After always suffering from bad luck at her previous attempts, Whanganui racer Jemma Barnes had the stars align for her when she won the Taranaki Adult Ministock Champs at MG Taranaki Stratford Speedway last Saturday night.
Racing against eighteen other drivers in the competitive field, Barnes started her championship bid the best way possible when she won the first race from a grid one start.
She then drove a brilliant race in race two and made up many places to come home fourth from grid sixteen before finishing second in race three from grid eight, cementing her position at the top of the leader board.
Barnes won the Taranaki Champs three points clear of nearest rival Roger Dettling, while Gary Adamson beat Nathan Nolly in a four-lap run-off to decide third place after the pair were tied on points.
The biggest field of saloons to race so far this season contested the Heritage Shield, with visiting drivers from Palmerston North, Kihikihi and Auckland helping boost the numbers.
The races were won by David Ingram, Josh Smith and Craig Korff.
It was Korff who was the most consistent driver and won the event after finishing second in race one and third in a race along with the win in race three to amass enough points to be the clear winner.
Josh Smith and Ted Ingram were tied for second place so a four-lap run-off was utilised to determine the minor places on the podium. Smith got the jump at the start and led for the duration to claim second with Ingram third.
Fourteen streetstocks graced the Stratford oval to race for their Best Pairs trophy, the field consisting of 12 local drivers along with two Wellington competitors who had made the trip to go racing.
With each driving in the pairings accruing points for their overall total, there were some interesting antics on the track throughout the night.
Ron Washer won the first race from Blake Dormer while Adam Young claimed the victory in race two and Nic Smith, who was leading the first race until he was spun, finally got his chequered flag in race three.
Points wise, Nick McGrath-John Young and Blake Dormer-Ron McGrath were tied at the top of the table.
A run-off with all four competitors determined the winning pair with Nick McGrath and John Young showing their dominance on the track to be clear winners. Adam Young and Ron Washer were third.
With the Stratford Stormers away racing in Palmerston North, the stockcar field was slightly smaller than usual.
However, with stirrers' money on offer, there was plenty happening in each of the three races. The first race was won by South Island driver Jack Honeybone (he is touring the country with Rob Mitchell, and the pair are racing at as many tracks as possible).
Race two was won by Ryan Nolly and Kylee Symes won race three. Emilio Hatcher and visiting Gisborne competitor Nigel Hazelton were judged to be the best stirrers and shared the cash that was on offer.
In the supporting superstock class, races were won by Hamish Booker, Haydin Barker and Brad Uhlenberg while wins in the large 16-car minisprint field went the way of Mark Phipps, Cameron Hurley and Daniel Nickel.
The night ended with a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of Hinton Contracting.
The next race meeting is on Saturday, and will feature the King of the Mountain Midget Champs, Stockcar Best Pairs and the Olsen Streetstock Memorial. The racing starts at 7pm.