Powerbuilt Ruapuna Speedway - February 21st - Gavin Searle
American driver, Ricky Logan, won a pulsating New Zealand Sprintcar Grand Prix, at Powerbuilt Ruapuna Speedway, on Saturday evening after being pushed all the way by Auckland's Dean Brindle, with Jim Siegel (USA) third. Logan and Brindle then again had a great dice in the Gold Cup with Logan again just taking the honours from the Auckland driver.
Logan, a professional driver who is a regular on the dirt tracks during the New Zealand summer, was joint top qualifier top going into the Grand Prix, along with eight time NZ champion, Kerry Jones (Auckland), after each driver had claimed a win, second and third from their three qualifying heats to finished on 27 points, out of a possible 30 points. Brindle was two points behind with current NZ champion, Carl Wilson (Auckland) on 24, one ahead of Phil Game with two other American drivers, Jim Siegel 20, and Steve Buckwater 17 next with Greg Clemence, the first local also finishing with 17 points.
Jones and Logan started on the front row for the 25 lap Grand Prix, which saw two cars involved in a spectacular crash after Jones got a 'flyer' which forced race officials to abort the start and has the cars concertinaed going down the back straight Kevin Freeman (Nelson), who won the first heat and Auckland's Ron Salter car touched as they slowed causing both cars to roll and end their race.
Jones was allowed to restart under protest in his original position and lead the restart for the first two laps before spinning out on the Town bend which allowed Logan into the lead from Brindle. Jones recovered but dropped back to fifth to finally finish in seventh place. Brindle slowly then applied the pressure on Logan with Brindle's car liking to run wide out on the Town Bend Brindle twice got by Logan only to have the yellow lights come on after other cars spun with the lead resuming back to the previous completed lap which allowed Logan back in front. On lap eight, Siegel used the outside groove to pass Brindle with Brindle then repeating the move to get by Siegel five laps later and set out after Logan who had opened up a small lead. Over the remaining laps Brindle slowly reeled in Logan and mounted one challenge coming out of the Town bend but Logan squeezed Bridle up by the safety fence with the chequered flag coming out two laps later. Siegel claimed third place after first seeing off Wilson and then re-passing Game with four laps to run after Game had held third place for a lap.
The Speedworx Gold Cup turned out to be another heart stopping affair with Logan and Brindle using the wide passing line blast by lapped cars as the chased each other for the entire 30 laps. Jones again lead from the start with Brindle taking the lead with almost half the race completed and with Logan back in fourth place Brindle looked that have the race in the bag but Logan first passed Jones and then set out after Buckwater with Logan passing his countryman with eleven laps to race. Logan then closed on Bridle and with just two laps to run blasted around the outside of the Aucklander to claim his second big feature win of the night. Buckwater was third with Allan Wakeling of Auckland, producing the drive of the night when coming from grid sixteen in the eighteencar field to claim fourth place. The former multi NZ champion had to sit of the Grand Prix after the motor problems in his first heat with local driver, Daryl Wright loaning Wakeling his car for the Gold Cup.
In the supporting races Ricky Brett had the ideal build up for next Saturday's TQ Masters when winning all four races while Gary Chadwick won the first two midgetcars races with Ray Baughan taking out the Feature.
Races Results - Competitors from Christchurch Unless Stated
New Zealand Grand Prix
Ht 1. Kevin Freeman (Nelson) 1, Steve Buckwalter (USA) 2, Karen Forsey 3.
Ht 2. Kerry Jones (Auck) 1, Glenn Everett 2, Ricky Logan (USA) 3.
Ht 3. Phillip Game (Auck) 1, Carl Wilson (Auck) 2, Jones 3.
Ht 4. Logan 1, Dean Brindle (Auck) 2, Forsey 3.
Ht 5. Brindle 1, Logan 2, Wilson 3.
Ht 6. Jim Siegel (USA) 1, Jones 2, Buckwater 3.
Qualifying Points. Logan 27, Jones 27, Brindle 25, Wilson 24, Game 23, Siegel 20, Buckwater 17, Clemence 17, Everett 16, Forsey 16, Nick Pedley(Palm. North) 15, Ron Salter (Auck) 15, Gary Price (Cromwell) 15, Freeman 14, Jim Forture 11, Darren Nankivell 10, Danny Mason 9, Daryl Wright 4, Steve Mora 0, Alan Wakeling 0.
Grand Prix. Logan 1, Brindle 2, Game 3, Buckwater 4, Siegel 5, Wilson 6, Jones 7, Clemence 8, Price 9, Pedley 10.
Speedworx Gold Cup. Logan 1, Brindle 2, Buckwater 3, Wakeling 4, Game 5.
Not bad for the PA boys having limited seat time. I know they wanted to win and gave it a great shot. I am proud of them showing up and representing.