”RACING” Ray Stewart, of Cromwell, left The Rock Riverside Speedway crowned as the new Southland super saloons champion, and earned himself a tidy pay packet for his efforts.
Cando Fishing, Dixon Transport and Cleanways 2003 Ltd all chimed in and placed a $10,000 prize pool up for grabs for the championship, which attracted some of super saloons’ big names to travel south.
Pre-race favourite Richie Taylor, of Christchurch, didn’t waste any time making his intentions felt with a commanding heat one win.
He had been pushed hard in race one by Craig Phillips before the local driver spun, causing a six-car pile-up, thankfully without major damage to anyone.
At the restart, Taylor drove off to win comfortably from Invercargill’s Campbell McManaway and Cromwell’s Daryl Ainsley.
Ainsley got off to a great start in race two, only for mechanical issues to finish his day, which handed the lead to Ricky Boulton, of Dunedin, who headed off a fast-finishing Stewart (second) and Taylor (third).
This gave Taylor pole position for the feature final, with the winner of this race to be crowned Southland champion.
As the race went green, it was Stewart who got the jump and he led into turn one. He and Taylor pulled away from the pack, with Boulton settling into third.
Taylor tried multiple moves to sneak past Stewart, but the man from Cromwell held his nerve and opened a gap which he held to the end of the feature to claim the Southland championship.
Taylor was second with Boulton third. Phillips was the first of the locals home, with the crowd pumped by the display put on by the high horsepower methanol monsters.
It was one-way traffic in the Southland stockcar championship, with Peter Knight untouched and winning three from three races to claim the crown.
Glen Fraser was second overall, with Chris Kergozou, on debut in the grade, third.
Other race winners for the weekend were Dylan Mountney, who took two wins, and Tam Clements, one, in production saloons; Hayden Graves, Jacob McIntyre and Corban Reed picked up wins in youth saloons, the latter celebrating his first win; while race wins in streetstocks went to Steve Dryden (two) and Dan Black (one).