Promising Hawke's Bay stockcar driver Ethan Anderson struggled to believe he had won the prestigious Krusty 500 title at Meeanee on Saturday night.
"I expected Aucklander Keegan Orr to take me out. He had three chances at it and I managed to spin him around and get away from him during all three," Anderson said before receiving the first prize of $3000 in what track commentator Mike Wilson described as the richest stockcar event to be raced in the country this season.
"It's good to be the third Hawke's Bay driver to win the title in the three-season history of the Krusty," Anderson said, referring to the fact former national champion Jason Penn won it in 2016 and fellow clubmate Michael Smith, who beat Aucklander Logan Peat in Saturday night's runoff for second despite racing without any power steering, won it last year.
A Future Products Group sheetmetal fabrication apprentice, Anderson pointed out his prizemoney will cover two-thirds of the bill for his second motor.
When the third-season driver in the class was quizzed on what he ranked as better - Saturday night's title or helping the Meeanee Maulers finish third at their national teams champs in Auckland this month Anderson, replied: "They are both awesome in their own way."
Thirty-six drivers competed in the MTF Vehicle Finance-sponsored event, which is raced in memory of Wilson's son Christopher John "Krusty" Keane who died in Australia in 2015.
All drivers got to race in three of the scheduled four 15-lap races.
"I quite enjoyed this format as we got the chance to watch a race and check on some of the other drivers," added Anderson, who recorded two seconds and a fourth to beat Smith and Peat by five points.
Hawke's Bay's Thomas Rumble-Faram won the $1000 rollover money for his roll of clubmate Megan Williams with seven laps remaining in the fourth heat.
The best roll of the night came in the 16-strong production saloon class. Visiting Whanganui driver Jason Pointon rolled four times after a self-inflicted incident in his first heat.
Pointon joined clubmate Grant Loveridge and Gisborne's Anton McKay as the heat winners in the class.
Hawke's Bay's Josh Smith and Kevin Martin, along with Gisborne's Hamish Moore, all had heat wins in the 11-strong saloon class. Moore produced a 17.9s lap time on the way to his victory.
Hawke's Bay's Brent Redington, who raced in the 11-car streetstock class as well as the production saloons, joined clubmate Ben Yeoman and Gisborne's Shaun Kingi as the heat winners in the streetstocks.
Some entertaining team racing tactics were attempted in the eight-strong superstock class in the countdown to this week's naming of the Hawke's Bay team for the February 3 and 4 Enzed Teams Champs in Palmerston North.
Jason Long won the first two heats before his veteran Hawke's Bay clubmate Marty Cooke beat him in the feature.
Hawke's Bay's Wayne Melling finished second in the New Zealand streetstock championship, which finished in Invercargill on Saturday night. It was an outstanding achievement from Melling as he was the sole Bay entrant in the event won by Gisborne's Brendan Gooch.
Thomas Stanaway was the best of the Hawke's Bay-contracted drivers in the world 240s superstock event which finished in Rotorua on Saturday night with a 10th placing. Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted Andy McCabe was eighth in the event won by Palmerston North's Simon Joblin.