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ROLLING THUNDER SUPER SALOONS



A very good crowd filed through the gates at Western Springs Speedway for Rolling Thunder II. A celebrity race took center stage so lets start with that. Hot laps saw an extraordinary incident. 16r Mad Mike was drifting around Pine Tree Bend right out by the wall. As he came off turn two 8h Paul Radisich attempted to execute a pass up the inside. The left front of Mad Mike contacted the right rear of Radisich, sending him sideways and flipping down the back straight! The 8h machine was extremely second hand. Radisich was slow to emerge, no doubt a bit sore.

The celebrity race was a random draw with 6b Greg Murphy leading away from 5b Shane Drake. 16r Mad Mike got his right rear into the Pine Tree Bend concrete wall and retired. 96a Sarah Walker got by Drake to take the second place. Through the middle stages of the race Murphy was holding off Walker whilst 24a Bill Buckley tried to get the better of Drake. Buckley saw his chance entering Pine Tree Bend and made a move up the inside. Unfortunately Buckley took in a bit too much speed and collected Drake! The yellows were activated. From the restart Walker was giving Murphy something to think about. With the crowd getting behind the female BMX star Town Bend was presenting the opportunity as Murphy struggled through the middle. Walker looked set to pounce but just as she sent the crowd into seventh heaven her right rear tyre popped! Murphy went on to win from Drake with Walker completing the last lap without a right rear tyre to just claim third from 3nz Brendan Dugan. The crowd went wild when Walker crossed the finish line.



The Super Saloon feature took place on a track with a ledge for a cushion. It wasn't too much of a problem for the Super Saloons and the track allowed for two lines of racing. 9w Mark Pitcher took the pole from 124m Dan Corrin. 3nz Shane McIntyre and 96a Lance Jennings occupied row two. 8h Craig Cardwell would have been off grid 5 but his car was a mess. 492i Campbell McManaway was off grid six. If anyone else was going to be a factor perhaps 5b Steve Flynn from grid 12 or 6b Grant Flynn from grid 13. Corrin got the jump from the drop of the green. Jennings was the first to make a move towards the front but appeared to suffer a mechanical problem, stopping exiting turn two.

Jennings would restart from the back. 27m Chris Cowling was moving forward from the seventh grid and as the race developed Cowling and Corrin moved away from the field into their own battle. Pitcher was a solid third in no mans land ahead of a battle pack that was constantly two wide. 18m Sam Waddell made a run utilising the high side of the race track to make moves. However the run of Waddell was thwarted as he jumped the cushion in Town Bend and then again in Pine Tree Bend. 16r Mark Osborne was another to look likely but couldn't string together a series of passes. One moment in particular saw Osborne succesfully thread a very narrow gap between two competitors entering Town Bend.



Meanwhile back out front the race was turning into a classic battle between the current New Zealand Saloon Champion and last years New Zealand Saloon Champion. Corrin was up high on the track, Cowling down low. They were matching lap for lap until Cowling started to edge up on Corrin. It took many laps but Cowling was eventually able to get up alongside Corrin, moving ahead to take the lead. Once in the lead Cowling showed superior pace. The battle pack was ferocious but nobody had anything for the leading trio. It looked like the race was done and dusted but under the white flag Jennings and 7m Brent Emerson came together with Emerson facing Percy up in the crowd.

The leaders were in Town Bend and the yellows came on well before the leaders crossed the start/finish line. Despite being the premiere event on the night the race was declared over. Chris Cowling taking the win from Corrin and Pitcher.