No spare parts sees wheels fall off champ's race bid


One had to laugh at the irony as Hawke's Bay streetstock driver David Hampton reflected on his weekend of racing yesterday.

Hampton won the national championship in Gisborne on Friday night and was on target to complete a memorable double when the New Zealand Grand Prix for his class was staged at ZM Meeanee Speedway on Saturday night.

However, a lack of parts meant Hampton was unable to start in the final two races of the Grand Prix after a puncture forced him out of the first finals heat.

A lack of parts? This bloke is an automotive technician for Napier Auto Supplies, one of the major sponsors of his car.

"We live in Patoka and because we had to do a major rebuild on the car on Saturday after getting back from Gisborne we didn't have time to get into town to get more parts ... we've been on the road for the last three weeks," Hampton, 43, said.

There was no way Hampton, who boasts the nickname "Duck", was going to let Saturday night's early finish to his night's racing reduce the jubilation from the previous night.

"It was awesome. My previous best in the nationals was third and that was back in the 1990-91 season," Hampton recalled.

He has been involved in speedway racing for 28 years and has raced in the streetstock class for 19 of them. Hampton spent six years in the saloon class and three in the stockcar class.

This season, he contracted to Gisborne and he believed this was a key factor in his success at the 64-car championship.

"We all supported one another and the top six finishers all came from Gisborne. I've raced up there for the last eight or nine years ... there are more cars, it's a nice track and it's fast," Hampton said.

He qualified top in his group the previous Friday and, in the three championship heats for the 26 qualifiers on Friday night, recorded two third placings and a fifth.

"I'm getting close to retirement but I intend to go to Dunedin next year to try and retain the title," Hampton added.

Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted superstock driver Andy McCabe was also in celebration mode at the weekend. McCabe won the world invitation championship for his class in Rotorua on Saturday night to enhance his favourite's tag for the January 27 and 28 nationals in Huntly.

McCabe won the championship by four points from Rotorua's David Elsworth and Palmerston North's Peter Bengston was third. Great Britain's Paul Harrison was the best of the overseas competitors with a fourth placing and Joe Faram was the best of the Hawke's Bay contracted drivers with a sixth in the event which began with 58 starters on Friday night.

On Saturday night, McCabe finished sixth in his first race off grid 20, fourth in his second off grid seven and third in his third off grid 13.

Canterbury's James Robinson took home the New Zealand Streetstock Grand Prix title on Saturday night.

Stephen de Malmanche of Rotorua was second and Gisborne's Brendon Gooch repeated his third placing from the previous night's nationals.

Hawke's Bay drivers had better luck in Saturday night's other feature attraction; the inaugural Best Pairs for stockcars. The Bay's Jason Penn and Palmerston North's Jordan Dare were the winners of the 19-team event.

The Palmy pair of Jared Lamb and Brian Taniwha were second and Hawke's Bay's Jemma Palmer and Palmerston North's Grant Hollyman third. Some of the best stirring action saw Hawke's Bay's Matt Gautrey roll Wanganui's Hilton Parker in their first heat, Hawke's Bay's Aaron Iremonger walled in the final and the Bay's Marty Cooke given a ride on top of the safety wall for almost a lap by Palmy's Jayden Ward.

These drivers have been named in the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes Superstock team for next month's annual teams event in Palmerston North: Murray Long, Steve Jude, Garry Foley, Mike McLachlan, Joe Faram. Sixth driver: Wally True.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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