A few hardy souls embraced the stiff westerly wind on the embankment while a large crowd filled the grandstand sheltered from the blustery conditions for Saturday nights Manawatu Standard Fireworks Spectacular, Ray Tarrant Memorial Sidecar Trophy and Manawatu Stockcar Champs (Covid delayed 2019 edition) at Robertson Holden International Speedway.
Large fields in all classes provided plenty of close racing with many of the ensuing battles resulting in a number of fence posts being taken out by Stockcars.
A huge field of 53 Stockcars entered the Manawatu Champs which required 2 groups of qualifying with eventual Championship winner 722p David Lowe taking out the first heat in great style. David also raced his Superstock on Saturday night. Stratford visitor 2nz Tyler Walker took out the second heat and got a great ovation from the crowd, Walker came under the radar of another race winner 15p Luke Miers later in the evening which pretty much ended Walker's shot at the title. Defending Champion 82p Roydon Winstanley was expertly punted into the wall by 172p Daniel Burmeister ending his hopes too.
Other Stockcar competitors who impressed this writer were 29p Stu Rackham who drove from 15th to 5th in one race, 72p Tony Norman, and 48p James Hickford who on the final Stockcar race with a quality field, his first win. A milestone for any competitor.
Sidecars again proved why they are so popular with local spectators with some thrilling battles taking place especially the high-speed dicing for the lead involving the machines of 8p Rob Miller, 17p Tony Hislop and 97p Mike Zachan on the bars.
Mike Zachan and Ben Franklin won the Ray Rarrant Memorial Sidecar Trophy on a great track.
The large field of 16 Saloons helped lay down the good surface for the Sidecars and also provided fantastic entertainment. Competitors who impressed were race winners 124p Danielle Halcrow who fought off a fast-finishing 27p Josh Smith who came from deep in the pack to take the first win, and 39p Ashley O'Dowd who led much of the big field for most of the second race in his Mustang that was built by the late Steve Templeton. 7b Shane Laking took the win in the final laps with Smith again prominent.
Another huge field of Adult Ministocks showed that there is a class, and a level for everybody in speedway. 882p Kallum Puklowski has his car hooking up and is set for a good season by the looks.
9p Brett Hislop unveiled his new car with another big field of Superstocks, the Joblin brothers 3nz Scott and 72p Simon both recorded wins. 58p Peter Bengston looked like featuring but was taken out in front of the Grandstand which provided shelter for the spectacular Manawatu Standard fireworks display that dazzled fans young and old.
Group One – Heat One: 722p David Lowe, 18p Luke Healey, 91s Kyle Wilson, 96w Brad McGee, 595p Mike Hogg, 173p Greg Eden – Fastest Lap: 722p – 21.9925
Group Two – Heat One: 2nzs Tyler Walker, 172p Daniel Burmeister, 9s Sheldon Arapere, 72p Tony Norman, 43p Quentin Hammond, 278p Kyle Taylor – Fastest Lap: 15p – 20.0285
Group One – Heat Two: 96w, 18p, 34p Rob Mason, 26v Kaelin Mooney, 97p Byron Rowlands, 722p – Fastest Lap: 669p – 19.3366
b 15p Luke Miers, 76p Cameron Renwick, 82p Roydon Winstanley, 278p, 135p Jaden Hall, 172p – Fastest Lap: 15p – 19.3869
Repechage: 72p, 177p Jamie Tinetti, 39p Graeme Munn, 173p, 10p Nathan Rees, 11p Brendon Rees – Fastest Lap: 72p – 20.0524
Final One: 172p, 278p, 722p, 96w, 669p Brendon Tye, 29p Stu Rackham – Fastest Lap: 29p – 19.4944
Final Two: 722p, 26v, 29p, 278p, 96w, 76p – Fastest Lap: 15p – 19.4482
Final Three: 48p James Hickford, 29p, 722p, 76p, 669p, 172p
Heat One: 97p Mike Zachan & Ben Franklin, 96p Mark Whye & Jacob Cooper, 5p Kieran Payne & Mikey O'Neill, 27b Craig Boaler & Ann Plummer, 33a Lance Beets & Willow Beets
Heat Two: 21p Glen Murray & Emma Murray, 26b Justin Lincoln & Nic Olsen, 17p Tony Hislop & Aidan Foothead, 32p Sam Carter & Haydn Combs
Heat Three: 27b, 8p Rob Miller & Dean Harding, 17p, 33a
Heat Four: 97p, 5p, 96p, 26b, 21p
Heat Five: 97p, 21p, 27b, 5p
Heat Six: 8p, 96p, 17p, 26b, 32p
Run-Off: 5p, 17p, 8p
Final: 97p, 21p, 5p, 96p, 27b
Race One: 22w Richard Gaskin, 58p Peter Bengston, 95p Clive Elliot, 38p Zane Dykstra, 722p David Lowe, 661p Todd O’Donnell – Fastest Lap: 22w – 18.3309
Race Two: 3nzp Scott Joblin, 72p Simon Joblin, 21p Cody Hodge, 54p Bevan Humphrey, 58p, 7w Shane Davis – Fastest Lap: 9p – 18.5597
Feature: 72p, 7w, 38p, 21p, 3nzp, 661p – Fastest Lap: 9p – 18.5849
Race One: 242p Ashleigh Halcrow, 27p Josh Smith, 146a Paul Wright, 34w Amy Eckersley, 124p Danielle Halcrow, 9w Craig Burton – Fastest Lap: 27p – 17.6678
Race Two: 7b Shane Laking, 39p Ashley O’Dowd, 27p, 81m Dan Hickman, 146a, 57p Ben Honore – Fastest Lap: 27p – 17.9757
Race One: 39s Nathan Nolly, 7p Floyd Fenn, 28p Phil Pirie, 26p Aaron Sowry, 6s Gary Adamson, 32s Liam Whelan – Fastest Lap: 92v – 20.5120
Race Two: 32s, 77s Craig Mason, 55p Keegan Riddiford, 92v Jemma Barnes, 157p Jack Lammas-Martin, 29p Steven Sowry
Feature: 39s, 32s, 6s, 55p, 7p, 157p – Fastest Lap: 157p – 20.2821