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Rotorua - Saturday 15 January 2005
World Invitation Stockcar Champs - Finals

Report and pictures by Mike Pollard

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Rotorua - Saturday 15 January 2005
World Invitation Stockcar Champs - Finals

Report and pictures by Mike Pollard

After 18 years at Palmerston North (is it really that long ago since Elwell won the inaugural event?), the World 240 Champs moves to Rotorua for 2005.

With an innovative approach to sponsorship, the Rotorua promotion gained support from over 50 local businesses, each chipping in to the pot, with a raffle to decide who would have naming rights.

So welcome to the Colin Hardie Volkswagen Spares and Services World Invitation Stockcar Champs (under 248.5 cu in) 2005.

First race on the bill was a Repecharge (highest point scoring non-qualifiers at the front) to decide the final 3 drivers who would join the 18 qualifiers and 5 seeded overseas drivers, namely; #425GB Richard Baldwin, #338UK Chris Brocksopp, #434GB Ivan Pritchard and #55R Frankie Wainman Junior representing the UK, together with #43AUS Dean Hawkins representing Australia.

Then the usual 3 heat rotating grid format to decide the champion.

Prior to the racing, the crowd was treated to a session of marching. no, not baton twirling or a marching band, just marching! ... its a Kiwi thing!

Repecharge
#58P Peter Bengston and #28H Glenn Drabble made up the front row. However, it was #46P Kelvin Gray who was 1st to make the break before spinning out on the wet track, leaving #73A Bryce Marks in the lead before he did the exact same thing and spun unaided. this left #87K Ryan Johnson in the lead, who was at the front for 4 laps before picking up 2 x flat tyres which allowed the recovered Kelvin Gray to take up the running again, and despite picking up a flat tyre of his own, he managed to hang on for the win, followed home by Bengston and #181M Les Meszaros who also qualified, with the unlucky loser being #28H Glenn Drabble in 4th who failed to qualify.

Heat 1
The cars came out on track in grid order with the drivers standing on the nerf bars being introduced to the crowd. After the cars lined up, the tension was increased as #72S Simon Joblin took the 3 minute bell to fix an electrical problem.

NZ champion #1NZ was on pole and led at the off for just 2 laps before being overtaken by #3NZ Brendon Rowlands who had also started on the front row. Mid-way through the race the red lights came on for a flying wheel which had become detached from the car of the pre-meeting favorite; #62M Neville Stanaway. On the restart, the track lights, instead of going from red to green went from red to flashing yellow, causing complete chaos as half the field started racing and half stayed motionless. I expected the reds to come on again, but instead it went green and we were now all away! Pritchard soon retired to the infield in a cloud of terminal looking smoke, but turned out to be a sump hose that had come adrift. Frankie Wainman Jnr worked his way up to second despite the attentions of #515R Stan Hickey. 3rd place finisher was #337R Darcy Hunter who had worked his way through the grid. Brocksopp finished in 13th place and Baldwin in 18th. the Aussie Hawkins lasted all of a lap, finishing in the wall from where he was not to return! Luckily the restart cock-up didnt have too much of an effect on the results, with the official responsible apologising to the crowd later in the meeting!

Heat 2
#77B Shane Penn led for a lap before #196N Keith McCabe barged his way in front. Meanwhile Wainman was working his way through the field and was up to 3rd before being walled by #59P Peter Bengston which saw Wainman drop back to seventh. Penn's car broke a shock and dug in on turn 3, rolling over and bringing out the reds. On the restart Hunter charged to the front and stayed there followed home by Hickey and #18H Bryce Steiner.

The points were totalled which saw hunter leading by 2 points from Hickey with Wainman a further 2 points behind in 3rd.

Heat 3
Although the race had plenty of incidents, it was not all out carnage as is quite often the norm in the last race of a championship meeting.

#72S Simon Joblin led for 3 laps before being passed by an extremely quick looking Hickey. The red lights came on for another flying wheel, this time off the ... er Stanaway car again! On the restart Hickey was on target for the World Championship until walled in the gloom by I think Bengston. This left Joblin back in front chased by Hunter. with a half lap to go, the reds came on again when #81 Geoff James rolled #3NZ Brendon Rowlands. Too late to change anything except Wainman managed to spin James on the restart. Joblin took the chequered followed by Hunter who took the 240 World Championship, with #135 Scott Hewson taking 3rd.

The points were tallied which showed:
1st #337R Darcy Hunter 75 points
2nd #515R Stan Hickey 69 points
3rd # 55R Frankie Wainman Jnr 68 points
...............................................
? #338UK Chris Brocksopp 38 points
? #425GB Richard Baldwin 30 points
? #434GB Ivan Pritchard 15 points

Heat 1
1.#3NZ Brendon Rowlands 2.#55R Frankie Wainman Jnr 3.#337R Darcy Hunter 4.#515R Stan Hickey 5.#72S Simon Joblin 6.#4R Neil McCoard

Heat 2
1.#337R 2.#515R 3.#18H Bryce Steiner 4.#1NZ Bryce Penn 5.#62M Neville Stanaway 6.#55R

Heat 3
1.#72S 2.#337R 3.#135R Scott Hewson 4.#82S Dave Tennant 5.#55R 6.#515R

Consolation Group

Heat 1
1.#28H Glen Drabble, 2.#86H, 3.#87K, 4.#2NZ, 5.#31B, 6.#22R

Heat 2
1.#86H Kris Allan, 2.#28H, 3.#31B, 4.#38M, 5.#52R, 6.#73A

Heat 3
1.#28H Glen Drabble, 2.#338UK, 3.#2NZ, 4.#38M, 5.#73A, 6.#22R

Cars racing
Superstox 40
Std Stox 27
Modifieds 23
Minisprints 15



... and to finish off Paul Hickey's report from the 240's

The 19th running of the WORLD INVITATION STOCKCAR CHAMPIONSHIPS was held in Rotorua, New Zealand on Saturday night. The event which has included British drivers every year since it's inception has previously been based in
Palmerston North, but is now hosted by The Rotorua Stockcar Club at their Paradise Valley Raceway circuit.

The 2005 event included 4 UK based drivers in the field. 338 Chris Brocksopp, 434 Ivan Pritchard, 55 Frankie Wainman Jr and 425 Richard Baldwin.

All overseas driver from the UK and Australia were automnatically seeded through to the finals. The 3-race series saw plenty of huge hits and blocking manouvres, with the UK drivers involved.

Wainman, who has won this event twice, showed his class again with top-6 placings in all three races, and finished on the podium, with third overall in the championships. Brocksopp had problems in the second heat, but managed 13th overall. Baldwin was a few places behind after finishing all three races, in the mid teens, and while Pritchard showed good pace, he had some engine problems, only managing to finish one race of the three.

Overall winner was DARCY HUNTER from Rotorua, with STAN HICKEY finishing second for the second year in a row, and of course FRANKIE WAINMAN JR third.

The Inaugural World Invitation Stockcar Championships were won by Chris Elwell in 1987, while John Lund finished second equal the following year. Since that time, Frankie Wainman Junior has been the only UK driver to
feature on the podium, winning in 1997 and 2000, plus third in 2003 and now 2005.



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