Stockcar: Ex-lawman brings neutrality to draw

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay speedway personality Greg Zachan has had enough of being accused of rigging draws in the build-up to the Peter Barry Memorial stockcar teams event.

"You're always asked the question, there will always be doubters.

"We've asked the question when we've been away at nationals and other teams meetings, too ... Huntly do a good job by doing their draw in the crowd," Zachan said on the eve of tomorrow night's fourth annual event at Meeanee.

One of the most illustrious events on the Hawke's Bay Speedway Club's calendar it is raced in memory of Central Hawke's Bay businessman Peter Barry, who died in 2009 following a speedway accident in Palmerston North.

"Because of this event's mana I decided to bring some neutrality into the draw process and got Keith involved," Zachan said, referring to Napier City Council member, former policeman and long-time speedway supporter Keith Price, who had the honour of making the draw for the eight-team event yesterday.

"One of the reasons I handed over the Meeanee Maulers manager's job to Claire [Bunce] was because I wanted to be seen to be more neutral when I was organising this event," Zachan explained.

While Bunce prayed for a kind draw in the photo shoot at the draw, she pointed out her Maulers line-up weren't worried about who they drew.

"We're not worried ... our boys are up for it no matter who we get."

Although her troops didn't have a memorable nationals campaign this season with a ninth placing in Palmerston North, Bunce said there had been numerous positives for the Maulers this summer - in particular the form of team members during last weekend's East Coast champs.

"Three of our drivers [Randal Tarrant, Tony Palmer and Marty Cooke] finished first, second and third respectively and other members did what was asked of them in what was our final trial," Bunce said.

Her Maulers also finished fifth at the Huntly teams event in November and last month won the Clappetton Shield in their annual fixture against the Gisborne Gladiators.

Next week their season will end when they challenge the Auckland Alleycats for the Rees Shield.

The Maulers will meet the Alleycats in their second race tomorrow night.

Former Hawke's Bay driver Aaron Iremonger will race for the Alleycats.

In their first race tomorrow night the Maulers will meet the 2010 and inaugural winners of the Peter Barry Memorial, the Waikato Raiders.

National champions and winners of the last two Peter Barry Memorials will again start as favourites.

With Peter Rees, his son Asher, Gavin Taniwha, Alex Wilson, Jay Knight and Ron Tye on the team sheet it's easy to see why.

A demolition derby will be tomorrow night's other feature attraction and as part of their fundraising campaign for the Auckland trip the Maulers will raffle a car for the derby.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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