The first championships of the 2019-20 speedway season will be decided at Fast Lane Spares Oceanview Family Speedway tomorrow night.

Up for grabs is the West Coast Sidecars title, and the Ray Purdy Memorial for Production Saloons.

"Uncle Ray" Purdy was a mainstay of the Saloon class at Oceanview for many years prior to his untimely death.

His competition highlight was a third placing in the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship at Dunedin in 1984-85.

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Brent Hackett (434V) will start the Ray Purdy Memorial as favourite, but will face tough competition from fellow local Shayne Hughes (23V).

Whanganui-domiciled but Rotorua contracted Grant Loveridge (7R) will be the biggest outside threat, with a number of Hawke's Bay drivers also expected.

At least ten combinations are expected to contest the West Coast Sidecars.

Heading the field will be the defending champions, Aaron and Bryce Rose (34V).

The local brothers have had a slow start to the season, with engine damage in their first outing at Palmerston North.

A trip to the South Island last week netted two wins, then a crash.

With the damage repaired, the Rose brothers will be keen to continue their winning ways.

The Rose brothers Aaron and Bryce will look to defend their West Coast Sidecars title
The Rose brothers Aaron and Bryce will look to defend their West Coast Sidecars title

Competition will come from two-time New Zealand champions Russell Stuart and Andrew Parker, and the form combination of the season to date in Rob Miller and Red George.

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The local Superstock field will be a little depleted tonight, with the Wanganui Warriors travelling to Gisborne for a rare early season teams race.

The Warriors team is Shaun Smith (53V), Max Holloway (81V), Shane Kells (87V), Sheridan O'Hara (9V) and Cameron Jurgens (77V), who will act as the reserve driver.

However their absence will be well and truly offset by the appearance of current 1NZ Jason Long, from Hawke's Bay.

The son of Hawkeyes legend Murray Long, Jason is a talented all-round sportsman, also representing Hawke's Bay in rugby in the Mitre 10 Cup.

Long had a breakthrough season last year, winning both the North Island and New Zealand Superstock titles.

He will be making his season debut in a brand new car which still had finishing touches being applied to it late this week.

With Palmerston North and Hawke's Bay not running this weekend, and the Superstock class being stood down at Stratford for the night, plenty of visiting cars are expected.

It will also be a rare night for the Stockcar class, with not a Mooney family driver in sight.
Father and son duo Dion and Kaelin Mooney have accepted invitations to race in an elite 30-car field for stockcars at the Coalface at Huntly.

With the 1NZ, 2NZ and 3NZ Stockcars on hand, as well as a host of drivers from around the North Island, this will be a big step up for Kaelin Mooney.

For Dion, it will be a return to the track where he earned the first of two successive 2NZ's, four years ago.

The local Stockcar class will be bolstered by the first appearance of Trazarn Ryland-Annabell in the new 33V car, and by Jason Wright, whose first meeting in his new 19V car ended with engine damage.

Youth and Adult Ministocks complete tomorrow's programme, and racing gets underway at 7pm.

Tomorrow marks the start of a busy period for the Wanganui Stockcar and Speedway Club, with meetings on four consecutive weekends.

Racing continues on Sunday, December 1, and Sunday, December 8 from 5pm, then Saturday, December 14.

After that, there's a brief Christmas break before the Elite Mechanical New Zealand Superstock Championship on January 3-4, one of the biggest meetings the club has promoted for many years.

It's an exciting time to be a speedway fan in the River City.