The opening meeting at Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway was firing on all cylinders on Saturday night.
The stock car grades didn’t muck around getting into action while the super saloon feature produced a dramatic race for the lead that was almost chess-like.
A brilliant racing surface that the late Murray Teece would be proud of, the weather played ball with plenty of visiting drivers boosting the numbers.
The TQ’s opened the season’s racing. The class has its national championship race in Nelson this February so it wasn’t surprising to see some of the title contenders hitting the ground running.
The local contingent have had their numbers boosted with several new drivers making their debut.
Luke Dilworth, a former stock car driver, looked impressive in his first outing, while Alicia MacLauchlan and Jayden Corkill led the local charge.
But it was Canterbury’s Jeremy Webb who took out the feature, Alicia was top local finisher on 3rd while Corkill picked up a heat win.
George Crosbie made a return with his new engine showing good speed, as well.
The side-cars were next out. Seven bikes made the opening meeting, the track surface made for good racing, the Aidie Drake/Kieran Satherley pairing proving too good once again, winning for the 3rd year in a row.
The 88n of Shaun Solly/Rosie Taylor showed promise over the night, while the three Blenheim teams got valuable track time before their opening meeting.
The super stocks are on the endangered species list, with a number of drivers retiring over the off season numbers are critical, but that didn’t mean much when sparks flew in the opening lap.
The two visiting drivers made sure the grade would front and that was where things got interesting.
Jamie Hamilton set the tone early in heat one, pinging high flyer Brett Nicholls into the turn 4 wall, bending his bumper and retiring him for the race.
Hamilton then found the lead to win heat 1. The next heat Nicholls showed his pace, leading from start to finish. Trevor Lineham got a hit from Hamilton, ruining his chances of a podium. This set up the climactic final heat.
Hamilton got a shunt from Lineham early on before Nicholls had a crack. The two jostled until Hamilton was sent back into the wall and over, landing on his roof. While that was going on, Alex Hill in his new car continued to chase the points and win the final heat to claim the trophy.
Antz Mackenzie claimed 2nd spot with his new machine. Lineham and Nicholls were both excluded from points in the final heat.
The productions were next out, new faces and a few new cars boosted the grade.
Tony Diedrichs was the pace-setter on the night, comfortably winning by four points from Eddie Franz and David Allen.
The racing was kept pretty clean with few incidents.
Stockcars got into action early on. Eventual winner, Keightley Teece, spent the opening lap sideways down the back straight.
Brad Neiman was the leader heading into the final race but a flat tyre and hit on the Greymouth tank saw him retire.
The other front runner, Dylan Clarke, was the first stock car rollover of the season after getting caught near the wall and put over by the other Greymouth visitor.
Levi Collier kept it tidy to claim 2nd while a run-off between Neiman and Craig Tatnell ended the night’s racing, Neiman’s experience telling in the end.
The street stocks were boosted by the Christchurch quartet. They had a slight speed advantage and some subtle blocking by team mates saw Cantabrian Dave Mcsherry take the trophy.
He had some close moments, getting caught a few times, but local reliability took its toll.
Bradley Evans kept out of trouble to claim 2nd overall, a pleasing result.
The final grade were the super saloons. They provided the speed for the night and regular visitor Mark Osborne is worth the entry fee alone.
His final race performance was the highlight of the night. He won from a determined Trevor Elliott.
The Carey boys were looking good, having a battle for 3rd spot in the feature, Shane getting the edge from brother Mark who had won the 2nd heat.
A flat tyre to Osborne in the 2nd heat was a blessing in disguise, meaning we would get to see the best out of him to be able to win the feature.
Dave Manera had a few anxious moments, scraping the wall and briefly airborne, but was able to finish the night.
Next meeting is October 28 with the Coca-Cola fireworks spectacular, plus the sprint cars making their return to the track.
It promises to be a cracker of a meeting.