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SUPERSTOCK TEAMS NIGHT ONE



Superstock Teams racing is perhaps the greatest spectacle in speedway. There is something oh so special about witnessing the action live. An ok crowd turned up but given the magnitude of the event it was a disappointing attendance. A fair reflection of the lack of promotion in the lead-up to the event. The Gisborne Giants, Palmerston North Panthers and Manawatu Mustangs were all seeded with the other combatants facing two out of three seeds in what was effectively a battle to find the 4th semi-finalist.

Manawatu Mustangs vs Waikato Wanderers
2nz Adam Joblin and 218h Aaron Alderton were the reserve drivers for the opening contest. What a race this was. 85h Jared Wade led early but was unable to escape the attention of 175p Gavin Taniwha. The block saw Manawatu take the lead but 717h Tyson Wootton was able to match the heroics of Taniwha and slow the lead Manawatu car. That saw 99h CJ Chestnutt and 97h Aidan Eustace go 1-2 for Waikato. Things were looking for the mooloo. With a few laps to go the lead duo were exposed to a Manawatu blocker, Eustace selflessly taking out the blocker and leaving Chestnutt to run with a straightaway lead over 52p Scott Joblin. Chestnutt took the white flag and as he went through pit bend only 75p Chevron Taniwha stood between him and the win. Chestnutt tried to spin Taniwha but succeeded in getting his front end hooked up on the 75p just 60 metres short of the line. Heartbreak for Waikato as Joblin and 71p Shane Mellsop went by before Chestnutt could untangle and claim third.

Palmerston North Panthers vs Auckland All-Stars
99a Gary Lonergan and 58p Peter Bengston were the unlucky drivers on the infield. 591p Wayne Hemi led away but couldn't round 22a Dean Mulholland. Mulholland turned right and planted Hemi into the turn two wall where he would stay for a number of laps. 741a Craig Chatfield took over the race lead until blocked by 3nz Jordan Dare. That saw 1nz William Humphries and 88p Jack Miers take over the running. I'm guessing that probably wasn't the Panthers pre-race plan! 599a Ron Tye was the lead Auckland car with the remaining Auckland team members all contributing to the blocking but couldn't do enough to hault a Palmy 1-2. They did however take every position from 3rd through 5th.



Gisborne Giants vs Rotorua Rebels
31g Gary Davis and 138r Russell Hunter were on the infield for this one. A physical opening saw 127g Ethan Rees left stranded entering turn three. It was quickly three on three as 82r Darcy Meurant retired, assumedly with a mechanical issue. 41g Jason Long led with 118r Bryce Steiner chasing for the Rebels. God only knows who was next as the remaining combatants put in plenty of bumper work. 10g Peter Rees put 336r Barry Hunter Jr into the turn one concrete before getting hooked up with 93r Gary Hunter down the back straight. That left Steiner up against Long and Vallance but he never gave up, sending Vallance briefly up the front straight wall in a shower of sparks. Hunter and Rees got untangled but it was as good as over, Long taking the win for the defending champions from Steiner.

Manawatu Mustangs vs Auckland All-Stars
52p Scott Joblin and 741a Craig Chatfield sat this one out. The race unfolded with 99a Gary Lonergan under pressure in the lead in an unfamiliar car. He went into pit bend hard and drifted right out to the fence. 75p Chevron Taniwha launched an almighty shot, glancing off the back of Lonergan and into the wall just about head first. Lonergan's rear end was wrecked, the car requiring a tow truck to get it into the trailor post-meeting. Taniwha didn't come off much better and under the red lights an ambulance was called for the 75p driver. 599a Ron Tye pulled infield with a mechanical issue leaving 63a Bryce Marx and 22a Dean Mulholland up against three Mustangs. Neither Auckland driver had been running in the opening laps. To their credit the Aucklanders gave a good account of themselves with Marx making a miraculous drive to claim valuable points in second place behind race winner 175p Gavin Taniwha.



Palmerston North Panthers vs Rotorua Rebels
591p Wayne Hemi and 93r Gary Hunter were the reserves for this one. It was all on for the opening lap. 88p Jack Miers put 82r Darcy Meurant up the front straight wall. As that was happening 118r Bryce Steiner executed an outside in hit on 3nz Jordan Dare, rolling him to the delight of the fans on the exit of turn two. Both 3nz and 82r were out. Unfortunately for Rotorua they would get worn down. 336r Barry Hunter Jr went up in smoke in turn one. Once again it was left to 118r Bryce Steiner, carrying a lone hand against three Panthers. To his credit he managed an outstanding second place but 58p Peter Bengston was never in doubt as race winner.

Gisborne Giants vs Waikato Wanderers
85h Jared Wade and 45g Nick Vallance were the reserves for the final race of the night. This was a slightly strange race with not a lot of action although given Waikato needed 75 points to beat Auckland there was a fair amount of intellect behind the approach. 97h Aidan Eustace and 31g Gary Davis got together on the start/finish line and remained there for much of the race. I guess their fuel invoice for the race was minimal! The rest of the field pretty much circulated except for 717h Tyson Wootton. 41g Jason Long was protecting race leader 10g Peter Rees which left 127g Ethan Rees vulnerable. Wootton effected the spin down the back straight which elevated Waikato to second and third, 65 of the 75 points they needed. Eustace and Davis finally joined the action late in the piece which led to an almighty kerfuffle entering pit bend as a gaggle of cars piled in. Out of the third spot 99h CJ Chestnutt ended up in the wall. He recovered but not before 10g Peter Rees had taken the chequered flag in his 50th race start at the Superstock Teams Nationals. Crucially for points, Long went ahead of Chestnutt to snatch 3rd which eliminated any chance of Waikato getting the 75 points they needed.

As top qualifers the Manawau Mustangs will take on the Auckland All-Stars in one semi-final and the other semi will be the battle we all want to see. Palmerston North Panthers vs Gisborne Giants.