If the early season action is anything to go by Southern speedway fans are in for a very exciting season as X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway delivered their opening meeting full of thrills, spills and results that made a few people sit up and take notice.
X Factor Cars Sprintcar Dash For Cash was a one horse race with “Slammin” Sam O’Callaghan dominating over the field, the only blemish being race one where he had to settle for second behind Jason Scott.
Scott looked the man to beat after a solid race one win, O’Callaghan struggled early, spinning and having to work his way back through the field but was classy on his charge back to second, Kyle Shearing claimed third.
Race two was the Sam O’Callaghan show, he sat his car up high and demolished the competition as Scott the race one winner struggled on a slick track spinning multiple times allowing Shearing to get up to second and Mark Evans third.
Race three was much the same O’Callaghan once again in a class of his own and the consistant performing Shearing in second with the talking point being Cromwell’s Luke Shearing snaring a well deserved third place on debut, but the cash belonged to “Slammin Sam” with a near faultless performance.
Six Shooters put on a fantastic display all night, race two was the standout with teenager Jacob McIntyre claiming his first senior race win, this race would also see Georgia Gordon make massive contact with the wall, leading to both her and Finn Clevelands night being over with both cars suffering intensive damage.
Other Six Shooter winners were Adam Evans and Josh Buchanan of Cromwell.
Due to the number of new Youth Saloon drivers a decision was made to run two groups, one from Invercargill and visiting drivers from Dunedin would make up the other.
In the Invercargill group Joshua Livingstone survived an arm wrestle with current Southland Champion Harrison Brown to take two wins, while Brown claimed one, impressive in third place was Blake Hamilton who has come of age in his second season of Youth Saloon racing.
Deikin Borthwick won race one of the Dunedin drivers with Nico Tuhura claiming race two and three.
Vaughan Marshall was once again the class act in Modified Sprints, Marshall looked like he was on a Saturday afternoon cruise as he took apart his competition winning heat one and three, he had to work hard in race two but Darcy Hewitt showed his experience by fighting off Marshall for a well deserved race win, Marshall settling for second.
Gore teenager Hayden Graves was the talk of the Production Saloon class, this was his debut in the senior ranks which ment he had to start from the rear of the field, race won saw a confident Graves get up to fifth, but race two he took apart his competition winning in a comanding fashion, then backing it up with second placing, once again from the rear of the field in race three.
Dunedin’s Bailey Mitchell won race one with John Jones of Invercargill winner of the third.
Saloons were exciting despite a small field, Phil Burgess of Cromwell won both the first and second heat with Graham Williamson holding on for a heat win in race three, a number of these car struggled for grip as the day went on but put on some entertaining action for the crowd.
Rotorua’s Steve Dryden was all class in Streetstocks with a win in race one backed up by a win in race two. Riverside’s Chris Kergozou upstaged Dryden in the third to take victory with Dryden second. It was pleasing to see a number of new drivers on track in the Streetstock grade.
A solid field of Stockcars lined up for the opening meeting but no one was going to lay a finger on seasoned campaigner Peter Knight from Dunedin, taking out both of the completed races comfortably. Race three was marred by an incident only half a lap in, when Jesse Hamilton and Anastazea Ladbrook made contact, leading Ladbrook into the wall and having to be extracted from her car. Ladbrook walked away a little sore but uninjured.
Riverside will now turn its focas to November 2nd where it will host the Mag And Turbo Supercup, and ILT Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza.
By Daryl Shuttleworth.
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