Article from Palmerston North Speedway Website
It was a war of attrition at times during the opening round of the Rolling Thunder series last night at the Robertson Holden International Speedway, with plenty of thrills and spills throughout. Fans were treated to quality fields in all three of the featured non-contact classes.
Each class was split into three groups, with two groups competing in each of the three qualifying heats, giving all drivers a pair of qualifying heats and a chance to face each other at least once before accumulated points deciding grids for the feature race.
The first two Midget heats were tidy with 3nz Michael Pickens and 1nz Spencer Bayston powering to victory, 21v Peter Huijs the only casualty after managing to tip himself over in the final lap of the opening heat. The last qualifier was a bit scrappier, 11a Shayne Allach embarking on an entertaining drive until rolling as the yellows came on for the spun 7v Glenn Huijs at the opposite end of the track. 96a Chris McCutcheon chalked up the victory ahead of 7a Brad Mosen, who executed a late move around 95s Duane Hickman.
The feature was a 25-lap marathon with a plethora of accidents seeing almost half of the field retired by the end of the race. 7a Brad Mosen took up the running early on, with 91a Hayden Guptill in second until he spun on lap four, triggering a pileup that eliminated 5a Brock Mascovich and 33a James Cossey who had been going well. Another tangle after the restart involved 3nz Michael Pickens and 11a Shayne Alach through no fault of their own, although both were able to continue from the back of the field. 1nz Spencer Bayston had worked his way into a good position until he jumped the cushion, somehow surviving but losing several places.
Amongst all the action and restarts, 2nz Zach Daum had worked his way past Mosen into the lead, with 95s Duane Hickman and 96a Chris McCutcheon still involved in the battle. The final caution of the race saw Daum moved back to third for jumping the previous restart, with Bayston beating Mosen on the green to take victory from almost nowhere a few laps prior. Pickens also found a way past Mosen to take second place from beyond nowhere; a relatively controlled drive paying dividends on the slick track with many stoppages.
The opening qualifier was won at a canter by 22a Dean Brindle from 88m Keaton Dahm with minimal passing on display. The next two heats were a bit racier, with 0usa Jonathan Allard and 82p Jamie Larsen looking sharp. 21w Stephen Taylor and 71a Jamie McDonald were the victors, with 2nz Michael Pickens also collecting plenty of points.
The tidy racing went out the window as crunch time came in the 20-lap feature. 82p Jamie Larson was on a real charge from grid six and had good speed around the outside of 21w Stephen Taylor to grab third place. But the pair made contact and Larsen rolled heavily, removing them both from the race on lap two. 0usa Jonathan Allard looked assured out in front until halfway through, when backmarker 12a Dean Shadbolt rolled and Allard clipped him, removing his right-rear wheel and any chance of dominating his bogey track. This handed the lead to 2nz Michael Pickens, who gratefully reeled off the remaining laps to the chequered flag ahead of 71a Jamie McDonald and 22a Dean Brindle.
The opening heat went without a hitch, as 24w Martin Halcrow held off 9w Mark Pitcher to take the chequered flag. Heat two saw 96a Lance Jennings clobber the wall around half race distance and bounce into the path of 124m Dan Corrin, ending his charge through the field. 26e Shane McIntyre was first to the finish line ahead of 2nz Sam Waddell and 92m Scott Hayward, who were both caught between trying to find a way to the front and battling each other. 1nz Terry Corin showed his credentials by winning the third heat, with 11e Peter Dickson finding an impressive groove to finish second from grid six.
A great tussle for the front positions at the start of the 20-lap feature quickly turned sour when 9w Mark Pitcher overcooked it in front of the pack, leaving 1nz Terry Corin nowhere to go. The Apparelmaster machine clipped Pitcher and took flight, performing a spectacular barrel roll in mid-air before landing in a crumpled heap and being collected by 2nz Sam Waddell and 62e David Speirs. After this frantic start, the race settled down on the slick surface, with only 124m Dan Corrin making major forward movement up to fifth from the back of the grid. 11e Peter Dickson powered his way to an excellent victory ahead of 24w Martin Halcrow and 9w Mark Pitcher.
Heat One: 3nz Michael Pickens, 2nz Zach Daum, 25a Scott Buckley, 63a Jayden Worthington, 91a Hayden Guptill, 95s Duane Hickman – Fastest Lap: 2nz – 14.8599
Heat Two: 1nz Spencer Bayston, 7a Brad Mosen, 5a Brock Maskovich, 11a Shayne Allach, 41a Ricky McGough, 33a James Cossey – Fastest Lap: 1nz – 15.4923
Heat Three: 96a Chris McCutcheon, 7a, 91a, 95s, 15s Darryl Hughes, 98a Caleb Antonio-Rooney – Fastest Lap: 7a – 16.5367
Feature: 1nz, 3nz, 7a, 2nz, 11a, 25a – Fastest Lap: 1nz – 15.9361
Heat One: 22a Dean Brindle, 88m Keaton Dahm, 2nz Michael Pickens, 82p Jamie Larsen, 18p Greg Pickerill, 21w Stephen Taylor – Fastest Lap: 2nz – 13.7794
Heat Two: 21w, 2nz, 0usa Jonathan Allard, 82p, 4a Matthew Leversedge, 71a Jamie McDonald – Fastest Lap: 0usa – 13.5135
Heat Three: 71a, 0usa, 3nz, 18p, 15a Steve Pribicevich, 22a – Fastest Lap: 71a – 13.9061
Feature: 2nz, 71a, 22a, 88m, 3nz, 18p – Fastest Lap: 0usa – 14.2525
Heat One: 24w Martin Halcrow, 9w Mark Pitcher, 1nz Terry Corin, 8h Craig Cardwell, 62e David Speirs, 92m Scott Hayward – Fastest Lap: 23p – 16.3257
Heat Two: 26e Shane McIntyre, 2nz Sam Waddell, 92m, 11e Peter Dickson, 8h, 37m Steve Cowling – Fastest Lap: 26e – 16.5215
Heat Three: 1nz, 11e, 37m, 62e, 9w, 26e – Fastest Lap: 23p – 17.0687
Feature: 11e, 24w, 9w, 92m, 124m Dan Corrin, 37m – Fastest Lap: 124m – 17.1520
Race One: 278p Kyle Taylor, 78p Bryce Sowry, 75p Gavin Taniwha, 28p Mitchell Pescini, 23p Liam Metcalfe, 34p Rob Mason – Fastest Lap: 75p – 21.2609
Race Two: 278p, 6p Ricky Garth, 75p, 43p Quentin Hammond, 34p, 961p Michael Zilwood – Fastest Lap: 278p – 20.7062
Race One: 43p Kyle Rowe, 21p Cody Hodge, 9w Cyrus Crook, 97p Byron Rowlands, 29p Rachel Bradbury, 11p Wade Bengston – Fastest Lap: 21p – 21.9986
Race Two: 43p, 7p Louis Redshaw, 9w, 29p, 21p, 12p Seth Hodge – Fastest Lap: 35s – 21.9555
Feature: 12p, 21p, 97p, 29p, 7p, 43p – Fastest Lap: 7p – 22.1396