Home track advantage proved a formidable asset on Saturday night as Rotorua drivers hogged the podium at the Transflow Ltd North Island Streetstock Championship.
Rotorua's Mike King (58R) claimed the North Island title while just behind him Shane Bracken (858R) and defending champion Steve Dryden (33R) were too close to call and had to race in a four-lap run-off for second place.
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Bracken held his nerve best to win the run-off and claim second place.
Earlier, in the first heat of the championships, David Hampton (88G) led from pole position ahead of Chris Shingleton (1NZ). Cody Gooch (6G) didn't make the it to the first corner before retiring from the race.
The bumper work started right away, several cars making good moves through the pack before on the opening laps before the battle for at the front started to heat up. Alan King (59R) and Shingleton were running first and second, aggressively making moves on each other until a bumper stuck and they both dropped back two places.
The race win went to Dryden with Bracken second and King third.
Heat two saw a hectic start with multiple cars slamming concrete or spinning out. The racing smoothed out as a group of five drivers took to the front and battled for first place. This time it was King who took the win, followed by Brent Redington (3NZ) and Shingleton.
Several cars did not make it to the start line for the third heat after some aggressive racing started to take it's toll.
The drivers were in a hurry from the get-go which led to a dust up on the first corner, out of which some of the championship front runners came out cleanly and opened a gap.
The race was win by Bracken while Jonathan Lauder (65A) was second and King third, setting up the locally dominated 45-lap final.
Paradise Valley Speedway secretary Sonja Hickey said it was a "really entertaining" night of racing.
"It was a really good meeting and the Streetstock racing was great. It was a good crowd - for what the meeting was, I was really pleased with the crowd.
"It was a local first, second and third which is great. It's very cool, having the run off for second place gave the crowd some more excitement as well. The Rotorua guys are usually up there, we have the current 1NZ and last year these same three were first, second and third as well so it was a repeat of last year.
"We do have a pretty good crew of Streetstock racers, it has to be said."
Hickey said racing at home was always an advantage, especially at Paradise Valley Speedway.
"Knowing the track helps in Rotorua because it's a tricky little track. It's got one tight bend and with gearing and stuff it does make a bit of difference having home town advantage."
Now, the Paradise Valley Speedway crew will have just a few days to put their feet up now before getting into preparations for the TWS World 240s on January 24-25, the venue's biggest event of the year.
Last year the World 240s attracted more than 100 drivers, including six from Great Britain, as well as more than 8000 spectators.
"It's going to be huge," Hickey said.
North Island Streetstock podium
1st Mike King (58R) - 74 points
2nd Shane Bracken (858R) - 68 points (won run-off for second)
3rd Steve Dryden (33R) - 68 points