Nelson sprint car driver, Greg Teece in the New Zealand Sprintcar GP, at the Milestone HomesTop of The South Speedway on Friday night. Photo; Tom Laney/

Speedway avoids weather to crown GP champ


Former New Zealand champion Daniel Eggleton made the most of a one night Sprint Car New Zealand Grand Prix event in Nelson to take the title, on Friday.
Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway adapted to the predicted weather bomb that drenched the Tasman area over the weekend to successfully run the Sprintcar Grand Prix, a key decision by the club to rejig the format to run the title on Friday night only meant Saturday’s rainout didn’t have an impact on the championship..
Other tracks were not so lucky and now have to reschedule race meetings over the coming weeks.
The drivers were keen to make sure the Grand Prix had a conclusion rather than risking the weather and have to travel back from around New Zealand. The new format had four groups race each other to find the top 12 drivers to go thru to the main final, a further 6 drivers came out of the B main race to get the final 18 cars for the 25 lap final.
The first heat saw a win to local driver Greg Teece, who led from the start, but a flat tyre in the later race scuppered his chances of qualifying for the final,
Simon Reiter was another local whose night was ended in spectacular fashion, with a roll over in the back straight.
The North Island drivers were quick to work out where the best race line was with many of the cars running the high line, almost brushing the wall as they came out of the corners,
The track was in superb condition and even the brief rain that fell delaying the meeting midway only enhanced the track conditions.
The racing was pretty clean in the heats with the first caution only coming in the third race.
New Zealand Champion Jamie Larsen had a lucky escape when he got a bit wide, he ended up on his 2 right wheels but the clay cushion saved him from rolling over. Not so lucky were Steve Duff Jr, ex Black cap Nathan Astle and local Kris Gerard, who all rolled together in the first corner of the opening lap of the final.
Former New Zealand champions Daniel Eggleton and Jamie McDonald were tied on points for the final race, a coin toss gave Daniel the positional choice, he controlled the start and was never challenged throughout the race to take the title.
The Stock cars ran best pairs, they stirred it up a bit in the final heat with a bit of wall riding, 217n Keightley Teece, fresh from finishing fifth at the New Zealand title, decided to pick on a few cars.
The winners of the pairs were Dylan Clarke and John Everett.
The Productions ran round two of the club championship, Jono Sutton claiming the round win on 50 points. Hamish Carter won all 3 Youth Ministock races while Jayden Corkill picked up another feature win in the T.Q’s.
Saturday night’s racing was predictably called off after the wet weather struck as expected.
It was a credit to all involved, who managed to ensure Friday night went ahead and the national title racing could be completed without hassle for the large crowd that turned up.
This week’s meeting is the 75th New Zealand Midget title, running over Friday and Saturday night,
American and Australian drivers will be battling the top Kiwi drivers to become the national champion, over two exciting nights of racing expected with a world- class field.