Former Taranaki Speedway legend Graeme (Skinny) Colson made one last return to Stratford Speedway on Saturday night.
Graeme was a local Speedway hero when he raced a Super Saloon out of Stratford Speedway in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. Through his Super Saloon career he won the New Zealand Championship twice, the North Island Championship twice and the New Zealand Grand Prix five times along with a host of regional titles throughout the country.
Fifteen or so years ago he took up Sprintcar racing and has raced in that class ever since, with the odd dabble in a Saloon here and there. Now living in Tauranga, Graeme announced earlier this season that this would be his last and he put together a farewell tour which included racing in the Taranaki Sprintcar Champs on Saturday night.
Although he didn't win the event, he did win the first race and the hearts of his fans who were pleased to see him scorching his way around the Stratford oval once again.
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Stephen Taylor was the standout driver in the nine-car field of Sprintcars. After finishing second in race one behind Graeme, he went on to win the next two races after making spectacular passes around the outside to win the champs. Kihikihi racer Brian Edwards was second while defending champion Greg Pickerill came home third overall.
After three races William Hughes and Carol Podjursky were tied on points for the Alan Hancock Stockcar Memorial. William delivered a solid hit to Carol in a four lap run off to decide the winner, sending her spinning out of control and leaving him to complete the run off to win.
Emilio Hatcher was third. Codey Wilton won the Warren Lowry Memorial for the best stirrer and picked up some decent prize money from H&H Transport to go with it while Tyler Walker grabbed the $800 roll over money that was on offer courtesy of Munchies Express.
Fifty-two Youth Ministocks were on hand to race for the Youth Spectacular. After qualifying relatively easily, Caleb Coxhead went on to win the event from Rotorua racer Terrence Dorrell by one point while Stratford driver Regan Ogle was third.
The tier two event for the 26 drivers that didn't qualify for the main show had the same track representation on the podium. This time with Stratford driver Peter Grayling winning from Rotorua's Jack Cunningham-Moffitt while Luca Ward (Stratford) was third.
Superstock race wins were shared by Dale Michielsen, Blair Uhlenberg and Hamish Booker but it was Uhlenberg who was consistent enough to win the King of the Mountain champs for the class by three points. Kihikihi contracted driver Mitch Vickery beat Blake Adamson in a run off for second place after the pair were tied on points.
■ The next race meeting at MG Taranaki Stratford Speedway is on March 13 and will feature the Taranaki Saloon Champs.