Some signwriting on the back of Hawke's Bay super saloon driver Steve Flynn's car at the weekend suggested he was on a mission.
R.I.P Neville Price were the words. Price, who died last Wednesday after a five-year battle with cancer, gave Flynn his first job as an engineer when he was 19.
"Apart from a couple of stints overseas all of my working career has been for him. All of the racing cars I've had since 1993 have been built in his shed ... those two titles I won this weekend are dedicated to Neville," Flynn, 45, a veteran of 24 seasons' racing, said on Saturday night at Meeanee Speedway.
He was about to receive the silverware for taking out the eight-car Hawke's Bay championship which he has won by three points from Mount Maunganui's Garry Edwards. Twenty-four hours earlier Flynn beat Edwards by one point in the East Coast championship. Mount Maunganui's Matt Smith finished third in both events.
A night after finishing second to Kihikihi's Jared Wade in the 19-car East Coast Superstock championship by three points, Hawke's Bay's Quinn Ryan won the 20-lap winner-takes-all final in the 24-car Autumn Nationals event from grid two.
Fifteen of the 21 cars which started the final didn't finish it. Hawke's Bay's 1NZ Jason Long rolled out of contention on lap two and this was his second rollover for the night. Hawke's Bay's Maddie Wise did well to finish second from grid 12 and Palmerston North's Chad Ace was third.
While Flynn and Ryan's feats were tremendous, Hawke's Bay TQ driver Duane Todd's winning of the 19-car 20-lapper in his class from grid two was also commendable. Aucklander Ryan Barry withdrew with mechanical issues on lap 14, Todd taking the lead from that point and never relinquishing it.
Seven of the starters didn't finish the race, including Aucklanders Lawrence Baker and 2NZ Peter Hunnibell, who both rolled out of contention. Aucklander Cole Morrison won the 22-car East Coast TQ championship on Friday night from Hunnibell and third placegetter Ryan MacGregor of Gisborne.
It wasn't a memorable weekend for both Hawke's Bay teams in the seventh completed edition of the Peter Barry Memorial Stockcar Teams event. The Meeanee Maulers and Orange Roughies finished seventh and eighth respectively in the eight-team event, which is staged in memory of Central Hawke's Bay businessman and farmer Peter Barry, who died in 2009 after a speedway accident.
The Auckland Alleycats won the title for the first time with a victory over national champions the Stratford Stormer, in the final. Hayden Hart secured the victory for the Alleycats and other members of the team were Corey Baker, Dave Moore, Gary Lonergan, Keegan Orr and sixth driver Logan Peat.
"This title has eluded us for a while ... the boys were pumped for it," elated Alleycats manager Geoff Cook said afterwards.
"Gary [Lonergan] and I have been chasing it for four years and this is the last of the major teams titles for our class both he and I have been waiting to win.
"You can put it down to car reliability and the boys working so well together. There are no individuals in this team and each of the boys are happy to sit it out if required. Obviously there is a little bit of luck involved," Cook said.
While Hart has moved to Hawke's Bay, Cook said most of the squad are likely to be available again next year.
"We've got a big squad and there are a lot of good stockcars in Auckland at the moment," Cook added.
Mount Maunganui's Lucas Lowe won the 33-car East Coast ministock championship on Friday night by two points from Hawke's Bay's Bailey Warner. Hawke's Bay's Trent McCann finished a further five points back in third place.
Kihikihi's Daniel Curran won the 22-car East Coast streetstock championship on Saturday night. Hawke's Bay's 3NZ Brent Redington beat Gisborne's Cody Gooch in a run-off for second.