A cold south-easterly wind blew across Supercheap Auto Oceanview Family Speedway on Saturday night, but on the track, the action was red hot.
A good crowd was on hand to watch the first two West Coast titles of the season decided, along with the opening round of the Oval Superstars Tour.
Sixteen cars fronted for the West Coast Stockcars title, a smaller than expected field due to early-season blues.
Palmerston North driver Jackson Booth (12P) took the opening heat from Steve Read (42V) and Gerry Linklater (98V).
Dion Mooney, his stockcar clad in a Nelson Tigers body after damage last week, led early but slipped back when his car went off-song.
Booth, a new entrant to the Stockcar class from Youth Ministocks, quickly discovered the reality of being the lone P car at Whanganui in the form of Mooney, who blocked him throughout the race.
To Booth's credit, he didn't back away from the scrap. Linklater looked set to take a comfortable win until he suffered a fuel pump issue late in the race.
That left Callum Sturzaker (15V) in the lead, and he took the win in just his second race in the Stockcar class, coming from the back of the grid.
Trazarn Ryland-Annabell (33V) was second, with Shane Kells (87V) coming home in third.
After two heats, Sturzaker and Ryland-Annabell led with 27 points each, while two fourth placings put Chet Swan (9V) one point back in third, with Read, Kells and Linklater still in contention.
Mark Johnston (78V) won the final heat from the front row, but the action was happening behind him.
Ryland-Annabell was squeezed into the wall early in the race, pushing a wheelguard against his left rear tyre.
He tried to continue but his title quest was over after six laps.
Linklater chased hard, but couldn't catch Johnston, while Swan drove a heady race for third.
Read came home in fourth, ahead of Francis Potaka (52V) and Sturzaker.
When the points were added up, Swan took his first West Coast title, a reward for his consistency on the night.
Sturzaker's Stockcar debut saw him finish second, with Steve Read completing an all-Whanganui podium.
In the Superstocks, 13 fronted, with cars from Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North and Whanganui on hand.
Scooter McIntosh (22V) took the first heat, holding off a charge from Wayne Hemi (591P) in the closing laps.
Jordan Dare (2NZ) passed his team-mate Hemi on the line to grab second place.
Kenley Brown (17P) made no race of the second heat, beating home Hemi and young Whanganui driver Max Holloway (81V).
McIntosh's charge for the title stalled when he was walled at the northern end, and lost several places before recovering to finish ninth.
Hemi had the points lead after two heats, two points ahead of Dare, with Holloway, McIntosh, Jake Baker (36P) and Rebecca Barr (34P) all tied three points further back.
That set the scene for an exciting third heat, and it didn't disappoint.
Rebecca Barr leapt into the lead in Heat Three, and held on for an excellent win.
Holloway's race was over on the first lap when he clipped the wall on the back straight and rolled.
He was the collected by Jayme Hemi in the 571P Tank, carried along for several seconds, then rolled again.
Both Holloway and Hemi were uninjured, but their cars were parked.
Later in the race Wayne Hemi slowed markedly.
Baker came up behind him, and believing Hemi was blocking, put in a huge shot that spun both cars around.
Hemi responded by punting Baker's car to the infield, and their battle continued for half a lap before Baker's car expired.
Hemi limped to the finish to pick up valuable points. Dare finished the race in second, with McIntosh showing good pace for third.
Dare took the title on 33 points, with Hemi and Barr tied on 31, two ahead of McIntosh.
A run off was held where Barr got the initial jump, then was spun by Hemi on the first turn.
Hemi's car also turned around, and Barr was the fastest to recover, going on to win and claim second place.
Seventeen cars entered for the opening round of the Oval Superstars Tour.
The warm-up was as good as it got for defending series champion Christian Hermansen (1NZ), when his new car developed electrical gremlins on the grid and his night was ended.
Karl McGill (93P) took the first heat win, Nathan Jefferies (8P) took the second, and Shane Dewar (41P) took an incident-packed third heat which saw Glen McCutcheon's 44P car tip over and then a few laps later a four car collision on the southern bend.
With a win and a third place from his two heats, McGill earned pole position for the 20-lap final, the Oval Open.
Donald Kuriger (38S) took the other place on the front row with Todd Phillips (37P), Lydia Dickinson (75S) and Jordan McLeod (97P) filling the next places on the grid.
Fifteen cars started the final, but it was a race of attrition with several yellow flags, and another multi-car pile up at the southern end.
McGill would build up a lead, only to see it erased each time the yellow lights came on.
He showed composure however to nail the restarts, and he powered away to win by four seconds from Dewar, with Jefferies in third.
In the process McGill broke Hermansen's lap record, setting a new mark of 13.794, outstanding speed on a track that was starting to slick off at the end of the meeting.
Grant Loveridge (7V) took a clean sweep of wins in the Brian FM Production Saloons, whilst Seth Hodge (12P) with two wins and Louis Redshaw (7P) were winners in the Remax Realty Youth Ministocks.
A good field of sidecars turned on some terrific racing, with John Hannan/Bryce Rose (19V) almost taking a clean sweep, but not being able to catch Wingnut/Braden Rose (5P) in the final race after a slow start.
It was an excellent night's racing, and the Wanganui Stockcar and Speedway Club especially thanks all those competitors who travelled to compete. After a week off next weekend, racing will resume on November 25 at 7pm.