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ANDREW EDWARDS MEMORIAL



Inclement weather in the area likely kept crowd numbers slightly below last years attendance but that aside a respectable crowd turned up for the Andrew Edwards Memorial. Track conditions were remarkably good given weather during the week. A nice smooth surface presented to competitors which eventually developed a genuine second line. However for much of the night it raced narrow. That was in no small part to track staff who watered the entire racing surface after every race. If they had left the bottom alone and focussed on bringing in the top we may have had a better track through the racing programme.

Grid for the 25-lap main event featured 71k Andrew Edwards(RIP) with 55a Daniel Thomas on the outside. 21w Stephen Taylor and 3nz James Dahm comprised the second row. 82p Jamie Larsen and 22a Dean Brindle were on row three. 88m Keaton Dahm and 71a Jamie McDonald were on the 4th row. It was hard to see anyone else being a factor as all the big guns qualified well during the heats. Race start saw Taylor get a suspiciously great start from the second row to take the lead. The eagle eyes of the SNZ officials saw an indiscretion and we went yellow for a second attempt.



Second time we were away with Thomas taking the early lead. However we would quickly be under yellow flag conditions as 73k Brian Edwards flipped in turn three. Edwards would later comment he simply went too hard into the corner. Attempt number three to start the race proved no more successful. 71a Jamie McDonald bicycled in turn three and somehow gathered it up without making contact with 88m Keaton Dahm who occupied a vulnerable position between McDonald and the Kihikihi wall. Behind them 77p Zac Harris got together with I think it was 28p Tony Uhlenburg. Both were able to restart.

As neither competitor had completed a lap I'd have thought we were looking at attempt number four to start the race but we went with a single file restart with the rest of the field having completed the first lap. 3nz James Dahm was the big loser on the first lap, dropping down the field after Taylor ran him up high through 1&2. Action finally got underway and into a long green flag period. There wasn't a lot going on as the top contenders spaced themselves out whilst running similar lap times. Lapped traffic quickly became a factor. Around lap 10 Larsen made a move on Taylor for the second spot.



The quick guys were having little trouble with the lapped cars as lines opened up on the race track. Through the middle stages Larsen appeared to be the fastest driver on track, running down Thomas for the lead. Larsen caught the 55a and took a look to the inside. Thomas shut the door as the stricken 62a Dave Witton was out by the wall and on his side. The yellows were deployed with seven laps remaining. It was just what the race needed. 3nz James Dahm departed to the infield under the caution. From the restart Thomas led away. Larsen was better in 1&2, particularly on exit but Thomas had an advantage through 3&4.

The action unfolded a little further back. 22a Dean Brindle launched a big slide job on Taylor through 3&4 to take the third spot. 5a Daniel Rogers followed suit a couple of laps later but Taylor was able to cut back up the inside on the exit of four to retain the fourth spot. Taylor cleared Rogers by a scrape of butter. It wasn't over yet as Rogers launched a slider on the bottom of turn 1. He was able to secure 4th spot this time, running Taylor up the track. Back to the front and Larsen was right on the tail of Thomas as the two went under the white flag. It was now or never as Larsen launched a last corner pass around the outside. There appeared to be something up top on the race track but it wasn't quite enough, Thomas going back to back at the Andrew Edwards memorial.