With 103 drivers registered, this year's TWS World Invitation Superstock Championship promised to be bigger and better than ever - and it did not disappoint.
Drivers were split into four groups and raced in three heats each at Rotorua's Paradise Valley Speedway on Friday night. The top four from each group, along with pre-qualifiers, made up the 26 drivers who raced in a three-heat final on Saturday.
Racing was fast and furious throughout and in the end the podium could only be decided with a pair of run-offs, in which two drivers race head-to-head.
After finishing on 64 points apiece after the three heats, Benji Sneddon (471P), of Palmerston North, and Thomas Stanaway (87B), of Hawke's Bay, went head-to-head in a four-lap run-off.
In what was a tight race, Stanaway put in a nice hit but got unlucky in the aftermath, sliding up the wall and hanging the front bumper on the top rope of the safety fence.
Sneddon completed his four laps to take the championship title for 2019.
It also took a run-off to decide third place after Christchurch drivers Jayden Ward (971C) and Asher Rees (126C) finished level on 60 points.
Both drivers took off fast before getting into a game of cat and mouse. They each had a few good stabs at each other but it was Ward who finished ahead and claimed the final spot on the podium.
Paradise Valley Speedway secretary Sonja Hickey said the event, which attracted more than 8000 people, was the best she had been involved with.
"We ended up having to shut the gates because we reached capacity, we couldn't get another person in the place," Hickey said.
"They were really well behaved, there wasn't a single incident, and all the feedback we got was great."
Hickey was able to sum up the racing in one word; "fast".
"The track was in great shape, the weather was right to do that. [Finishing with the run-offs] was really exciting. I've been in the sport a long time and I can remember an event where there three cars in equal first, but I've never seen an equal first and an equal third so you have two run-offs.
"That was good for the crowd, the crowd loved it."
There were also six drivers from Great Britain racing. Former champion Frankie Wainman Junior was unable to repeat his past heroics, with Lee Fairhurst the best of the foreigners finishing in 10th place.
"I think that was probably his best ever placing and he did really well because the car he was in was playing up, so he had to borrow another one. He adapted to it really quickly," Hickey said.
It was not just the superstocks putting on a show during the weekend.
Domonique O'Brien won the Redwood Butchery Aotearoa Ladies Crown, Jared Fletcher won the Eastern BOP Engineering Supplies Bay of Plenty Saloon and the Rotorua Rascals won a stockcar team race against Waikato Raiders to claim the Ross Orr Memorial Shield and Rees Shield.
- Additional reporting by Jeremy Fleming