A NEW year, but unfortunately more of the same for southern speedway fans with X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway having its sixth cancellation from eight scheduled meetings last Sunday.
Fans, drivers and club members were clearly frustrated with the day which began in beautiful sunshine. After one round of racing, the heavens opened and that was it for another day. However, the club managed to hold the ILT Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza to a packed house that night, to celebrate 25 years of support from the ILT.
Six shooters started the meeting with heat one of the Southland championship.
Riverside driver Jacob McIntyre showed early pace, getting off to a handsome lead.
Reigning champion Adam Evans, of Cromwell, worked his way through a very competitive pack to do battle towards the frontrunners.
Once Evans got to McIntyre, they swapped the lead several times; both drivers put on a remarkable show of car control while racing side by side.
The pair caught up on a lapped car which saw Evans and McIntyre tangle as both tried to pass.
McIntyre was found at fault, which led to him going to the rear of the field. Evans led from the restart to claim the win over clubmate James Stronach and Riverside’s Duane Cracknell.
Saloons were also racing for the Southland Championship, the last drive before the SW Finance New Zealand Saloon Champs in a fortnight.
Cromwell’s Stephen Robertson started from the front and took full advantage of the clear track as others battled hard with traffic and visibility.
The race was put into caution due to the dust midpoint and water was added for safety reasons.
At the restart Robertson had to contend with George Phillips, also of Cromwell. Phillips tried unsuccessfully several times to make a pass, resulting in Robertson taking the win, with Phillips second, and Darren McLeod, of Riverside, third.
Youth mini stocks were the third class racing for the Southland champs. The field was made up of drivers from Cromwell and they put on a show for the punters in their one race.
Samantha Sanford showed outstanding pace holding off all-comers for most of the race.
She came under attack from Josh Evans and Harrison Brown, but they could not get to the front.
Unfortunately for Sanford, just as Evans snuck past, she spun, leading to a four-car pile-up with Brown, George Hedley and Brodie McDonald.
There was a mad scramble to claim the minor spots behind Evans, but the restart reformed the grid and a one-lap sprint saw Evans first, ahead of Brown and Hedley.
Harrison Brown dominated the only youth saloon race with a huge straight length lead over Joshua Livingstone, with Blake Swinburne third.
Modified sprints were next and what looked to be a runaway win to Jayden Fraser led to some impressive driving by Michael Jackson, who clawed back Fraser’s advantage to make a pass and win.
Fraser was second, with Vernon Helms third.
Streetstocks were running for best pairs.
Dillon MacHattie took an easy victory in the race, but his partner Phil Johnson didn’t finish.
Second was Troy Dryden. Little did he know that due to an odd number of cars he would have a blind partner, meaning he would score extra points as if another car was racing.
Third was Karl Thomson, but his partner Andrew Watson didn’t even start the race.
The final points gave Dryden the win by himself, ahead of Luke Molloy who was teamed up with Jesse Hamilton, then MacHattie and Johnson third.
Production saloons had a couple of tries to get under way. Stephen Broad and Tash Jones’ cars found each other more than once, causing a restart.
Hayden Graves looked to be the driver to win this heat but the experience of Tony Jones paid off when Graves made a mistake while passing a lapped car giving Jones a clean view of the chequered flag.
Second was Blake Murdoch who drove well from the rear of the field, and Graves third.
Stockcars were the final grade to race, and the only class to get two races with three cars on track.
Jason Fisher, of Riverside, claimed the win in both races, with Simon Elliot, of Dunedin, second, and Jacob Garrick, third.
Riverside would host a Show and Shine at the Gala St Reserve, on Thursday, January 28. To find out more, go to the X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway Facebook page.Sport mediaAir Jordan Hydro 14 Sandals, Air Jordan Shoes