Fans at Meeanee Speedway didn't see Hawke's Bay stockcar driver Tony Darroch collect either of the $1000 first prizes up for grabs on Sunday night.

But the crowd of just under 5000 saw Darroch, a veteran of 33 years in the sport, put his car and body on the line on opening night ... something few are prepared to do.

"I saw he was winning. You can't have out of towners clean up everything ... they need to stop that," Darroch said.

He was reflecting on his hit in the first heat for his 25-strong class which stopped talented Rotorua visitor Sheldon Arapere from winning the race.


Arapere managed to recover from the hit and finished second to Hawke's Bay's Brandon Symes before going on to finish third in heat two and first in the feature.

For Darroch, 48, the hit was the end of his night's racing.

"It wasn't so much the hit. It was just clutch problems and other early-season teething issues. But it's only a couple of nights work on the car and we'll be ready again," Darroch explained.

"You've still got to put the work in but the passion is still there," added Darroch who lied about his age when he took up racing as a 15-year-old.

"Back then you had to be 16," he recalled.

"Speedway is all about family for us. My son [Ben] races in the streetstock class and my mum [Gwen] is 83 and still comes to all my meetings," Darroch added.

Hawke's Bay's Regan Penn was the other heat winner in the stockcar class.

The $1000 first prizes were up for grabs in both the superstock and super saloon classes at the Quin Buildings Direct Grand Opening Night. Points were accumulated from Saturday night's meeting at Palmerston North and Sunday night's.

Hawke's Bay super saloon driver Grant Flynn took home the $1000 first prize for his seven-strong class.

Hawke's Bay-based-Palmerston North-contracted Mick Quin, the meeting sponsor, was second and Flynn's brother Steve third. Steve Flynn, Quin and Mount Maunganui's Matt Smith were the heat winners but Grant Flynn was the most consistent with two seconds and a fourth.

Palmerston North's Peter Bengston established a 10-point lead during Palmy's meeting for his 17-strong class.

Two third placings and eighth on Sunday night were enough for him to pocket the $1000.

Mount Maunganui's David Elsworth and the Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted Andy McCabe were second and third respectively.

McCabe won two of the heats and Elsworth the other.

Hawke's Bay saloon class driver Steven Martin had the honour of being the first competitor to end up on his lid at Meeanee this season.

He rolled on the first corner of his first heat and that was the end of his night's racing in the nine-strong class.

Hawke's Bay's Josh Smith won two of the heats in the class and Mount Maunganui's Trent Amrein the other.

Smith and clubmate Shane Laking had a spectacular battle for second place in heat two before Laking prevailed.

Hawke's Bay's second-season TQ driver Tony Meechan was in hot form in his 14-strong class.

He had a comfortable win in his first heat, a sixth in the second and a second in the feature.

Aucklanders Cieran Rose and Morgan McHugh were the other heat winners in the class.

Gisborne drivers dominated the 18-strong streetstock class.

Shaun Kingi won the first two heats and national champion Brendon Gooch the feature.

Three-time Hawke's Bay champion Brent Redington was the best of the host track drivers with a second in the feature.