Speedway opener not short on thrills

Contact sport . .. Ben Jenkins (345d) muscles the inside while Jareb Verdoner (blue, back 318d) fends off a shove into the wall by an Invercargill rival. PHOTOS: NICK BROOK
Passing wave . . . Brooke Soper (age 15, car 8D) and Dresden
Constable (age 13, car 24D) pay their dues in the youth saloons.
Rush hour. . . Balclutha drivers Benji Smail (59d) and Billy Greer (17d) fight for an early
lead in the classic stockcars.


Clutha district weighed in strong at Beachlands Speedway’s season opener on Saturday with plenty of talent and some promising first-round victories.

The roar began in good light at 5pm at the 400m oval Waldronville track, running into the chilly evening until about 9.30pm.

Unlike sealed-track racing, speedway clay arenas hail an element of gladiator-combat with uncertainty of power-slides central to competition.

Drivers thrill spectators with the fusion of brute power and specialised earth-circuit accessories that make contact and spectacular mishaps a virtual certainty.

By the end of the night, Milton’s Benji Smail took first equal in the stockcars, and fifteen-year-old Brooke Soper, of Waihola, won the 12-16 year-old youth saloons.

They were chased by local stockcar drivers Zara-Lee, Zane and Nico Tuhura, Harry Greer and Jacob Glossop, while 13-year-old Dresden Constable made a solid debut in the youth saloons.

Among formidable competitors representing Clutha in the popular rough-and-tumble streetstocks were Jareb Verdoner, Ben Jenkins, Craig and Corey Blackler, Shya McHardy, Braden Adams and Allan Finch.

Speedway racing will power ahead until autumn, with the next meeting at Dunedin’s Beachlands accompanied by a fireworks extravaganza on November 5.