Circuit craft gives Barr third title

By Staff Reporter

Graeme Barr successfully defended his North Island Superstock crown at Oceanview Speedway on Monday afternoon.

The Taranaki-based, Palmerston North-registered driver had to wait 24 hours to stake his claim to the title following the rainout of the scheduled finals night on Sunday evening.

This did not deter the wily veteran from stamping his class on the field with an impressive 65- point haul from a possible 72.

Barr's affection for the event extends back to 1985/86 when he was placed second at Stratford in the corresponding event. His victory on Monday was his third, with the first in Auckland in 1988/89 and the second last year in Wellington.

Barr made the most of the No1 marble to secure a comparatively easy win in the first heat. But his most decisive result of the meeting came when he clambered his way up from grid 14 in the second heat to finish third.

Barr had previously raced this season at Oceanview in the West Coast Champs and his knowledge of the correct set-up was obvious as he looked more comfortable than the locals.

Casualties from the first two heats left only 16 cars on the grid for heat three, which played into Barr's hands, given the difficulty of his 26 draw on the grid. Barr did not take long to carve off the necessary places to sit comfortably in sixth place in the knowledge that his nearest rivals would be unable to topple him from his perch.

Those nearest rivals were the second and third-placed overall Joblin brothers, Scott and Simon, who like Barr are Taranaki-based but operate with a "P" on the door. It was a good afternoon for the mountain men all around as Taranaki drivers filled five of the top 10 spots. The final results were a telltale sign of the current strength of the class, with Palmerston North-registered drivers filling the first seven placings.

Heat winners were Barr, Scott Joblin and Wellington's Dale Robertson.

Qualifying on Saturday evening produced several shocks, with the current 1NZ Joe Faram and 2NZ Kerry Humphrey succumbing to engine gremlins, missing out on automatic entry in to the finals. Wanganui drivers did not fare any better, with Darryl Taylor, Richard Watkins and Scott Duncan all having nights they would prefer to forget.

However, Carl Burns and Bob Smith did manage to make it into the top 26.

The 24-hour rain delay handed a lifeline to Duncan, Watkins and Humphrey who all were reinstated in the field following withdrawals from the original 26 qualifiers.

But Wanganui drivers will want to forget the championship meeting in a hurry. Burns was the shining light with a solid first heat, backed up by running inside the top six in the second before the motor failed and killed off his challenge.

Watkins and Smith were DNF's in the first heat while Duncan had handling and car issues before not being sighted in the last heat.

The Superstock action was supported by Stockcar, Golden Oldie Stockcar and Adult Ministock races to keep the large crowd entertained.

Kyle Heibner impressed in the borrowed Les Ogle Superstock, while Gisborne-registered Ian Barron proved to the best of the stockcars.

Wins were shared around in the Adult Ministocks, with Palmerston North's Blake Barnett and Daniel Gubb, Stratford's Jared Pryce and Wanganui's Ross Travers all getting the chance to wave the chequered flag.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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