By Allan Powell
Speedfest 2017 wow what a meeting for the 6 classes. Considering the amount of rain 100mm on Tuesday prior to the event and basally not able to work on the track until Saturday morning. The surface developed a couple of ruts, but was still a quick track all night. Some drivers got caught out on the night especially Luke Brown in his Modified having a big rollover on turn 3 in the first heat for Modified. Only one lap record considering the meeting before was 5 lap records set. Scott Joblin 52P in the Superstocks broke the existing record held by Stan Hickey from Rotorua of 16.091 and the new lap record now is 16.022 as this was achieve in heat one.
Modified results were very mixed for the top drivers. Heat one 12S Jason Kalin took the lead and one lap 3 119H Brad Lane driving hard down the front straight outside 3NZ Jamie Fox leading into turn one when Fox made Lane stay high resulting in Lane clipping the wall and ending his race. Later in the race 89A Luke Brown had the big rollover and also 193H Syd Ferguson wrecked the front left suspension. Jason Kalin held a good lead to the finish from 1NZ Bunter Pierce and third was 78S Shaun Bloeman. Heat two was another challenging track with this time the win going to 21H Gary Parker. Heat three and feature was all go and again the money heat. Lane spun and made it back up to 4th place, Fox was right up there, but went to the infield with a few minor issues. The win went to 1NZ Bunter Pierce 2nd Shaun Sloman and 3rd 5GM Brandon Parkinson from Greymouth. The Speedfest 2017 Modified champion is Bunter Pierce.
Saloons had a great line up of 16cars with 2NZ Paddy North up from Blenheim and 3nz Steve Cowling from Tauranga, local drivers and other from throughout the North Island. Heat one didn’t start well for 166H Geoff Webb on his home track when he ran up the back of Paddy North finishing Webb`s race and 86H Stefan Roigard had a right rear flat. The race was won by 27S Joe Ingram and second to 4A Anita Sloot who was holding up the rest of the following, but cars wouldn’t go to the outside lines. Heat two was another fast race and won by Steve Cowling. Feature for Saloons had 18K Chris Taylor take the lead. Webb again hit the wall on turn 4 and out of the race. Webb did say to the announcer that had would like to thanks his crew for the long hours on the car and right up till Saturday getting the car ready for tonight`s racing. The feature was won by Chris Taylor, 2nd 7S Richard Dreaver, 3rd 49M Brodie Abrahamson and 4th Stefan Roigard. Speedfest 2017 Saloon champion was Steve Cowling.
Super Saloons had a very impressive 16 car line up with 1NZ Peter Dickson and 3NZ Shane McIntyre both making the trip north from Cromwell deep in the South. Heat one the Super Saloons were also in the wars like the Saloons in heat one with 124M Dan Corrin in the wall but continued, but also 24A Ben Harding lost left rear suspension. Heat one was won by 27M Chris Cowling from 16R Mark Osborne, 3rd 9W Mark Pitcher. Heat two was won by Dan Corrin after a big crash on turn one taking out 53M Mark Hutchins, 5B Steve Flynn and 6B Grant Flynn plus Mark Pitcher. Feature with 18M Sam Waddell lead from start to finish over 12A Kristin Vermuelen and in 3rd was Mark Hutchins. Overall Speedfest 2017 Super Saloon champion is Peter Dickson.
Superstock had an awesome field of 28 cars to thrill the huge crowd. The noise is just fantastic of those high tech V8`s. Heat one was won by 85H Jared Wade after a long battle up front with 3NZ Adam Joblin. Wade just had enough pace to keep Joblin away and in 3rd was 118R Bryce Steiner. Heat two 71H Tony Wootton had the lead in his fast Super only to be caught up by Wade coming from mid pack into the lead and Wade was again chased by another Joblin car this 52P Scott Joblin new lap record holder. Wade won the heat from Joblin then Steiner. Jared Wade said at the end of the 15lap race that he had huge break fad due to heavy braking into the corners. So after 2 heats Wade was leading on points and when it`s the feature you will be a target. 23R Lance Ashton was leading the feature till Ashton blow the right rear tyre and the same for 282S Phil Ogle. Wade was making good progress to the front only to be stopped by those Joblin brothers working as a pair, by Adam Joblin and halting Wade race for about 5 laps and out of top spot. Scott Joblin won the feature from 87B Thomas Stanaway and 3rd Wootton. Speed fest 2017 Super stock champion is Scott Joblin 2nd Thomas Stanaway 3rd overall Tony Wootton and 4th after been held up Jared Wade.
Stock cars are made to entertain and this they did. 54H Nigel Hazelton tried all night to inflict damaged on cars which he did only to not finish a race, but to Nigel great fun. Heat one after 4 laps 7H Dave Moore hit the front and till the end so one down to Dave Moore and flying the Huntly flag. Heat two was no different but this time 3NZ Josh Walsh from Stratford took the win and was now point’s leader after the 2 heats and another target. The feature with 14 cars only starting and its game on as Walsh found out after 5 laps getting stopped and again stopped and out of the points. As the laps went by it turned into a bit of a battle between Auckland and Huntly. Auckland got the better of it with 735A Keegan Orr taking the race win plus now the new Speedfest 2017 Stock Car champion. Orr said it has been a good year for him to pick up 2 Stockcar teams event plus Speedfest.
Last class on the night was the Midgets and you have to have big shoulders so you can wrestle these cars into line, but they are fast and entertaining. Heat one was fast with the high the place to be, but if you are dialed in the low line was working for 39A Peter Hunnibell taking the win from 33A James Cossey and 3rd 2NZ Brad Mosen. Heat two the track had changed for them with a couple of ruts with the win going this time to 15A Stevie Walsh. Feature time and it was all go as on lap 4 was a 5 car pileup on turn one. 5A Brock Maskovich and 91A Hayden Guptill was both out and Mosen rolled his cars onto its roof, but was allowed to restart as of no damage and the car restarted. This time Hunnibell got a good start making Mosen chase hard to get past. Mosen was losing ground running the smoother high line but couldn`t catch Hunnibell. 71A Breyton Davison was chasing Mosen but couldn`t get close enough for the pass. The new Speed fest 2017 midget champion is Peter Hunnibell and Peter mentioned that starting out in Ministocks at Huntly has really helped his racing.