Another warm afternoon in Whanganui let to a hot night's action at Fast Lane Spares Oceanview Family Speedway on Saturday.
The first titles of the season were decided at Oceanview, while at the same time further afield, local Dion Mooney took out the first prize of $3000 at Stockcars at the Coalface meeting in Huntly.
Mooney dominated the elite field with two wins and a second placing from his three heats.
And out east at Gisborne, the Wanganui Warriors went down to the Gisborne Giants in a Superstock teams race.
Team manager Cameron Jurgens, while disappointed with the result, could not fault the effort of the Warriors drivers – many of whom were having their first taste of Superstock team action.
The Palmerston North-contracted Sidecar combination of Rob Millar and Red George (8P) has made a dominant start to the 2019-20 season.
That continued on Saturday night at Oceanview, as they won the West Coast Sidecars with a perfect three wins from three starts, for maximum points.
The stage was set for a possible run-off with defending champions Aaron and Bryce Rose (34V), with both teams winning their opening two heats.
That went out the window for the local team when the bike lost traction out wide on the first turn of the final heat, relegating the Rose Brothers to fourth place in that race.
However the point they secured was enough for second place for the night.
Two-time New Zealand champions Russell Stuart and Andrew Parker (46P) placed third after winning a three-way runoff.
As a tribute to the late Ray Purdy, Production Saloon racer Shayne Hughes showed up in the same Honda CRX car with which he had won the first Ray Purdy Memorial.
Although the car was still quick, he was no match for Rotorua-contracted driver Grant Loveridge (7R) who won the first two heats and placed second in the third.
Loveridge was in dominant form and in winning the second heat, reclaimed the Oceanview lap record from Brent Hackett (434V) with a 17.06 second circuit.
Nathan Smith (29V) drove brilliantly to win Heat 3, and was tied for second on points with Hackett.
After a four-lap run-off, Hackett secured the second step of the podium, with Smith finishing an impressive night third overall.
There was much interest in the debut of NZ Superstock Champion Jason Long's new 1NZ car, which was only finished on Saturday morning and driven onto the transporter for the trip to Oceanview.
Long showed that he will be making a very serious title defence at the Elite Mechanical New Zealand Superstocks at Oceanview in early January, with three wins and a third placing.
In the process, he came within three thousandths of a second from breaking another lap record.
The highlight of the night was a race-long battle between Long and local driver Carl Burns (25V) in the feature race.
Burns didn't back down to a challenge from Long, holding him out for eight of the ten laps before Long slipped past.
Michel Willemsen (39P) took out the Superstock Grand Slam, which began with a handicapped start, and Long starting almost half a lap behind.
Despite a desperate lunge on the last lap, Long could only get up to third, behind Willemsen and Zane Dykstra (38P).
The Oceanview track got faster as the night went on and remarkably, in the Grand Slam, every driver had a lap faster than 16.5 seconds.
With the absence of Dion and Kaelin Mooney, Stockcar wins were shared between Blair Lockett (89V) and Callum Sturzaker (15V) who had two wins apiece.
Mark Johnston (78V) finally put mechanical dramas behind him with three second placings, while Hailey James (18V), Rotorua visitor Sam Guise (51R) and Nathan Black (67V) all showed glimpses of form.
With the Mooneys back, this Sunday's Charlie Berntsen Trophy Stockcars event will be keenly contested.
In the Adult Ministocks, Craig Mason (77S), Jemma Barnes (92V) and Jack Lammas-Martin (157P) picked up a win each in some very close racing.
A big field of Youth Ministocks faced the starter with Max Lowe (55P) taking two wins and Kurtis Tinetti (77P) taking out the other race.
The Youth Ministock class in Whanganui is in a rebuilding phase, but the performances of Sarah Meyer (24V), Trent James (56V) and Cody Lockett (89V) are cause for encouragement.
Racing gets underway again on Sunday, December 1, at 5pm, with the Charlie Berntsen Trophy for Stockcars to be decided.
Berntsen, who was patron of the Wanganui Stockcar and Speedway Club at the time of his untimely death in 2015, was widely revered in the speedway community.
When the New Zealand Stockcar Championship was first held at Oceanview in 1982, he won the title to the delight of his many fans.
The meeting will continue what has thus far been a stellar season at the Oval by the Ocean.