THE thought of 22 900-horsepower monsters tearing up The Rock Riverside Speedway on Friday night was enough to coax out the hearty Southland petrolheads, with a good crowd rolling up in chilly, wet conditions.
Eventually when the rain settled the sun shone down on the Hydraulink War of the Wings Sprintcar Series.
It was the first time in several years that the club had hosted a field of sprintcars packed with this sort of talent.
Series leader Connor Rangi, of Nelson, did enough throughout the heat races to earn a spot on the front row of the grid for the 25-lap feature final. He was joined on the front row by Cromwell driver Mathew Anderson, who was a heat winner and looked to be the man to beat.
Defending series champion Jamie Duff, of Christchurch, qualified fastest, suffered mechanical issues throughout heat one, but made amends in heat three with a solid win putting him up the order to sixth for the final.
In the final it was Anderson who got off to a solid start, stretching the legs early only to be brought back to the pack, with local driver Daniel McKinnel spinning while making light contact with Cromwell’s Aaron Cleavland. This put Cleavland out while McKinnel rejoined the pack.
At the restart it was Rangi who got the jump, with Duff sitting on his back wheel for several laps. Duff was impressive up on the high line, at one stage looking like he would make the pass, but once again a yellow flag bought the pack back together, stopping Duff’s momentum.
The restart was once again a benefit for Rangi, who stormed off to a handy lead. Duff fought hard once again, only to be held up by lapped traffic. This handed the race win to Rangi with Duff second and Cromwell’s Daniel Anderson prevailing in a tense battle for third.
But the results were overturned by the officials, with Rangi deemed to have run over the pole line. This handed the race win to Duff, with Anderson second and Christchurch driver Allan Chapman third, while Rangi was relegated to fourth place.
The youth saloons Southland championship was also up for grabs and provided some of the best racing of the evening. Jacob McIntyre battled hard and scored a well-deserved championship win. Luke Molloy was second, while a race win elevated Anastazea Ladbrook up to third.
Modified sprints welcomed drivers from Dunedin and Christchurch, but local driver Vaughan Marshall once again showed off his freakish skills to win the feature race by a handy margin over Clayton Phillips, of Christchurch, with Michael Jackson, of Invercargill, third.