An afternoon of smashing New Year's Eve entertainment was promised, and that expectation was more than met.
The final speedway meeting of 2020 at Fast Lane Spares Oceanview Family Speedway was all action under the Whanganui sunshine.
Local driver Trevor Greig (81V) took out the feature event, the Charlie Berntsen Trophy Stockcars, but it was a team effort from his fellow Whanganui competitors.
Dion Mooney (6V), driving his 2019 car, took out the opening heat with a dominant drive, heading home Stratford visitors Kylie Symes (229S) and Corey Sutton (98S), with regular Charlie entrant Les Hepworth (22M) close behind in fourth place.
However, Mooney got caught up in a pile-up in heat 2, which saw Wayne Wright (95V) and Brian Taniwha (98P) almost rolled, and Mooney eliminated.
Greig took out the race ahead of Jade Symes (44S) and Blair Lockett (89V), with Hepworth again finishing fourth.
After two heats Hepworth led the standings on 58 points, two ahead of Greig and Sutton, with Taylor Lampp (992P) and Jayke McGrath (48S) a point further back.
With the distinct possibility of the Charlie heading out of town, the Whanganui drivers galvanised in heat 3, and anyone not carrying a V number was fair game.
McGrath was taken out of contention, Sutton's progress was slowed numerous times and Lampp came under repeated attacks, finishing back in the pack.
Through it all, Hepworth had a dream ride, and his many years of travelling to this event looked finally set to be rewarded; until lap nine, that was.
Heading into turn three, with the points lead firmly in his grasp, Hepworth gave Gerry Linklater (98V) a slight opening, and Linklater took the 22M car to the wall, holding him there as car after car passed.
Trazarn Ryland-Annabell (33V), usually an initiator of trouble, powered away to take the race win ahead of Jessi Black (822V) and Greig. Sutton finished ninth and Hepworth finally limped across the line in 14th place.
It was an outstanding heat 3, the kind of race that would have made Charlie Berntsen grin, and was reminiscent of the final heat at the 1982 New Zealand Stockcar Championship when Evan Mooney stopped Dave Evans late in the race to allow the race to Berntsen, his proudest moment in the sport.
Greig was delighted afterwards, winning his first significant championship in a long stockcar career. He was lavish in his praise for his Whanganui clubmates when accepting the Charlie Berntsen Trophy.
Corey Sutton managed to finish in second place overall, and Trazarn Ryland-Annabell's last heat victory was enough to give him third place on the podium.
In terms of action, the West Coast Streetstocks provided a spectacle not far behind their stockcar colleagues.
Hawke's Bay driver Brent Reddington (46B) took out the opening heat in dominant fashion, ahead of Ron McGrath (38S) and Shane Malcolm (7B).
Reddington was immediately in trouble in heat 2, the reverse direction race, spinning twice in the opening laps, although he recovered to finish fourth. Paul Blinkhorne (56S) took the race, ahead of McGrath and Dylan Pirimona (52W).
After two heats Reddington and McGrath were tied on points, two ahead of Malcolm, setting up an effective Hawke's Bay versus Stratford teams race in heat 3, which was duly delivered.
Malcolm was the first driver to be eliminated, as hits were going in all around the track. Reddington got ahead of McGrath and looked headed for a championship win until he hung the tail of his car out once too often in the closing laps, getting spun and allowing McGrath to pass him.
Dylan Smith (21S) took the race win, with Blinkhorne's second place getting him the third step on the podium behind McGrath and Reddington.
The streetstocks are infrequent visitors to Oceanview, but based on the comments of drivers afterwards it may not be long before they are back again.
Brent Hackett (434V) was the dominant production saloon driver, winning the first two heats and leading the third until he was run down by Grant Loveridge (7V) late in the race.
With the Tom Francis Builders New Zealand Production Saloon Championship just three weeks away at Oceanview Family Speedway, Hackett and Loveridge look to be top prospects.
Jack Lammas-Martin (157P), Craig Mason (77S) and Will Hart, driving Liam Whelan's 32S car, took out a win apiece in three keenly contested adult ministock races, where there was some outstanding driving at the front of the field.
And in the youth ministocks, wins were shared between Corbyn Swan (45S), Jeremy Brown (18B) and Samuel Hargraves (64W).
But on a day when stockcar racing's first true legend, "Big Bad" Charlie Berntsen, was remembered and celebrated, it was the stockcars which stole the show, and Greig who walked away with the local club's prized trophy.