Speedway: North heaps kudos on crew

By Shane Hurndell

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TOP CREW: Paddy North (with trophy) and his crew after his victory at Meeanee. PHOTO/KIWI MOTORSPORT MEDIA
TOP CREW: Paddy North (with trophy) and his crew after his victory at Meeanee. PHOTO/KIWI MOTORSPORT MEDIA

AFTER three barrel rolls the previous night Blenheim saloon driver Paddy North wasn't regarded as a favourite for Wednesday night's third round in the Valvoline Speedweek Series at Meeanee.

"Yes I chucked it big time and didn't get a lap done," North said, as he reflected on his first heat in the Palmerston North-hosted second round on Tuesday night.

"Big ups to the crew. Our five-strong team worked all night last night and all day today, with plenty of help from the Flynn family here in the Bay, so we could get out here in time to race. So I was happy to reward them with a round win," North explained.

North won the 21-car 20-lap final from grid two after finishing second to Canterbury's Josh Boulton in the top 10 pole shuffle.

Boulton was forced out of the final with a mechanical issue on lap eight.

Wednesday night's meeting was North's fourth in his new Chev 358-powered car.

The 43-year-old veteran of 23 years of speedway racing was competing in the saloon class at Meeanee for the first time.

"I'm not going to win the series now but it would be good to get a top six finish from here."

Former series winner Scott Lansdowne of Auckland was second and Mount Maunganui's four-time series winner and defending champion Chris Cowling was third.

This was Cowling's second podium finish in the 2016 series.

Impressive series rookie Joe Ingram of Stratford was fourth.

Gisborne's Ethan Cooke, who shone with his win and a fourth placing in his earlier heats, had a DNF in the final.

The six-round series is raced over six consecutive nights and ends in Huntly tomorrow.

"Happy with the win but more happy to be alive. Everytime I drove over the ramp someone was trying to drive over the top of me."

That was the reaction from Taradale's Ian Olson after he collected $500, the winner's prize for the 33-car demolition ramp derby.

It was the supermarket duty manager's first attempt at a derby and the fact the car he raced was an automatic V6 1600cc Mitsubishi made his victory more significant.

"It was my son Liam's first car and it was drowned in a lake not so long ago. This car has gone places no car should go," Olson said.

"Being an automatic car it wasn't a great one for the event and despite everyone having a go at me and me having little control we got the win. I've got the bug now and I'm keen to do another derby but I will have to another car. I can't see this car surviving another 10 hits," Olson said.

Another Bay starter, David Haycock, pocketed the $300 best stirrer's prize after producing some huge hits on a regular basis during the 10-lap event which lasted six minutes.

Close and exciting racing was a feature of the 28-strong ministock class.

Wellingtonian Caleb Madgwick and Gisborne's Hamish Moore were the respective winners of the first two heats before former Hawke's Bay motocross rider Jack Lawson won the feature.

Hawke's Bay superstock driver Maddison Wise won the driver of the night award across all classes with a third placing in his first heat and a victory in the third after a spectacular battle with Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted Andy McCabe at the front of the field.

Gisborne's Lloyd Stuart won two of the heats for the 15-strong production saloon class and consistent Meeanee driver Brendon Zachan the other.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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