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Track: Palmerston North
Date: 17 October 2009
Event: Grand Opening 2009/10
Reporting and pictures by Mike Pollard

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Palmerston North
Grand Opening 2009/10
17 October 2009
Reporting and pictures by Mike Pollard

The honour of staging the first meeting down under, once again fell to Palmerston, but with torrential rain the previous day, I was somewhat surprised to see the meeting go ahead. However, the promotion had done a wonderful job with the track, and after a couple of races that removed the loose stuff, we were left with a track which was about as good as it gets. So much so that Sprintcar driver #15p Rob Garratt was less than 12 hundreths of a second away from the all-time lap record held by the current world number 1 Sprintcar driver; America's Joey Saldana.

Lots of new cars and drivers on show, with perhaps none "newer" than the latest in the Miers dynasty; 12 year old aaha, who took to the track for the first time. Saasha was getting a feel for the car, and in typical Miers fashion was soon using the wall to scrub off speed, rather than use her left foot, which eventually proved too much for the steering which soon became unable to turn left. Again in Miers fashion, this seemed not to deter young Saasha who needed the red lights to enable an extraction from the wall.

The biggest interest the pits surrounded the new tockcar from "Hardman" #3nz Peter Rees who had built himself a "hardcar"; a tank, one of only 11 x cars built by Rees over the close season! #3nz Rees seemed to be taking it easy in heat1, but it was soon revealed that the car had a flat tyre, pulling off after just 1 x lap.Heat 2 was a different story, with Rees showing why he is one of New Zealand's most feared drivers. rather than tap or nudge his way through; Rees simply despatched every car he came across into the wall with immense force. one such victim was #32p George Frear, who recovered and set off in hot pursuit of Mr Rees. With the rear wheel guard rubbing against the tyre, #3nz Rees had slowed just marginally enough for frear to get on his inside nerf-rail and send Rees careering into the wall and onto his roof, to a huge roar from the crowd. It was only a matter of time before someone nailed Rees's new tank, but not many expected it on the first night and even fewer expected it to be George Frear!

In the feature Rees drove a more polished race, taking what will surely be the first of many chequereds for the #3nz tank

Superstocks

With his engine underoing a rebuild, #64p Kev Smith was out in the #32p Graham Barr car, and using it to good effect in heat 1, taking an early lead from #515r Stan Hickey and #42p Robin Devonport. his lead reduced under reds when a stoppage was required for #8b Paul Demanser who found himself in the wall. on the green Smiths' lead dissapeared completely after pushing too hard and losing time on the marbles, allowing Hickey to storm through for an impressive win ahead of Devonport, Smith finishing in 3rd spot. However, #32p Smith had shown a glimpse of things to come by setting the fastest lap of the race.

Heat 2 started in the same vein as the first, with #32p Smith and #515r Hickey challenging for the lead. It wasn't long before the reds came on the first time, with debutant #74p Mike McCready unable to get away from the start line. Almost immediately after the re-start they were on again, as #7b Shane Mellsop was rolled by #10p Peter Rees who was once again in attack mode, and looking for retribution following his inversion by Frear in the previous stockcar race. The reds came out for the third and final time when #22b Tony Meehan was clipped whilst stranded. At the sharp end Hickey scored again, winning a close fought race just ahead of #24p
Russell Harrop and Kev Smith.

In the feature #32p Smith was quick away, and looked to be extending his lead over #24p Russell Harrop and #43p Darryl Hammond until the reds were required for #42p Robin Devonport. On the re-start things became a whole lot closer with Smith just managing to stay ahead of Harrop. Entering the last lap the two leaders came across a gaggle of backmarkers, and on previous occasions Smith had lost out by hesitating under such circumstances. Not so this time, however, as Smith launched #515r Stan Hickey up the wall and held off Harrop to take a well deserved final victory.



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