X FACTOR Cars Riverside Speedway finished the year the way it started, with a big crowd of race fans and action aplenty on track.
The annual Christmas Trophy was on the line across all grades and, with the addition of several drivers representing Dunedin and Cromwell, it made for an exciting night of racing.
Jacob McIntyre was hungry for victory in Youth Saloons. The reigning Southland Champion was competing in his last meeting in the grade before heading to the Six Shooters ranks next year.
However, losing a wheel in race two put paid to any chance of that happening.
McIntyre showed his class in race three, by returning to the track to put in a commanding victory, bringing the crowd to their feet.
It could be said that McIntyre passed his legacy onto Harrison Brown, who claimed wins in races one and two, and was third in race three.
It saw the youngster crowned as the Christmas champ, followed by an ever-improving Josh Livingston, which left McIntyre holding the trophy for third.
The Streetstocks action was controversial with the final coming down to three drivers: Dan Black, Chris Kergozou and Jesse Hamilton.
Black had a slender points lead heading into the final race but an early spin put him well down the order.
Kergozou and Hamilton chased each other hard. Kergozou needed to finish ahead of Hamilton and have a few cars between himself and Black to win the title, but Hamilton was too fast, claiming the race win.
Black had also done enough to climb up to third and take the title. This sent Kergozou and Hamilton into a battle for second and third. Kergozou put Hamilton to task, putting two solid hits on him which brought a big cheer from the crowd.
Kergozou took the win only to have the result reversed by the officials for a deemed illegal hit.
It was all one-way traffic in Production Saloons with Tony Jones moving his win tally to six in a row, including three at this meeting. He bagged the Christmas Championship with ease. Jones has been unstoppable so far this season and with the South Island Championship just a few months away he will be eager to continue the form.
Cromwell’s Geoff Friend settled for a solid second placing, while Steven Nicholas upstaged more experienced drives to grab the third placed trophy.
Six Shooters once again turned on some of the closest racing of the evening. Youngster Jack Cleveland demolished the opposition in race one, almost putting a full lap on his competitors.
Unfortunately his night would turn sour with mechanical woes forcing him out of race three.
Both Jack Brown and Finn Cleveland failed to finish race one but made amends in races two and three.
Cleveland snatched enough points to win the championship from Brown, while “Miss consistent” Emma Gordon was rewarded with third overall.
Modified Sprints turned on some of the best racing seen at X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway in this grade.
Vaughan Marshall demolished the competition in race one but race two saw Marshall involved in a four-way battle with Dunedin’s Brent Hayston and Riverside pairing Darcy Hewitt and Kyle Hyde.
All four swapped placings before Marshall hit the wall, putting his car on its roof, ending his title hopes.
Hyde and Hewitt would go on to win the next two races giving Hyde his second major piece of silverware for the season. Hewitt claimed second while Hayston took third.
The Saloon class was another level again, with several drivers who competed in the recent Holden Trade Club Saloon Speedweek really showing off the skills they had learned on tour.
The three drivers in this class who were in that series filled the podium.
Cromwell’s Graham Williamson followed on his red hot form with a race win in race one, and solid placings giving him the Christmas title.
Dean Shearing also grabbed a win but didn’t bag enough points in race one and three to snatch the win, settling for second overall, while Jeff Richardson’s win in race three ensured he would take third place.
Notable mentions also for Scott Williamson, Mark Dobson and Dunedin’s Blayr Findlay all took placings in the heats in a very competitive field.
Dunedin’s Owen Dixon and Invercargill’s Grant Molloy took a win apiece each in Super Saloons going into the final.
Molloy had advantage for a number of laps before Dixon unsettled him to slip past and clinch the title.
Barry Redpath took the race win earning him enough points to finish tied on second with Molloy.
A coin toss rather than a run-off would determine the final result, Redpath having the coin fall in his favour.
The final class running was Stockcars where Dunedin’s Peter Knight won three from three to ensure overall victory from fellow Dunedin driver Wade Crawford.
Riverside driver Jacob Garrick turned his season of mechanical issues around with a solid third overall.
The club now takes a well-deserved break before being back on track again mid-January.