Waikaraka Park Season Opener
It's been a rushed recipe but finally a tasting of the new
deal Waikaraka Park speedway was about to be served .
The weather was doing it's best to spoil the meal though
and up until to 2 hours before the meeting start I was extremely doubtful
whether it would happen at all . In fact I had already started thinking
about a dash to Huntly as an alternative .
The weather finally looked more promising and to the
Park I ventured . Most of the new look I have described when attending
the practices but add to that the repainted main entrance and
the revamped food outlet under the club rooms .
on my normal perch up on the top tier of the grandstand it was immediately
obvious how spick and span Waikaraka Park is looking these days .
I haven't seen it looking this good ever and that's no exaggeration
. Of course it is still no Baypark or Palmerston North but it's a
lot better than it was .
small plane was heard flying overhead and a quick look revealed it
was towing a banner with the words ' Stock Cars Still Only $12 '
. It circled Waikaraka Park and then headed over towards Western Springs
and I would love to know the reaction of the patrons there sitting
in seats that they just paid $20 for . Some would call it dirty pool but
I prefer to think of it as aggressive marketing in a competitive world
Funtime caterers are the new fast food providers at Waikaraka
and when news of that broke a while back I cringed because of my last experience
of their product many years ago at Kihikihi . In short it was simply
I'm always ready to give an outfit a second go although
I was taken aback somewhat at all the $5.00 plus items on their menu .
Basic chips and hotdogs were still a more reasonable
$2.50 and that suited my wallet plus my simple taste buds . Those two items
passed the Macgor tasting with flying colours . My dearer half decided
she was going to raid my cash cache and splurge on a steak sandwich which
once eaten was proclaimed as one of the best ever . I submitted later in
the night and purchased a bacon and egg roll that was like no other I had
consumed before , it was big and it was good !!.
While not every item on the menu was sampled I did see
an awful lot of the jumbo sized American Hotdogs being paraded past me
and never did I hear a word of complaint about the cost or the quality
I'm thinking there should be a sign at the entrance
gates about the good food at Waikaraka Park being injurous to waist lines
Over the years late start delays have been something
I have bleeted continuous about to no avail . If you have ever been there
you will know what I meen . They advertise a 6.46pm crunch time yet we
are lucky if the grand parade gets underway by 7.00pm .
Well not anymore and I darn near fell off me perch when
just before 6.30 pm out rolled the grand parade led by the infield rescue
crew who were all dressed in matching outfits. Impressive!!.
Commentating was performed by Jamia McCarthy , Malcom
Sines and Barry Brown . I'm calling it a performance because that's exactly
what it was . Banter between the three of them plus driver interviews and
the like were value added to the overall show . They were also involved
in doing the free give aways of which I received one so naturally I was
happy with them . Jamie McCarthy also doubles as the resident clown and
has quite a following amongst the younger fans .
The sound system was performing well apart from the speaker
closest to me and I had to admire the chap that worked for ages through
the rain while standing on the saftey rail at the front of the upper
grandstand trying to get that speaker going . He was absolutely determined
and I could see him resorting to stripping insulation from the wiring with
his teeth . Eventually he succeeded and the speaker worked great for the
rest of the night .
There was a giant step forward taken in this area . The
meeting started nigh on time and would have easily finished by 10 pm if
heavy rain after the first round of racing hadn't flooded the track . I
honestly expected the meeting to be abandoned at this stage but credit
where credit is due , they stuck at it and got as many cars out wheel packing
as possible once the rain stopped . The second round of races was hampered
by the still slippery track but by the third round things were pretty much
full speed ahead . Considering the 30 to 40 minute delay caused
by the rain and wheel packing etc. having the meeting finish just
after 10.30 pm wasn't a bad effort .
Another measure of a good night was the good percentage
of the reasonable sized crowd that stuck out the rain , cold and delay
to see the meeting through to it's end .
Lots of new clay added and it stayed smooth all night
. When it wasn't wet it was also very fast . The general comments around
me were all positive with the most notable being the " Skinny's gonna love
this " from one of his adoring fans . The big test for the track will come
next week when the Supers will attend in big numbers for their Nth
Island Series . So far so good though .
The Printed Program
Contained a good write up by Jamie McCarthy on what cars
we can expect to run at Waikaraka this season . Sadly the driver listings
appeared to be from last season and was the biggest disppointment for me
on the night .
12 cars with the locals being boosted by visitors from
Huntly and 65m Mark Thompson from Baypark . 7a Dayne Wright was probably
the best performing but it didn't all go his way after his first heat win
. The ever green Dave Tennant in his red racer came good for a win in the
second heat after Wright broke and slowed . 15a Steve Pribicevich finally
did the business for the feature win using his new found aggressive style
not to mention newly installed extra grunt .
A new and to be applauded innovation at Waikaraka is
for the agraders to run two heats for points with the two highest points
scorers having the choice of starting from the front of the feature for
normal prize money or opting to start further back for a bonus if
they manage to win the thing . If they don't win then the money jackpots
each week . Dave Tennant and Dayne Wright were the two top scorers this
time and took the option of trying for the big money and failed . It sure
added interest to the race though and as the money builds the feature at
Waikaraka for Agraders will be a not to be missed affair I'm sure . It
will also be interesting to see whether the locals keep visiting cars from
uplifting the loot . Word is some out of town names are planning a raid
at the next meeting .
17 cars and a lot of the known heroes missing . The action
wasn't the normal destroy the opposition at all costs that is expected
at Waikaraka from these guys but still they did ok for an opening night
when they tended to get the worst of the track conditions .
67a Nick Krisnic and 66a Peter Church were two notables
using bumper persuassion to get their own way . Good teaser for the more
rugged action that this class will produce as the season unfolds . It was
noted that no outside Std Stocks were brave enough to front .
8 cars and with some class in the form of Lance Jennings
, Tony Cardwell and Kevin Moore . Cardwell looked a winner but his
car baulked at the idea and handed the heat wins to Lance Jennings and
Glen Turner . The feature winner was 72m Ken Sines in his well performing
Mazda RX7 that simply ran away from the big guns much to the crowds delight
No major prangs and the supers looked to be right at
home on the new track surface . Surprise inclusion was 31p Rod Clifton
Kevin Moore ran a good race for second in the first heat
but obviously all was not happy because he packed his toy away and left
the venue as the second heat was lining up on the track .
8 cars and the first class to race on the night . They
only got to the first turn before half the field were involved in a prang
The first heat field was decimated by this turn of events
but the rest of the race was a thriller as 46a Nigel Ross and 58a
Gavin Hinsley went at it hammer and tongs . Boy it made for good watching
and the crowd was buzzing . Attention was focussed on the duelling pair
for the remainder of the night and there was no disappointment for
us watchers . Even a head on with the wall in the feature wasn't enough
to dampen Ross's enthusiasm and he stll managed a well deserved 2nd placing
. The heat wins were one apiece for 58a and 46a .
The low turnout of cars in this class for opening night
was a surprise but I expect they will be back to full force in the near
10 cars was a great turnout for this class especially
since only two were from out of town . The two being 13h Tony Galbraith
and 96r Chris Ollson . Local hot shoes 99a Jamie Fox and 19a Scot Lane
were the class act with a heat win each and Lane claiming the feature ,
High speed ducking and diving along with the chuck it in sideways style
meant there were several thrills per lap to be seen and appreciated .
With a few more cars yet to debut the Modifieds will
be a major attraction this season .
18 cars and plenty of contact mean that once again
the streetstocks will be a worthwhile inclussion this season .