SUPERSTOCK TEAMS NIGHT ONE
Superstock Teams racing is perhaps the greatest spectacle in speedway. There is something oh so special about
witnessing the action live. An ok crowd turned up but given the magnitude of the event it was a disappointing
attendance. A fair reflection of the lack of promotion in the lead-up to the event. The Gisborne Giants, Palmerston
North Panthers and Manawatu Mustangs were all seeded with the other combatants facing two out of three seeds
in what was effectively a battle to find the 4th semi-finalist.
Manawatu Mustangs vs Waikato Wanderers
2nz Adam Joblin and 218h Aaron Alderton were the reserve drivers for the opening contest. What a race this was. 85h
Jared Wade led early but was unable to escape the attention of 175p Gavin Taniwha. The block saw Manawatu take the
lead but 717h Tyson Wootton was able to match the heroics of Taniwha and slow the lead Manawatu car. That saw 99h CJ
Chestnutt and 97h Aidan Eustace go 1-2 for Waikato. Things were looking for the mooloo. With a few laps to go the
lead duo were exposed to a Manawatu blocker, Eustace selflessly taking out the blocker and leaving Chestnutt to run
with a straightaway lead over 52p Scott Joblin. Chestnutt took the white flag and as he went through pit bend only
75p Chevron Taniwha stood between him and the win. Chestnutt tried to spin Taniwha but succeeded in getting his
front end hooked up on the 75p just 60 metres short of the line. Heartbreak for Waikato as Joblin and 71p Shane
Mellsop went by before Chestnutt could untangle and claim third.
Palmerston North Panthers vs Auckland All-Stars
99a Gary Lonergan and 58p Peter Bengston were the unlucky drivers on the infield. 591p Wayne Hemi led away but
couldn't round 22a Dean Mulholland. Mulholland turned right and planted Hemi into the turn two wall where he
would stay for a number of laps. 741a Craig Chatfield took over the race lead until blocked by 3nz Jordan Dare.
That saw 1nz William Humphries and 88p Jack Miers take over the running. I'm guessing that probably wasn't the
Panthers pre-race plan! 599a Ron Tye was the lead Auckland car with the remaining Auckland team members all
contributing to the blocking but couldn't do enough to hault a Palmy 1-2. They did however take every position
from 3rd through 5th.
Gisborne Giants vs Rotorua Rebels
31g Gary Davis and 138r Russell Hunter were on the infield for this one. A physical opening saw 127g Ethan Rees left
stranded entering turn three. It was quickly three on three as 82r Darcy Meurant retired, assumedly with a mechanical
issue. 41g Jason Long led with 118r Bryce Steiner chasing for the Rebels. God only knows who was next as the
remaining combatants put in plenty of bumper work. 10g Peter Rees put 336r Barry Hunter Jr into the turn one concrete
before getting hooked up with 93r Gary Hunter down the back straight. That left Steiner up against Long and Vallance
but he never gave up, sending Vallance briefly up the front straight wall in a shower of sparks. Hunter and Rees
got untangled but it was as good as over, Long taking the win for the defending champions from Steiner.
Manawatu Mustangs vs Auckland All-Stars
52p Scott Joblin and 741a Craig Chatfield sat this one out. The race unfolded with 99a Gary Lonergan under pressure
in the lead in an unfamiliar car. He went into pit bend hard and drifted right out to the fence. 75p Chevron Taniwha
launched an almighty shot, glancing off the back of Lonergan and into the wall just about head first. Lonergan's
rear end was wrecked, the car requiring a tow truck to get it into the trailor post-meeting. Taniwha didn't come
off much better and under the red lights an ambulance was called for the 75p driver. 599a Ron Tye pulled infield
with a mechanical issue leaving 63a Bryce Marx and 22a Dean Mulholland up against three Mustangs. Neither Auckland
driver had been running in the opening laps. To their credit the Aucklanders gave a good account of themselves
with Marx making a miraculous drive to claim valuable points in second place behind race winner 175p Gavin Taniwha.
Palmerston North Panthers vs Rotorua Rebels
591p Wayne Hemi and 93r Gary Hunter were the reserves for this one. It was all on for the opening lap. 88p Jack
Miers put 82r Darcy Meurant up the front straight wall. As that was happening 118r Bryce Steiner executed an
outside in hit on 3nz Jordan Dare, rolling him to the delight of the fans on the exit of turn two. Both 3nz and 82r
were out. Unfortunately for Rotorua they would get worn down. 336r Barry Hunter Jr went up in smoke in turn one.
Once again it was left to 118r Bryce Steiner, carrying a lone hand against three Panthers. To his credit he
managed an outstanding second place but 58p Peter Bengston was never in doubt as race winner.
Gisborne Giants vs Waikato Wanderers
85h Jared Wade and 45g Nick Vallance were the reserves for the final race of the night. This was a slightly strange
race with not a lot of action although given Waikato needed 75 points to beat Auckland there was a fair amount
of intellect behind the approach. 97h Aidan Eustace and 31g Gary Davis got together on the start/finish line and
remained there for much of the race. I guess their fuel invoice for the race was minimal! The rest of the field
pretty much circulated except for 717h Tyson Wootton. 41g Jason Long was protecting race leader 10g Peter
Rees which left 127g Ethan Rees vulnerable. Wootton effected the spin down the back straight which elevated Waikato
to second and third, 65 of the 75 points they needed. Eustace and Davis finally joined the action late in the
piece which led to an almighty kerfuffle entering pit bend as a gaggle of cars piled in. Out of the third spot 99h
CJ Chestnutt ended up in the wall. He recovered but not before 10g Peter Rees had taken the chequered flag in his
50th race start at the Superstock Teams Nationals. Crucially for points, Long went ahead of Chestnutt to snatch
3rd which eliminated any chance of Waikato getting the 75 points they needed.
As top qualifers the Manawau Mustangs will take on the Auckland All-Stars in one semi-final and the other semi will
be the battle we all want to see. Palmerston North Panthers vs Gisborne Giants.