Speedway: Tollison keeps sights on title

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay speedway driver James Tollison has ruled out a permanent switch to stockcars next summer despite a memorable debut in the class on Saturday night.

"I've still got unfinished business in TQs ... I want a national title in the class," Tollison explained.

Fans would have forgiven the eight-year veteran of the TQ class and former ministock driver if he made the switch to stockcars following his third placing in the 21-car Bay championship at ZM Meeanee Speedway.

"Basically the aim was to go out and have a bit of fun in the car and make it visible on the track as Shane is trying to sell it," Tollison said, referring to the stockcar's owner Shane Lawson. "To end up third was quite amazing."

He finished second in his first heat despite spinning with two laps remaining after starting off pole. Earlier Tollison played right midfielder for his Napier City Rovers soccer team who kept their division four top-of-the-league status with a 2-all draw with Maycenvale United.

His Hawke's Bay clubmate Tony "Shiny" Palmer won the championship for a third time.

Palmer won the first and third heats and finished fourth in the second to take the title by six points from promising clubmate Randal Tarrant who finished five points ahead of Tollison.

"I didn't think it would be that easy. Staying out of trouble was the key," Palmer said.

"I was surprised nobody had a go at me particularly the visitors from Palmerston North," added Palmer who will attempt to win a fourth title next season.

The evening's feature was the inaugural Steve Jude Motors Under-25 Grand Nationals for Superstocks which attracted 15 starters. Rotorua's David Elsworth, who last month won the East Coast championship at Meeanee, was a convincing winner with a start-to-finish victory in the 15-lap final. Elsworth won the first heat, finished second in the second and recorded the fastest lap time of 18.61s in the top 10 shootout to secure pole for the final.

Quinn Ryan was the only Bay driver to record a top three finish during the three heats. Jason Long did the best of the Bay drivers on the overall standings with a sixth and the Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted Shane Mellsop was fifth.

Gisborne's Jonathan Morley and the Bay pair of Regan Penn and Trent Palamountain all had turns with the chequered flag in the ministock class. Saloon action saw Bay's Steven Martin claim two victories and his brother Kevin one.

Bay's Bryce Jensen won an action-packed 13-car Caravan Derby which ended the meeting.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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