TWO Southland championships were on the line at The Rock FM Riverside Speedway on Saturday night.
There was a strong field for streetstocks, with several Dunedin cars making the trip south to chase the silverware, with reigning champion Arnie Tuhura not on hand to defend his title,
After two heat races it was a three-way battle, with Mark Henderson just one point ahead of Andrew Watson and Dunedin’s Mark Hoatten a further four points back.
Henderson started mid pack, but by turn one had moved up to third and picked off the leaders to be head of the pack. Watson, meanwhile, was buried back in fifth and got attacked by Graeme McKernan, causing a spin which ultimately cost him any chance of claiming the championship. This spin put Watson well down the order, allowing Hoatten to move up the order and slip into second.
Henderson drove off to win the championship with ease, with Hoatten second and Watson third.
Lloyd Phillips had won the saloons championship for three years running. Now racing in super saloons, he decided to get back in his saloon and attempt four in a row.
Cromwell drivers Craig Davies and Ivan Murdoch both won heats, while Phillips won heat two.
Terry Soper, of Dunedin, was consistent with two seconds and a third placing, putting him and Phillips equal first at the conclusion of the event.
A possible start line infringement, which would have handed the championship to Soper was investigated, but Phillips was found not to have done any wrong and this led to a two-car run-off for first and second, with Murdoch having already claimed third.
In the run-off, Phillips held an advantage but Soper looked likely to take the lead before both cars made contact, causing Soper to spin.
The run-off was restarted and Phillips once again took an early lead. Soper threw everything at Phillips, but spun with a lap to run, handing the title to Phillips.
It was a special moment for Phillips, with the death of his father Ray just a week earlier giving him plenty of incentive to chase the win.
Production saloons competed in a blind best pairs championship, with Daniel Rolton and Tam Clements taking victory.
The club only has a week to regroup with a big Sunday coming up.
Super saloons from throughout the South Island will converge on Invercargill to compete for the Southland super saloon championship. The rerunning of the Southland modified sprints will also feature on the action-packed programme, which starts at 2pm.