A sense of relief was easy to detect after Quinn Ryan won the Hawke's Bay superstock championship at Meeanee on Saturday night.
"After three second placings and a third I've finally got the title," Ryan, 24, remarked after he beat fellow Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes driver and national and North Island titleholder Jason Long in a four-lap run off for the title in the 18-car championship.
Ryan, who runs Q & R Welding and Fabrication, was quick to acknowledge how crucial the toss of the coin was before the run off.
"I won the toss and I knew whoever picked pole would have the advantage because the track was quite boggy out wide. I was able to shove Jason out wide and take off from there. It was a good confidence booster for next weekend," Ryan said referring to the Auckland-hosted national teams championship.
Ryan was also quick to heap kudos on fellow Hawkeyes Mike McLachlan and Randal Tarrant for the work they did in blocking out of towners, former 1NZ William Humphries of Palmerston North and Kihi Kihi's Jared Wade out of contention for the title. Humphries ended up third, one point behind Ryan and Long.
"I also must thank Shane [retired two-time national champion Penn] for all of his advice as well as James Buckrell and his family, my other sponsors and my crew," Ryan added.
Round five of seven in the Oval Superstars Minisprint Series, the Battle of the Bay, attracted 12 starters. Palmerston North's 2NZ Shane Dewar took out the 25-lap feature and recorded a 15.3s lap time in the process.
Huntly's 3NZ Ben Vaughan, who started from pole, and Palmerston North's Glen McCutcheson had a spectacular battle for second place before Vaughan prevailed.
The fact there was only one caution in the 25-lapper reflected how clean racing in the class was throughout the night.
Dewar and Palmerston North's 1NZ Christian Hermansen won the earlier heats. Hermansen didn't finish the second heat and was unable to start in the 25 lapper because of a battery alternator issue.
Nine drivers chased the Hawke's Bay production saloon championship title. Rotorua's Grant LoverIdge won the title by one point from Hawke's Bay's Denton Hodgkinson and Huntly's Peter Craddock was five points behind Hodgkinson in third place.
Hawke's Bay drivers dominated the chequered flag in the 32-strong ministock class. Harry Prince won two of the heats while Thomas McEwen, Liam Danielsen and Ryan Dorward had one win each.
Meanwhile the Meeanee Maulers stockcar team finished sixth in their 13-team New Zealand Teams Championship at Stratford on Saturday night.
The Andrew Powell managed team of Brandon Symes, Brett Loveridge, Andre Stenson, Cameron Swift, Regan Penn and Daniel Melling beat the Canterbury Crushers and lost to the Kihi Kihi Crusaders before losing to the Rotorua Rascals in their quarter-final.
Powell had only three fit drivers, sixth man Melling, Penn and Loveridge, for their race for fifth place against the Wellington Young Guns which they lost.
Symes was nagged by illness throughout the meeting, Swift was knocked out in the race against Rotorua and was unable to race against the Young Guns and Stenson was in hospital after being on the receiving end of a huge hit against the Rascals.
"Yes we are disappointed with a sixth placing but we have a good base to build on for the future," Powell said.
He heaped praise on the crews of the drivers who only had three hours to work on the cars between sessions as the two-night meeting was reduced to one after Friday night was rained off.
"It's tough enough when you have the next day to work on your cars at these type of meetings. So for the crews to do what they did in three hours was outstanding," Powell added.
The Stratford Stormers retained their title and will host the event again next year.