By Allan Powell
The North Island tracks have been getting a bit of a hammering with unpredictable weather laterly. Huntly and Te Rapa PlaceMakers Speedway had the previous weekend for the North Island Stockcar championship rained out.
On Saturday night for the first time in years the Sidecars were back at Huntly for their Waikato Sidecar championship meeting. A great lineup of sidecars were present with talented drivers and swingers coming from Palmerston North, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Auckland and Kihikihi. 1NZ Russell Stewart and Andy Parker up from Palmerston North. Each group of 5 riders had 3 rounds before the finals. The track was a bit bumpy at the start, but as the night progressed the track started to smooth out. A crash in group 2 caused a bit of a delay but the great infield staff had it all sorted. As the heats and the 3 rounds were completed the final 5 sidecars were, 1NZ Russell Stewart / Andy Parker, 8G Rod Miller / Red George, 4K Chuck Gannon / Shiloh Bowen, 43A Kerry Hamill / Jamie Duff and 27A Dylan Moohan / Tyler Berger.
At the start 8G took the lead on lap one but was passed by 1NZ around the outside on turn 2 as the sidecars go the opposite way to all other speedway cars and this would of been turn 3. 1NZ and 8G had a big tussle to the finish of 4 laps with the win going to Stewart and Parker over Miller and George and 3rd Moohan and Berger. The victorious Stewart and Parker taking the Ruksak racing 2018 Waikato Sidecar championship. Rod Miller was the previous Waikato champ a few years ago. Special thanks must go to all the sidecar sponsors Total Flooring, Insteel Ltd, Dugong Fishing, Bagshaw racing and Ruksak racing.
Second event on the night was the Waikato Saloon Championship with 18 cars split into 2 groups. Heat winners were 95H Ryan Johnson, 76G Etham Cook, 77G Daniel Cook and 89H Cam Roigard. After the 2 heats per group it was now down to the 20 lap final. Cam Roigard and Ethan Cook were on the front row.Roigard briefly took the lead from Cook only for Cook to retake the lead.166H Geoff Webb started further back and was making progress forward. As the laps went down Cook still was leading and held the lead to the finish. Your new 2018 Waikato Saloon champion is Etham Cook, 2nd Cam Roigard, 3rd Geoff Webb, 4th Stefan Roigard, 5th Ryan Johnson.
Third championship on the night was the Waikato Production Saloon championship over 3 heats. 13 cars had entered the Production Saloon champs and had come from Huntly, Rotorua, and Wanganui. All 3 heats were won by 14H Wayne Warrender. The final heat would determine the top 3 placings. Warrender had a good lead on points but was starting further down the grid. Out front and second on points was new driver 6H Vaughan Glidden form Huntly with Glidden leading 82H Chantelle Huisman and 11H Anne Maree Warrender until Warrender hit the wall in turn 3 but continued on in the race. Wayne Warrender had now caught up to the leaders and passed Glidden with a tight door rubbing move on the inside with 2 laps to go. Warrender held the lead to the finish from Glidden from 3rd 63H Dave Pilkington and 4th Anne Maree Warrender.
Next meeting at Huntly and Te Rapa Placemakers Speedway will be on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March for the North Island Saloon championship. Added to this meeting on the Saturday will be the Oval Superstars series for Mini Sprints. Another full meeting at Huntly. Check Huntly Speedway`s website for more information on all events till the season finishing in April.