It couldn't have been more appropriate when long-time Meeanee Maulers stockcar driver Brett Loveridge claimed a second Hawke's Bay championship title at Meeanee on Saturday night.
None of the other 27 starters would have put in the same amount of hours on their car in the build-up to the championship than the self-employed auto electrician who last won the title during the 2013-14 summer. After recording sixth and eighth placings in his first two heats, Loveridge won the third heat to claim the title by one point from clubmate Craig McBeth and Ben Milne captured third place after an entertaining run-off with fellow Bay driver Regan Penn.
"Yes it has been a big couple of days to get the car ready. I left the Bay at 4am on Thursday to head up to Rotorua to see our engine builder Terry O'Connor," Loveridge explained before the prizegiving.
"Terry, who is the best in the business, had been a bit crook so he basically pointed the finger and I did the work. I got back to the Bay at 9.30 on Friday and worked on the car until 1.30 this morning [Saturday] and then was still doing strengthening work on it until late this afternoon before the meeting."
"I had a fair idea I was in with a chance of the title going into the final heat. I was off grid three so the plan was to hit the front as soon as possible and go like hell ... it worked."
Loveridge, 27, pointed out the weekend's championship was the start of a busy summer for him. As well as his racing commitments Loveridge and partner and fellow racer Stacey Smith are expecting their first child in March.
"Everything going to plan we might have some more titles to celebrate around the same time," Loveridge added.
In addition to the Hawke's Bay stockcar championship Kevin Milne Memorial Trophy titles were up for grabs in the production saloon and ministock classes. Twelve drivers, including five visitors, chased the production saloon class title.
A win, second and fifth placings were enough to give Hawke's Bay's North Island champion Denton Hodgkinson the title. Twenty-eight drivers contested the ministock title which Hawke's Bay's Liam Danielsen won after recording first, second and third placings in his three heats.
The 25th edition of the Pam Gibson Memorial Trophy was raced in the first heat for the 14-strong streetstock class. Hawke's Bay's Tim Towler, who is producing some polished rehearsals in the build-up to the Meeanee-hosted January nationals for the class, won the trophy as well as the third heat and clubmate Ben Yeoman won the second heat.
With the first round of the Burger King Pro Dirt Series for the super saloon class in Wellington rained off nine drivers decided to race at Meeanee and dished up some quality racing. Mount Maunganui's Matt Smith won the first heat and Hawke's Bay's Flynn brothers, Grant and Steve, had a win each.
Hawke's Bay's Kris Gillies and Tony Meechan and Gisborne's Dylan MacGregor all had victory laps in the 14-strong TQ class. Hawke's Bay's hubby and wife crew of Kim and Kerry Johnston won all three heats in the five-crew sidecar class.
McBeth produced the best hit in the stockcar class when he put Wellingtonian Mitchell Sveistrap up the wall in the third heat. Mount Maunganui super saloon driver Sam Waddell had the best roll with a self-inflicted one in the first heat which ended his night's racing.
The next meeting at Meeanee on November 30 will feature the Hawke's Bay streetstock championship with a field of 30 starters expected.
■ Hawke's Bay saloon class driver Kevin Martin won the Manawatu championship for his class in Palmerston North on Saturday night. Fellow Bay driver Josh Smith finished third in the event.