It was a weekend that started full of anticipation for the Wanganui Warriors Superstock team at the 2019 ENZED Superstock Teams Championships in Palmerston North.
By Sunday night, however, Warriors were reflecting on what might have been, whilst the Canterbury Glen Eagles were celebrating their first win in 31 years of trying.
The Warriors' first race against a powerful Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes team started promisingly enough, with Chad Ace and Maddie Wise vaulting out into the lead.
Wise and Ace were then spun on Turn Three of the first lap, allowing New Zealand champion Jason Long and Thomas Stanaway through into a lead they would not relinquish.
In the Warriors' second qualifying race, the Wellington Wildcats veteran Dale Robertson was unstoppable.
Wise tried in vain to put a block on the leader, but missed by a whisker putting himself into the wall at full speed, ending his weekend.
Two losses left the Warriors out of contention for second night action.
Sunday night saw some brutal teams racing.
The top-qualifying Hawkeyes met the fourth placed Gisborne Giants in a race of attrition.
The Giants' captain Peter Rees was eliminated early in the race, but the numbers were evened up when Rees' son Ethan took Stanaway for a wild ride up the wall, then end for end onto his roof.
It was without doubt the hardest hit of the weekend.
In the second semi-final the Glen Eagles were largely untroubled by the Palmerston North Panthers, thanks to some textbook blocking from Jayden Ward and Harley Robb.
Glen Eagles captain Malcolm Ngatai took the win, but more importantly, the Canterbury team had suffered far less damage than their finals opponents, the Hawkeyes.
The run-off for third and fourth between the Wildcats and the Panthers was the best race of the weekend.
Panthers hard man Peter Bengston was parked up the wall early in the piece, and although they had three flat front tyres between them, Robertson and Paul Fairbrother kept attacking the Palmerston North cars, eventually stopping them all.
Race winner Keegan Levien was the only finisher, giving the Wildcats third place overall.
By contrast, the Grand Final was a much more tame affair.
Hawkeyes block man Mike McLachlan was put up the wall early on, and when Randall Tarrant was eliminated by Speedway NZ officials for an illegal move, the race was as good as over.
The Glen Eagles ran as a foursome, with race leader Asher Rees being protected in front and behind, and the battered Hawkeyes simply had no answer.
Ngatai and his team were jubilant afterwards, with a maiden Teams Champs victory helping to erase years of bitter disappointment for the Cantabrians.
Their teamwork was superb all weekend, and they were deserved winners.
Meanwhile, the Warriors will lick their wounds, regroup, and start to focus on next year.
The Glen Eagles have shown that even perennial bridesmaids have their day at the speedway altar.