Superstock Team Champs - Qualifying
06 February 2009
Pictures by Mike Pollard and reporting by Alan Skayman
How the meeting works.
For those not having been to or seen Teams racing the meeting is worked around 12 teams
divided into 4 groups of 3. On the first night each team races the other two teams in its
respective group and the top points scorer out of each group goes through to the Top
Tier and the second top scorer in each group also goes through to a second tier. Points
are scored as follows 1st 100 points 2nd 40, 3rd 25, 4th 20 & 5th
10. So it is vital to get 1st place and then as many other places as you can. Each race
only has 8 cars four from each team with one drive from each team sitting out.
Friday 6th February Qualifying Night.
First up was a mascot race which was won by the British Lions Mascot, so the evening was
off to a winning start! Next up was the Grand Parade where all the drivers and Team come
out together on the teams 5 cars. The last through the gate were the British Lions who
entered the Arena to the sounds of Rule Britannia and being lead out by a Rolls Royce then
Mick Harris in car 00, Frankie Wainman Jnr in 01, Tom Harris in 02, Stuart Smith jnr in
03, Mark Taylor in 04 and James Lund as the 6th driver. Tony Maclanachan (a former
champion with the Wellington Wildcats) was the Team Manager
The Brits were in Group 4 against the last 3 times winners the Palmerston North Panthers
and Champions in 1981 and 2005 the Manawatu Mustangs. So they were up against it from the
off especially as their first race was against the massive favourites the Panthers. Each
team did their 4 practice laps (the Brits doing theirs to the strains of Ring of Fire) but
unfortunately for the Brits Toms car developed engine problems and so he jumped into his
father Micks car before the off. Stuart lined up on the inside front with Peter Bengston
for the Panthers alongside. Mark was on the second row outside with Shane Penn on his
inside, then Frankie lined up on inside row 3 with Peter Rees for company and Tom was off
the rear outside with the Tank Commander Scott Miers alongside. From the clutch start the
Panthers were quickly into the lead with Miers putting a good hit onto the Tom Harris car,
with Tom only completing 2 laps due to damaged steering. With Bengston and Penn in a
commanding lead and Miers and Rees obviously in block mode it was always an uphill battle.
Stuart and Miers had a coming together down the back straight resulting in both cars being
out of the running. At the drop of the flag it was Penn, Bengston, Wainman, Taylor, Rees
and Harris. There was controversy to come when Penn was excluded from the results for
using the infield meaning the Panthers had 120 points and the Lions 75 points.
Race 2 in the group was the Lions up against the Mustangs. Tom was back in the 02 car with
Mick back in 00. Again Mick was the stand down driver. Stuart again started on poll with
Chucky Norris for the Mustangs alongside, Mark was on outside row two alongside Tony
Whittaker, with Frankie on inside 3 alongside a Tank driven by Brett Hyslop and off the
back again was Tom alongside Dave Tarrant. From the off Stuart went into the lead closely
followed by Norris, Frank had made his way through from the back into 3rd in the early
stages after spinning Whittaker out. Taylor was soon limping round with flat tyres taking
swipes at any Mustang he could get near. By lap 4 Smith was stationary on turns 3 & 4
and Frankie was left with lead closely pursued by Norris. The Brits were now starting to
get the hang of shielding the runners and Norris was held back by Harris and Taylor
allowing Frank home for the win. At the flag it was Wainman, Norris, Tarrant, Hyslop,
Harris meaning a points haul of 110 against 85 by the Mustangs.
This meant the last round in the group was crucial if Team GB was to go any further. We
had a total of 185 points and needed at least one of the teams to total less than us for
us to proceed to the second day. Fortunately the Panthers destroyed the Mustangs by 170
points to 25 meaning the Panthers had won the group on 290 points, Lions 2nd on 185 and
the Mustangs 3rd on 110.
At the end of day one the results were as follows:
Group A: Nelson Tigers 335 points, Christchurch Glen Eagles 200 points, Waikato Wanderers
Group B: Rotorua Rebels 325 points, Wanganui Warriors 220 points, Otago Cougars 10 points
Group C: Stratford Scrappers 290 points, Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes 150 points, Kihikihi Kings
Group D: Palmerston North Panthers 290 points, British Lions 185 points, Manawatu Mustangs