Mayhem reigns at season finale

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Ivan Murdoch (7) and Graham Williamson (21) dominate the Southern Saloon Series final last Saturday. Photo: Corbyn Shuttleworth

THE Rock FM Riverside Speedway hosted a packed house of speedway fans on Saturday night to sign off another season of action.

The meeting was the final round of the Southern Saloon Series, an event made up of three rounds at Dunedin, Cromwell and Invercargill.

Going into the event, Dunedin’s Terry Soper held a handy points advantage over Cromwell driver Graham Williamson. Soper only needed consistent finishes to clinch the title, but an eventful evening unfolded, turning the series on its head.

Soper started from the rear of the field in race one, but managed to get up to sixth place. Williamson secured second ahead of Cromwell’s Ivan Murdoch and Invercargill’s Dean Shearing.

Race two started with two false starts. Soper was deemed to have jumped both, so he was relegated to the rear of the field. Once the race started, Matt Greene, of Dunedin, made solid contact with the wall, tipping him over and causing yet another restart. This time Soper made a play from the rear of the field only to clip the wall on the main straight and perform a solid rollover, putting an end to his hopes of a series win. The race was then aborted to allow drivers to regroup.

In the rerun of race two, Cromwell’s Mike Verdoner received a black flag, sending him to the infield after hitting Williamson under caution. This issue would resurface in the final race of the day. Williamson managed to thread his way to the front of the pack to grab a race win over Murdoch and Dan Black, of Invercargill.

In the final, Murdoch got a jump at the start and was never tested throughout the race. The eventual round winner drove a faultless race to the chequered flag, with all the action behind him as Verdoner and Williamson battled for second, Verdoner putting a number of hits on Williamson before Williamson let him past to avoid any further incidents.

Third was enough for Williamson to claim the series, with Soper second and Shearing third.

Club legend Steve Dryden won the Demolition Derby with a record 78 cars entered.

Dryden battled it out with youth saloon driver Anastezea Ladbrook as the last two cars running. Dryden claimed victory when Ladbrook’s car died. Ladbrook was awarded the stirrer’s prize, along with Tam Clements, while Red Band Racing won best team.

The Riverside Ratbag Streetstock team of Troy Dryden, Mark Henderson, Chris Kergozou and Dillon McHattie won the street stocks teams battle, while Logan McNamara took the first Ronnie Tree Memorial Trophy in stockcars.

Teenager Jacob Garrick claimed his first race win in stockcars in his maiden season.

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