Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder V headlined the final night of the season at Vodafone Western Springs Speedway. A monster crowd turned up to watch a 25 race schedule highlighted by the annual appearance of Super Saloons. No celebrity races were held after last years mishap and whilst I think we can all understand why the night did lack a certain something without them. Track conditions were far from ideal. One thing that has been consistent all season is that when the track has held excesive moisture it's rutted up and caused problems. The higher line formed early in the show but not where you'd want it - not even half way to the fence.

The track was repeatedly tilled through the night to stop a cushion forming and to try and expand the width of the race track. It didn't really work as the track raced narrow all night long and by the time the Super Saloon feature took to the track the cushion had built up, particularly through the middle of pine tree bend. The Super Saloons need a wide race track due to their sheer size. Western Springs is a more than wide enough track as evidenced by the great show Super Saloons put on at Palmerston North every year. However they may as well have been racing at Rotorua given the racing width of tonights track.

27m Steve Cowling and 92m Scott Hayward comprised the front row. Behind them were 124m Dan Corrin and 3nz Nigel Mouat. 26e Shane McIntyre and 24m Ian Daniel comprised the third row. If anyone else was going to be a factor perhaps 11e Peter Dickson would be the man. Dickson did well to make the start line after suffering a bizarre incident in a heat race. It was like a magnet was activated in the turn 4 wall as the 11e was thrown off the racing line and heavily into the wall. 1nz Terry Corin was starting off grid 7 but based on heat race action wasn't going to be a factor.

Hayward got the jump from the drop of the green, quickly getting into his work and establishing a gap to the chasing duo of Cowling and Corrin. If memory serves me correctly twelve months ago it was Cowling and Corrin who duelled it out for the win. The best of the rest in the chasing pack would be 26e Shane McIntyre who pounced on an error to make his move into the fourth position. It would be fair to say the opening stanza of the race was subdued.

We had a change for the lead mid way through the race. Hayward bounced over the cushion. He had the time and gap to gather it up but promptly pulled infield with what appeared to be a flat right rear tyre. It was a shame for Hayward because nobody was catching him on the form he had shown in the first half of the race. In the mid pack 24m Ian Daniel gave the commentators a moment to remember, riding up the front straight wall right in front of the commentary box. Daniel looks to be a driver who knows what to do with his right foot! The race continued until a late caution shook things up.

At Western Springs we run a unique restart rule where the lead driver can take off anywhere from turn 3. Perhaps Corrin was unaware of the rule because he was caught asleep when Cowling accelerated away halfway through turns 3&4. That pulled through the man lucky enough to be fourth prior to the stoppage, 3nz Nigel Mouat. Mouat assuming the second spot behind race leader Cowling. Corrin attempted to get his second spot back but couldn't quite fashion a pass on the 3nz, regular driver Mark Osborne reportedly unavailable for driving commitments. 27m Chris Cowling taking the win from 3nz Nigel Mouat and 124m Dan Corrin. Fair to say the race was not one of the classics.