentator said on the night; these 4 x teams provided as much action as any x 8. He was dead right, and as a bonus; the Teams Invasion ended in another remarkable Palmerston final.

Preliminaries
The format saw each team race twice, with a "down the line" points system promoting the top x 2 teams to the final.

Manawatu Steelers v Palmerston Pumas
Hits right from the start saw #6p Alec Wilson lose his right rear wheel early on before #4p Gary Davis took #34p Rob Mason to the wall; the pair of them locked together like two fighting crabs for the whole of the race. When the red lights did come, on it was for #14p Ikey Hautapu, and on the restart the Steelers looked done with only #35p Ken McDonald left running, up against #5p George Frear, #7p Brett Lloyd and #9p Scott McIntosh. With the sun low down and in his mirrors; #35p McDonald must have sensed a car on his outside as he turned right and drove toward the wall. Unfortunately it must have been a mirage, as #35p McDonald drove straight through the invisible car, hit the wall hard, turned turtle, and effectively finished the night for the Steelers. The race still had to finish though, and it was left to #5p Frear, #7p Lloyd and #9p McIntosh to run out the laps in procession, with the 3 x wheeler of #6p Wilson crossing the line in 4th.

Meeanee Maulers v Stratford Stormers
#517s Mark Woods shot off the front chased by #83b Keith Hingston and #81b Andrew Powell until #81b Powell was drilled into the wall by #510s Chris Knight. #84b Beatle Tarrant was locking horns with #686s Mark Coxhead before attempting to baulk leader #517s Woods, but #517s Woods managed to spin #84b Tarrant and escape. #39s Mark Willemsen delivered a huge hit on #83b Keith Hingston but leader #517s Woods was well and truly stopped by #82b Regan o'Brien, as #517s Woods was sent crashing into the wall. The immaculate car had suffered roll cage damage and now looked like a real wreck, even before catching fire! On the restart it was 4 v 3 in favour of Stratford. #39s Willemson and #83b Hingston renewed their battle and #84b Tarrant delivered a huge on #22s Rowen Urlich. #510s Knight took the white flag in front of #87b Peter Barry, and went on to receive the chequered despite a last ditch attempt from #84b Tarrant.

Manawatu Steelers v Meeanee Maulers
With both teams having suffered major defeats in their 1st outing, it would need a miracle for either to qualify...........it was a bruising encounter. but the miracle?.............it didnt happen.

Palmerston Pumas v Stratford Stormers
Conversely, these two were virtually certain to qualify, and despite another heavy hitting affair, you could'nt help feeling that these two were holding something back as #5p George Frear ran out the winner ahead of #39s Michael Willemsen.

3/4th Place
Manawatu Steelers v Meeanee Maulers

The Maulers had given their all and were starting with a man down. The Steelers tried to make the advantage count as they adopted "man to man" marking; with #34p Rob Mason taking on #83b Keith Hingston, whilst #38p Neil Coley went toe to toe with #84b Beatle Tarrant. #84b Tarrant kinda won on points before going on to help out #83b Hingston, by shooting #34p Mason up the wall. #83b Hingston was now free of #34p Mason, but found himself being shot into the wall by #14p Ikey Hautapu, before #14p hautapu himself was slammed into the fence by #85b bryce cross. throughout the carnage, the Steelers managed to maintain their man advantage as #27p Ken Meehan eventually managed to take the chequered.

Final
Palmerston Pumas v Stratford Stormers

Rowen Urlich was reported to be in hospital with broken ribs, with Jay Knight taking over in the #22s machine. On the green everyone stayed put, except for #9p Scott McIntosh and #39s Michael Willemsen who stormed round at full place before encountering the pack at the end of lap 1. This was the signal for battle to commence as all hell broke loose. #9p McIntosh momentarily got lost in the writhing pack, but #39s Willemsen somehow managed to get through and lead for the first half of the race, despite numerous attempts from the Pumas to stop him. Bumpers were going in all over the place, inevitably culminating with the red lights. Shock, horror on the restart as leader #39s Willemsen limped off, leaving #9p McIntosh in front. #9p McIntosh was smoking badly but managed to thump his way through all the attempted blocks on his way to the white flag. Round the last bend with victory in sight; #9p McIntosh clipped the dead #686s Mark Coxhead car and slowed just long enough for #595s Rhys Wadsworth to get in the hit and roll him over just inches short of the finish line! I now had no idea who was leading, but apparently they now had 3 x laps still to go. Still time for another red light as the #22s Jay Knight car was retreived from the track, but as the reds came on; #510s Chris Knight presumably with clutch problems, slowed but failed to stop, and received huge boos from the partisan crowd. The car was eventually stopped by an official, but refused to budge on the green, which left just #6p Alec Wilson left running albeit on 3 x wheels. 5 x laps later and #6p Wilson limped across the line to huge applause from the Palmerston fans who had seen yet another truly classic teams race.

Cars racing
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28 Snr Ministocks
20 Streetstocks
20 Mini Sprints



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