THERE were emotional scenes at X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway on Saturday as the club held the inaugural Scott Gordon Memorial for six shooters.
The class was capped at 21 cars and the final race to decide the championship was 21 laps, with 21 the number Gordon had on his race car for many years.
Drivers from Invercargill, Cromwell and Dunedin were quick to grab a spot at the meet.
With the Gordon family trackside, and daughters Emma and Georgia competing, it was going to be a meeting to remember.
Early pace was set by Southland champion Ben Smart, of Cromwell, who won race one ahead of Riverside’s Jacob McIntyre, with Cromwell’s Adam Evans third.
However, McIntyre would turn the tables in race two, taking a hard-fought win on a track which was difficult due to overnight rain. Smart was second, ahead of Shanarroh Stronach, of Cromwell.
The third race added to the points to determine who would start from where in the grid for the winner-takes-all final.
This time, Riverside’s Jack Cleveland upstaged the opposition to claim a hard-fought win ahead of Stronach in second and McIntyre third.
This saw McIntyre and Smart share the front row of the grid for the feature race.
McIntyre pulled over with mechanical issues before the race started, which looked to end his chances despite joining the grid for the race start.
When the green flag dropped, Smart raced off early to a big lead, while McIntyre fought off challenges from Stronach.
As the race rolled out, Smart got trapped behind lapped traffic, which allowed McIntyre to eventually take the lead with only a couple of laps remaining.
This brought the crowd to its feet as McIntyre claimed an emotional win in the Scott Gordon Memorial ahead of Smart and Stronach.
Production saloons and youth saloons were on the programme for the running of the Southland champs, but track conditions meant they were scratched.
Even with the scratchings, there were plenty of races for the crowd.
Saloons were raced for the Southland Championship and there was always going to be one guy to beat, the 2NZ from Cromwell, George Phillips.
Despite Phillips coming under immense pressure from lips, he was a class above on track, winning the final to be crowned Southland champion.
Riverside pairing Graham Williamson and Mark Dobson finished strongly in the final to place second and third respectively.
Cromwell’s Sam O’Callaghan was the first man to etch his name on the Stag Cup for sprintcars.
O’Callaghan, racing in both sprintcars and six shooters, could only manage second in race one behind clubmate Daniel Anderson, but a win in race two and the feature gave him overall honours.
Anderson claimed second, ahead of fellow Cromwell driver Matt Anderson.
Modified sprints got two races in and it was wins to Jayden Fraser and Vaughan Marshall, while Zac Newsham impressed with a second and third in both races.
Stockcars also managed two races.
Brad McKee, of Cromwell, took out race one, while Cody Duggan, of Riverside, claimed race two.
The stockcars will be one of the showcase grades on track at the next two meetings, with the Southland Stockcar Champs and the Ronnie Tree Memorial.
The final grade was streetstocks, a small but entertaining field which had the Dash For Cash on offer.
Riverside’s Craig Elmers nipped at the heels of Steve Dryden all afternoon, menacing Dryden’s every mood and entertaining the crowd to ensure the veteran wasn’t going to claim the top spot.
It was still a Dryden on the top of the podium though, with Troy Dryden beating Dillon MaChattie, and Steve Dryden third.