Saloon cars: Dyer's the comeback king

By Colin Smith


A feature race victory after a spot of adversity seems to be the theme for Tauranga super saloon car racer Gavin Dyer this summer.

Dyer's impressive Saturday night victory in the Barclay Engravers Super Saloon Car Stampede at Baypark Speedway came two days after his engine stopped with a broken camshaft a handful of laps into the first race of the night.

"We worked all day on the car and only got here at 6.30pm," said Dyer. "I have to say a huge thanks to my engine builder Ned Kelly.

"To find a camshaft in two days at this time of year and put it in the car isn't as straightforward as it sounds."

Dyer drove away from the field in the opening heat race but was one of several drivers who didn't make it out the pit gate in time for the second race as the programme was rushed through to make up time after a late start because the track had been over-watered.

Running back in fourth spot in the early part of the 20-lap feature race it was obvious Dyer was the quickest driver on the track.

But to get to the front he had to pass former national champ Brent Emerson twice - just before and then again just after a mid-race caution period - and then showed his speed to work past the battling Kristin Vermeulen and Mark Hutchins at the front of the field.

Dyer had the best-handling car on the demanding track and used it to full effect.

"It's a beautifully precise car that really hooks up on a drivey track," he said.

"It goes where I aim it and I can run different lines. When you can do that your confidence grows."

There were several big accidents in the super saloons with Putaruru's Paul Carter hitting the turn one wall at almost full speed in the first heat while USA visitor Jared Hawkins rolled his Corvette early in the second heat race.

A season that began with a chassis write-off and has also been plagued by some engine issues was turned around by Tauranga sprint car racer Daniel Lee.

Lee settled into a smooth drive after a monster wheelstand in the early laps and kept Rodney Wood at bay to win his first feature race.

It was hard to find many positives in a meeting that had small fields and never fired on all cylinders.

The driving of two next-generation drivers from Tauranga racing families caught the eye.

A sprint car debut by 18-year-old Cole Wood - the son of former national champ Rodney Wood - showed plenty of promise and Sam Waddell, the son of former New Zealand super saloon car champ Dean Waddell, claimed his first feature race win in the youth mini stock class.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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