Speedway becomes battle ground


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Stratford Speedway turned into a battle ground Saturday night with three visiting teams travelling to Stratford for the Michielsen's Transport - West Coast Teams Challenge, taking on two Stratford Stormers teams.

Stratford Yellow and Stratford Black, alongside the Waikato Raiders, Auckland Alleycats and the Wanganui Bulls put their cars and bodies on the line to be the first team to win the Vern Broadmore Memorial Shield.

First up was Stratford Yellow vs Waikato Raiders. After some mind game tactics to throw off the opposing team during the grid up, Damo Hiestand (47s) and Barry Rhodes (21h) sat out the first race as reserve drivers. Josh Walsh (35s) took the lead on the drop of the green flag but shortly after was spun and lost the lead to Samuel Van Amsterdam, who also didn't hold the lead for long after being passed by Mark Woods (517s). Showing his teams racing experience and skill, Mark maneuvered through the pack and dodged the rival cars trying to block him. Mark went on to win the race for Stratford Yellow, with only three cars completing the full 10 laps.

The next teams race saw Auckland Alley Cats vs Stratford Black. This race was going to prove a tough challenge as both teams are very strong. Tyler Walker (33s) took the lead straight away but lost it to Keegan Orr (338a) who managed to hold the lead until lap seven when Tyler took it back. Haydin Barker (84s) proved he was on a mission to destroy their rivals with aggressive attacking moves. With a buckled right front wheel he still managed to make a huge attack on Daniel McDonald (833a) which saw him head straight into the pit gate wall in a very hard hit. Tyler went on to win this race for Stratford Black gaining the maximum 100 points followed by Mark Duthie (32s).

The third teams race for the night saw Stratford Yellow out on the track again to race the Wanganui Bulls. Sandy Flett (898v) was the only experienced teams racer in the Bulls, but this team was ready to put it all on the line to gain needed experience. Some massive hits from both teams throughout this race had the crowd yelling encouragement for their chosen team, with Sandy Flett (898v) and Damo Hiestand (47s) blocking each other on the start line and Damo taking Sandy into the wall. Kylee Symes (229s) then got tangled with them. Once he backed out of the incident, Kylee and Jason Wright (19v) battled it out, with massive attacks on each other. While the battles continued, Mark Woods (517s) avoided the carnage with the help of his team mates and took the second win for Stratford Yellow.

The fourth teams race was Auckland Alleycats vs Waikato Raiders which was going to prove a very brutal race with both teams having their eyes on the end prize. Gary Longergan (383a) took the lead from the start and went on to win the race even after being spun out by Dave Moore (36h). Paul Chatfield (388a) was hit in a huge attack by Samuel Van Amsterdam (71h) which saw part of his bonnet left up on the wall as he was towed off track by the tractor. Daniel McDonald (833a) was removed from the track by St John's to be checked by medical staff after a very hard hit. Only two cars of the eight on track were left to battle it out over the last four laps with Dave Moore (36h) chasing Gary right to the end.

After all the points were tallied, it looked to be a tough semi-final with Auckland and Waikato battling for third and fourth and Stratford Black vs Stratford Yellow in the final. These final races were 'first across the line wins' so all teams were out to protect their runner and block any attacks. Gary Lonergan (383a) went on to win the semi-final race for Auckland, the only Auckland car left mobile after a very savage race.

The Stratford vs Stratford final was a tough one as each team took on their own club mates, team mates and friends. Andrew Dodunski (124s) and Kylee Symes (229s) put a very hard hit on Haydin Barker's (84s) tank which then saw Josh Walsh (35s) place a payback hit on Andrew. Todd Duthie (21s) was the race leader for 10 laps of the 12 but was tapped by Andrew and lost the lead to team mate Bevan Phillips (72s) who went on to win the race for Stratford Black.

Stratford Black took home the Vern Broadmore Memorial Shield for the 2015/16 season, with Stratford Yellow finishing in second.

Streetstocks ran for the Olsen Memorial and Gordon Fowler (15s) finished in first place, with Chris Shingleton (9r) in second and Ben Pennington (14s) in third.

Modifieds raced for King of the Mountain title, with the return of Farron Lowry (31s) for the first time this season, who went on to take home the title with Bunter Pierce (67s) in second place and Shaun Bloeman (78s) in third.

- Stratford Press

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