Palmerston North vs Hawkes Bay
The random draw produced a blockbuster first up. 88p Jack Miers didn't make it through hot laps as smoke billowed out the car. He would be joined on the infield by 9b Adam Groome. Every car took the 3-minute bell prior to the race beginning! It was on from the get go. 16b Steve Jude took 1nz Simon Joblin to the turn two wall only to feel the bumper of 58p Peter Bengston. With Jude and Bengston headed towards turn 3, an assumedly knocked out Joblin careered across the infield. The speedway gods were with us tonight as all infield personnel were missed and Joblin bounced back on track to hit Jude and roll. Considering he was heading head first for the wall with his foot down it was quite possibly the best outcome to a scary situation.

The Bay were leading whilst the blocking duo 84b Mike McLachlan and 74p Chevron Taniwha locked horns. Taniwha put McLachlan up the wall exiting turn two but McLachlan was able to get off the wall to continue. 41b Jason Long put 94p William Humphries up the turn four wall but again Humphries was able to reach terra firma and continue. It was physical but the contest would soon be over when Mike McLachlan reverse spun Taniwha entering turn three and effected a rollover. With Long hardly mobile for the Hawkeyes it was 3 on 2 and the Palmerston North champions made no mistake taking a 150-45 win courtesy of Stanaway and Jude taking a 1-2 finish.

Auckland vs Gisborne
Reserves for this clash were 57a Aidan Eustace and 26g Mitch Vickery. Auckland lost 99a CJ Chestnutt on the very first corner, unable to restart after being spun to the infield. 127g Ethan Rees led away in what would quickly become an unusual race. Gisborne didn't have a genuine blocker and Auckland only had 71a Jamie Fergusson in that role. It was Fergusson vs the G as the Auckland runners weren't about to run down the likes of Ethan and Peter Rees. One had to admire the tenacity of Fergusson and he certainly halted the progress of numerous G cars. Problem was with all Giants cars running he had to somehow stop all four of them. 10g Peter Rees began to smoke heavily as the race came to it's conclusion. Smoke became fire and Rees required the services of the infield crew to extinguish the blaze. Never fear, Ethan and 75g Carl Shearer had the situation all under control. 150-45 in favour of the Giants.

Manawatu vs Rotorua
3nz Adam Joblin and 94r Dale Stewart sat this one out. The Mustangs tactics seemed to be run, run and run. By the end of the first lap they occupied the first three spots after getting the better of the opening exchanges. In the end 591p Wayne Hemi was blocked and assumed the blocking role. Rotorua appeared to lack the class to compete. It wasn't a lack of effort but after the first lap they never looked like winning. 77r Lance Elsworth suffered big damage, severely limiting his ability to be a factor in the race. 87r David Elsworth tried to make up for that with a perfectly timed right hand turn on 971p Jayden Ward to wreck the right front suspension of the Palmy flyer. Only problem was Ward was able to continue and the Mustangs took a dominant 170-25 win. 81r Damian Orr the only Rebel in the top five.

Hawkes Bay vs Gisborne
Another juicy matchup on paper as two first round winners clashed. 16b Steve Jude and 31g Gary Davis were the reserves. Stanaway got the action underway landing a solid blow on Shearer exiting turn two. 9b Adam Groome assumed the lead, directly taking over the Steve Jude role. 10g Peter Rees was the lead Gisborne runner. Rees showed his class on one occasion down the back straight, up the inside of blocker #1 and around the outside of blocker #2, perfectly utilising his bumper to upset the blocker so they couldn't return fire. Rees would close the gap and when Groome was blocked Rees was on the spot to assume the lead. The race changed complexion when Long decided to pass 127g Ethan Rees around the outside down the back straight. Turns out not such a good idea! Ethan put Long up the wall and over. In a moment of controversy Ethan tried to untangle himself under the reds before doing so successfully when given the signal.

The Stratford imports of Vickery and Shearer did a great job of tying up dangerman McLachlan as Peter Rees wound off the laps. Peter Rees would take the win as Vickery got hooked up with Groome on the final corner. Neither were able to finish. Gisborne finished 1st, 3rd and 5th for a 135-60 win but the reality was both were in the semi-finals and they were a fair chance of facing each other again given the draw.

Auckland vs Manawatu
99a CJ Chestnutt and 971p Jayden Ward sat this one out. 2nz Jordan Dare got away to a huge lead as the rest of the field dealt with each other. 63a Bryce Marx made an early exit for Auckland, officials utilising the reds to save Marx as he was sprawled across the back straight. 23a Scott Duncan made a very effective block on Dare allowing Auckland runner 57a Aidan Eustace and 591p Wayne Hemi to catch. Fergusson and Duncan were proving an effective blocking combination whilst the Mustangs once again opted for a run first strategy. With Dare blocked out of the way and Hemi wide exiting turn two, Eustace chose to put Hemi up the wall rather than take the lead. It was a decision Eustace would come to regret and he came to a stop and failed to refire for around 3 laps. Fergusson and Duncan were so many laps down the All Stars hopes were all on Eustace. Auckland's chances evaporated when Eustace failed to extract himself from the concrete. Hemi lost his right front wheel late in the piece. As someone who was in the firing line I was unimpressed to see the officials not turn the lights red with the wheel bouncing down the back straight. The Mustangs had it won 160-20 with only four cars finishing.

Palmerston North vs Rotorua
Jack Miers took the wheel of the 1nz machine to leave 88p Simon Joblin and 94r Dale Stewart on the infield for this one. 94p William Humphries took the early lead but surrendered it to 118r Bryce Steiner when 81r Damian Orr took him to the wall. Steiner was doing a magnificent job running but should he be eliminated the Rebels were in trouble due to the lack of a second running option. Sure enough Taniwha took Steiner to the wall exiting turn two and Humphries was back in front. The Rotorua challenge was effectively ended when 58p Peter Bengston smacked into the back of 77r Lance Elsworth. The hit had such force the front end of Bengston's car reared up like a Sprintcar doing a wheelstand. Another Palmy car piled into the back of Elsworth who made his way to the infield, perhaps to cancel his chiropractor appointment on Monday. Humphries continued to take the win whilst Steiner capped off a fine performance by sneaking past Taniwha after again being taken to the wall exiting turn two for a valiant second. 145-50.