Just like every other team that arrived in Stratford on Friday to contest the Colonel Malone's/Five Star Liquor New Zealand Stockcar Teams Championship, the Wellington Young Guns Stockcar team arrived with the intent of winning the championship and taking the event back to their home track.
However, unlike every other team, the team from the Capital City did just that. Unbeaten all weekend (all season in fact), the Wellington Young Guns were in top form and raced hard to win every race, survived setbacks that included Keegan Levien bending his chassis on Friday night and key team member Dale Robertson not being able to take part in the final to finish the night victorious and beat the reigning champions, the Stratford Stormers in the final.
Qualifying night had 11 teams taking part with the top eight moving through to the quarter finals on Saturday night.
There was some brutal hits and good racing in the qualifying rounds and after 11 teams races (two per team), the eight teams to move through to the quarter finals were found - Wellington Young Guns, Waikato Raiders, Palmerston North Pumas, Kihikihi Crusaders, Auckland Alleycats, Rotorua Rascals, Stratford Stormers and the Meeanee Maulers.
Two of the most damaging hits meant Palmerston North Puma Daniel Burmeister had his engine destroyed by a Stockcar bumper. He was able to source a replacement while the bent chassis of Keegan Levien was repaired overnight at Rees Race Cars in Foxton.
On finals night the eight qualifying teams had to race quarter finals, semi-finals and then the final before the winner was found. With the points system used in qualifying being changed to first past the post for the finals, the racing action turned up a notch or two as teams only had to concentrate on having one of their drivers win the race instead of worrying about points.
The Wellington Young Guns beat the Meeanee Maulers in the first quarter final. Rotorua Rascals beat the Palmerston North Pumas in the second. Stratford Stormers moved through to the semis after beating the Waikato Raiders in the third quarter final and the Auckland Alleycats nabbed the last semi-final spot after beating the Kihikihi Crusaders.
The Young guns then went on to win their semi-final against the Rotorua Rascals when they took control of the race after a red light in the early stages while the Stratford Stormers beat Auckland after Bevan Phillips held up the Auckland leader Jordan Baldwin with just two laps to go, allowing Tyler Walker past to take the win for the Stormers.
The Wellington Young Guns won the final after a tough battle with the Stratford Stormers. Keegan Levien led the race for the duration and was superbly protected by his team mates.
At one point it looked as though Tyler Walker was going to be able to challenge for the lead but he lost an ignition wire after hitting a Wellington block car which caused his car to roll to a stop.
A well-deserved win for the Young Guns who were at the top of their game all weekend.
Rotorua were third overall after beating Auckland in the race for third and fourth place.
The Buckthought Engineering second tier event was won by the Canterbury Crushers from the Gisborne Gladiators while Nelson's Tasman Thunder were third.
On Saturday night a field of nine competitors contested the FieldTorque Taranaki Modified Champs.
Wellington driver and current New Zealand number two Blair McPhee was just a little too quick for the locals and won the event by two points from John Jackson after recording a first, second and fourth placings. Blair Luscombe was third.
Colonel Malone's/Five Star Liquor New Zealand Stockcar Teams Championship final placings: 1st - Wellington Young Guns 2nd - Stratford Stormers 3rd - Rotorua Rascals 4th - Auckland Alleycats 5th - Palmerston North Pumas 6th - Waikato Raiders 7th - Meeanee Maulers 8th - Kihikihi Crusaders
The next race meeting at Stratford Speedway is this coming Saturday, March 7 and will feature the Taranaki Streetstock and Youth Ministock Champs along with the Saloon Heritage Shield, Stockcars, Modifieds and Midgets. Gates open at 5pm and racing starts at 7pm.