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Track: Palmerston North
Date: 5 February 2010
Event:
New Zealand Superstocks Team Champs - Qualifying
Reporting by Alan Skayman and pictures by Mike Pollard

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Palmerston North
New Zealand Superstocks Team Champs - Qualifying

5 February 2010
Reporting by Alan Skayman and pictures by Mike Pollard

Teams Champs time again and a glorious NZ day greeted the 11 teams who were scrutineered in the square in the heart of Palmerston North City. Due to there being only 11 teams and not the usual 12 a slightly different format had to be used. Each team would race twice and the points total would be added from the 2 races on the 1st day. The top 4 points scorers would got through to the 2nd day and race for the Championship. The next 4 top point’s scorers would go into a 2nd Tier and race for a highest possible position of 3rd (just as the Lions had done in 2009). With 100 points for the win, 40 for 2nd, 25 for 3rd, 20 for 4th and 10 for 5th it is vital that the Team not only gets the win but also gets as many cars across the line as possible.

Team GB, The British Lions, had a slight change to last year’s line up with Craig Finnikin replacing Mark Taylor and Daniel Wainman coming in as the 6th man. So Mick Harris was in 00GB, Frankie Wainman jnr in 01GB, Tom Harris in 02GB, Stuart Smith jnr in 03GB and Craig Finnikin as 04GB, with ex Wellington Wildcat and Teams racing legend Tony Maclanachan taking the reigns as Manager.

On arrival at the track Team GB were already having dramas with problem with the 03, Stuarts, car. A decision was made to swap cars which meant Stuart going into the Mick Harris car and Mick going into the new Palmy Track Car. So now 2 of the Team were in cars they had never driven before!

In a packed stadium of around 16-17000 people (every UK promoters dream) there were numerous flags and people sporting the red, white and blue of the British Lions. The Lions first race was race 4 and they were up against the Auckland All-stars and after the 4 laps practice the Teams took their positions on the grid. Craig took pole with 8A Bryce Marx on his outside, in row 2 it was Trevor Mason 4A with Frankie on his outside. Inside row 3 was Stuart with Keven Roberts in the Tank on his outside. This left Tom on the outside of row 4 alongside 6A Daryl Hammond. Mick Harris sitting this one out as the reserve. From the start it was plain to see that Craig and Frankie were the "runners" with Tom and Stuart as "blockmen". Craig was into the lead with Frankie removing the 4A car and then spinning Roberts and himself onto the infield. Craig was then spun whilst attempting to pass one of the Auckland cars and the reds came out to halt proceedings. This left Frankie in the lead despite being positioned on the infield facing the wrong direction! On the restart Tom was blocking the 8A car whilst Stuart was under attack from Daryl Hammond resulting in a puncture for the 03GB car and the car ended up immobile on turns 3 & 4. Craig crossed the line for the win after Frankie had held Roberts to allow him through. This left Frankie in 2nd with Roberts 3rd and Tom in 4th who then cleverly collected the immobile car of Stuart and pushed him across the line to take the 5th spot and ensure all cars scored points. This gave the Lions a healthy total of 170 points and left them in 2nd place on points after round 1 of the races.

Race 2 was against the new look Manawatu Mustangs which included the 2 Joblin brothers of which Scott Joblin had recently won the World 240 at Rotorua and the 248 Global Challenge at Palmy on consecutive weekends and were acknowledged to have 2 of the fastest cars in New Zealand. The Mustangs had drawn pole for this one with 52p Scott Joblin taking his position with Craig on his outside, Frankie was inside row 2 alongside the Tank of Brett Hyslop 9p. Row 3 consisted of 77p Chucky Norris and Tom with a first time Teams start for Mick Harris on row 4 alongside Simon Joblin 72p. Stuart was sitting this on due to damage incurred in Race 1. From the green 52p went into the lead chased by Craig. The rest of the grid had hardly moved with Frankie turning right on the Hyslop tank holding him against the wall with the rest of the cars holding position behind. As they started to move it was 52p from 04GB and 01GB. Tom put Simon Joblin into a spin whilst Frankie attacked the Hyslop tank leaving it parked on the edge of the track. 52p was flying at the front with Craig still chasing hard, Tom had a dive for the leading car missing by inches. Mick was keeping the other Joblin car busy blocking him for a whole lap. Frank and Tom then had a combined attack on the 72p car this then combined to slow the lead car down who was struggling to find a safe way past allowing Craig to gain on the 52p car. Just as he almost caught up Scott Joblin was away again. The reds came out with 72p holding Frankie hard against the wall just out of Turn 2. On the restart Frankie hit reverse and then drove up the inside of Joblin and away. With one lap to go the Mustangs were still holding 1st place and it was beginning to look as thought Tier 2 awaited for day 2, when Mick connected with the 52p car causing it to wobble and allowed Frankie to get the hit on him to spin him allowing Craig through for a dramatic last lap win. The final result was Craig from Scott Joblin followed by Frankie, Mick and Simon Joblin. The job was completed and at the end of round 2 the points scores were Nelson 1st on 345 points, Team GB 2nd on 315 points, reigning champions for the past 4 years the Panthers were 3rd on 270 points with Waikato 4th on 230 points. This meant Nelson would take on the Panthers and the British Lions would face Waikato in their respective Semi Finals.



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