THE biggest fireworks display seen in Southland was just the cherry on top of what was an extraordinary meeting for The Rock Riverside Speedway.
The club hosted the Cecile Kergozou Memorial for streetstocks, Brett Cooper Memorial for modified sprints, Rod McLaren Memorial for saloons and the Southland championship for production saloons at the weekend.
The streetstocks turned on a brutal display of racing.
Andrew Watson, of Invercargill, kept his nose clean and banked solid results throughout the night to win the title comfortably. It was fitting that the car he won in was once campaigned by Cecile Kergozou’s son Joel. Second and third places came down to a run-off, in which Graeme McKernan fought off the experienced Steve Dryden to secure second place.
Modified sprints was full of controversy with Luke Shearing collecting the chequered flag only to be relegated to third place after being found to have passed under the pole line. This elevated Vaughan Marshall to the top spot on the podium to collect the Brett Cooper Memorial for the first time. Scott Williamson was elevated from third to second.
The Rod McLaren Memorial for saloons was hotly contested with a big field of cars on track. Last year’s winner Graham Williamson, of Cromwell, secured enough points throughout the heats to make the front row of the grid alongside Dunedin’s Mike Verdoner, who had been fast all day. Williamson got the jump on the outside and never looked like relinquishing the lead as he drove to claim the Rod McLaren Memorial for the second year running. Verdoner came home in second with Euan Shearing third.
The Southland championship was on the line for production saloons. Tony Jones looked to have one hand firmly planted on the trophy in the middle stages of the final, only to suffer issues which saw him fall back in the pack. This allowed Asha Clements to sneak into the lead and secure her first Southland title.
It was a fitting result as Asha’s brother Tam had won the Southland championship for the past two seasons but had been forced out with injury, meaning the trophy will stay put in the Clements’ household. Dave Horton secured a well-deserved second placing while Geoff Friend, of Cromwell, was third.
Racing at The Rock Riverside Speedway returns on December 16 with the Christmas Trophy up for grabs for all classes.