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 31-01-2003 /01-02-2003
NZ Saloon Champs
Palmerston North
by Macgor
Read the review and results on the Palmerston site , what I have written below is just some of my observations and opinion of what happened

Full bodied stockcars raced for the NZ Saloon champs at Palmerston North . The only trouble was they left off the heavy bumpers and side rails which meant we finished up seeing heaps and heaps of damage done .
Despite comments since the event that much of the contact was deliberate I don't believe any of the drivers set out to take any other out of the running . 
The urge to win was strong though and when the front running cars are pretty quick then chances have to be taken when they present themselves no matter how slim they may be .
The track played a big part in the proceedings , it was far better than I expected , enticing drivers to make that do or die pass that led to their down fall .
Controversy on the first night when well performing 11m Kevin Moore was excluded from the event for racing an under weight car . I hadn't attended srcutineering but had assumed all car would have been weighed there . Not so it seems . SNZ hadn't bothered .

SNZ can weigh 100 or more stockcars before a championship but 40 odd saloons falls nto the can't or won't do basket 
Kevin Mooore had raced quite clean on the night but imagine if he hadn't and had caused a bingle that had taken three or four other top runners out of the event . Even now how do we know that some or the cars that didn't go well but caused prangs were legal at the beginning of the two nights .

Another school of thought . When a cars is presented at scrutineering it is checked and if something is amiss then it is rejected and the driver has a chance to rectify the error and still race . I also wonder is SNZ's failure to weigh the cars could be classed as entrapment . 

To my mind SNZ officials lost control of the running of the meetings I feel . Some of the rough driving should have earned penalties much earlier in the going rather than waiting until major disasters had occurred .

Biggest laugh of the first night for me was watching an official insist that a saloon reverse up the track because he hadn't stopped quick enough on a yellow light . Yes Really! . Obviously he thought he was dealing with stockcars and perhaps he can be forgiven for that misunderstanding considering the happenings on the track .

Pleasing was the fact that at the end of the two nights the top three place getters just happened to be three of the cleanest racers of the weekend . They were all well performing and waited until most of their main opposition had fallen out before getting the passing they needed done .
Congratulations to 1nz Dean Waddel  , 2nz Todd Moffat and 3nz Tony Cardwell . 
2nz and 3nz  were decided by a run off that was cleanly run . 

The printed program was well worth the $5.00 , plenty of photos and plenty of reading .One of those keep forever ones . Full marks to Tim Savell for the effort , it is appreciated . 

Commentating was good with the two locals being assisted by Barry Brown and Malcom Sines . The roving microphones were a bit erratic at times and the only let down . I feel an error was made in interviewing Skinny and Lance Jennings as previous experience proves that what they say after just crashing out of a big meeting is not always appropriate .

The Palmerston promotion did a good job with running the show and Scot Miers thanking  his track staff for their efforts was a nice touch . 

I have always enjoyed good fast and daring saloon racing and I'm always happy when the best on the night do the winning .
Not so with everyone though I found out and dare I say it those of the female gender are the most fiery when it comes to saloon drivers . A couple of them were sitting near me on finals night and it was quite an educational experience .  They have their favorite drivers and come hell or high water those drivers can do wrong . 
Any driver that beats their favorite is a cheater of the worst kind . Any bingle that happens to their driver is always the cheaters fault and if any official penalises their driver then that official should be dispatched forthwith .
The drivers they don't like are hated and despised and should one of these drivers fall foul of officialdom then a mere exclusion or relegation is nowhere near good enough . such drivers should be banned for life and worse .
All this and more is snarled with venom dripping onto the terraces stopping any such as this mere male from arguing the toss wth them .
Scarey stuff but also quite entertaining and the passion expressed was wonderful .

I enjoyed the NZ Saloon Champs but with just a touch of regret that I didn't get to see all of the best racing at their best .