Speedway: McKay in class of his own

By Shane Hurndell

Solobike rider Jason McKay clocks up the kilometres to race in Hawke's Bay so it was only fair he stole the limelight during Saturday night's speedway meeting at Meeanee.

McKay, 34, who lives in Palmerston North but has been contracted to the Hawke's Bay club for the past three seasons, won his first two heats and was leading the third when he fell off his bike on the first corner of the second to last lap. He quickly got to his feet, got back on his 500cc Jawa-powered bike and passed clubmate Graham Wedlake on the final corner of the last lap to secure a third consecutive chequered flag.

"I got him around the outside too," McKay boasted afterwards, adding to the enormity of the feat.

"I love the Bullring track here at Meeanee, the atmosphere here and I have a bit to do with Darrin [class organiser Darrin Wilson] so that's why I choose to race here."

The reason for his fall?

"The track was a bit patchy in the first outing of the season for the class but it was the same for everyone," McKay replied.

The veteran of eight years in the class couldn't complete a clean sweep of four wins as he was forced to retire with one lap remaining in his fourth heat in his eight-strong class.

"My clutch spring came out so the best thing to do was to pull off," McKay said.

He won the Hawke's Bay championship two seasons ago but lost it last season when he fell on the last corner of the deciding race and was passed by Craig Ramsay who went on to capture the title.

"My goal is to get the title back this season. But it's going to be tough with the likes of Craig [Ramsay] and Bradley Wilson-Dean who will be among the starters again," he said.

There were few hits in the 17-strong stockcar class which saw Bay veteran Tony Palmer win two of the three heats and his promising clubmate Randal Tarrant the other. The most memorable hit saw second season Meeanee Mauler Brett Loveridge put fellow Bay driver Jason Penn into the wall.

Superstock action saw Tony Meechan win two of the three heats and Bay clubmate Steve Jude the other in a 12-strong class.

Steven Martin won all three heats in the saloon class but had to work hard for his third heat victory over Bay clubmate Tim Towler. Hawke's Bay's super saloon national champion Steve Flynn raced with the seven saloon starters and with his one lap handicap could only manage one podium finish on the slick track.

The Hawke's Bay pair of Trent Palamountain and Max Bayley and Palmerston North visitor David Marshall all had turns with the chequered flag in the 21-strong ministock class.

Former national champions Sefton and Clint Truuts won two of the three heats in the sidecar class and their Bay clubmates Troy Devery and Pete Steigenberger the other.

A spectacular 10-minute Thirsty Whale-sponsored fireworks display was the halftime entertainment. Longtime regulars among the 3300 fans described the display as the loudest and the most intense in the history of the displays at the club.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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