The traditional two-day Easter meetings certainly delivered last weekend.
Night One - Friday 15th April
On a fast well prepared track 10 championships were raced for and won.
72b Bailey Smith backed up his Hawkes Bay Championship win just 6 days prior to also win the East Coast Ministock title from 61b Henry Steele who had to beat 55b Asha Penn in a runoff. Henry was also our pick for Driver of the Night.
Denton Hodgkinson put some new rubber on the 22b Production Saloon, which clearly gave him more pace than the meeting a week earlier. Hodgkinson took the East Coast title by a narrow, one point advantage over Gisborne's Seth McKay and Wanganui's Mike Lovell in third.
A large contingent of Sidecars showed for the Hawkes Bay Championship, and the title headed out of town to the in-form 97p of Mike Zachan and Ben Franklin. Second was 26b Justin Lincoln & Dean Harding with the Murray's - Glen and Emma third on the 21p bike. The top 8 bikes qualified for Saturday's East Coast title.
Full throttle round the fence racing was what the Super Saloons thrilled the crowd with. The track was conducive to racing on the poleline or up high, and 5b Steve Flynn blasted his way to the East Coast title from 18m Sam Waddell and 33b Chace Rodda in third.
28 TQ Midgets showed for the East Coast title and it was an impressive sight to see them weaving in and out of the traffic. After three heats the title wasn't decided, and local hotshot 6b Duane Todd faced 46a Aaron Humble in a runoff. Humble shot away from the inside grid and although Todd chased hard it was Humble's championship. 22r Terrance Dorrell kept the Rotorua fans happy with third on the podium.
Meeting results can be found here - https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1966512
Night Two - Saturday 16th April
In the space of 6 days 97p Mike Zachan & Ben Franklin had won the West Coast title and then the Hawkes Bay. Could they also add the East and be the undisputed king of the Coasts?
You bet they could, and dominated the meeting from 27b Craig Boaler & Ann Plummer ahead of 21p Glen Murray, this time with Jacob (Ropes) Cooper on the back. The Sidecars turned on some incredibly hard fast racing which had to be seen to be believed, and the crews can't wait to showcase their skills on the second night of the ENZED Superstock Teams Champs in Palmerston North.
21h Steve Williams was in town on his farewell Saloon tour, as the former NZ Champion is hanging up the race suit.
The East Coast Saloon title was every bit as good as the Supers were the night before. 41b Jeremy Brown had some great debut drives in front of the home fans and 161c Ashton Osborne was very quick using the SNZ trial engine package. However it was a Cook one-two, with former national champ Ethan taking the win from 77g Dan and a popular third on the podium for Williams.
The TQ class ran their traditional 20-lap feature event and first two heats produced more rolls than a commercial bakery with some very hard crashes into the concrete. It's always good to see the drivers walk away and a testament to the modern safety features in Speedway.
The feature proved to be a race of attrition with two more rollovers and three caution lights. At the flag it was once again the win for 46a Aaron Humble who must surely be the fastest driver in the country at present. 97a Ben Morrison was runner up with local King 6b Duane Todd third.
East Coast Stockcars were over both nights and six heats in total which meant consistency was the key.
After losing his Hawkes Bay crown a week before, 16b Brett Loveridge wasn't about to let this title slip away and made sure to hold onto the points lead after six grueling races. Those not in contention were doing their best to stop the chances of rivals and it was good old school racing the fans want to see from the Stocks.
19b Caleb Ireland was quick and it was only by not starting the fifth heat that he didn't finish in the top three. At championship end 16b Loveridge had the title from 65b Royden Hynd (continuing his good form from the meeting before) and the consistent 41b of Cameron Swift.
The Superstocks were having their last hit out before the ENZED Teams Champs and certainly didn't hold back. 25b Kairyn O'Brien was quick from heat one and showed everyone just why he has been picked for the team by taking his first East Coast title.
46b Quinn Ryan was second from last weeks HB champ 98b Quintin Butcher. Hawkeyes teamsters took the top 4 places as 15b Scott McEwan just missed the podium.
The third heat was not what we were expecting as the hits came thick, fast and hard and it became obvious the team was in training for next weeks title tilt at the biggest event of the season at Robertson Prestige International Speedway.
It was a great weekend of Speedway and we now all need to get behind and support the mighty Hawkeyes as they go in search of a fourth Teams title.
Meeting results can be found here - https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1966832
Meeanee roars back into life on April 30th with the Hawkes Bay Saloon Championship, Stockcar Kuru Cup and Demolition Derby.
Another action packed meeting starting at 5pm.