A multitude of incidents had the red flags waving frequently at Teretonga Park in Invercargill on the weekend
The dry circuit managed to catch many drivers out during the motor racing presented by Downer event.
The OSCA Saloons always promise excitement and they certainly delivered. Local drivers Colin Dawson and Lawrence Knowler had qualified fastest and sat side by side on the front row of the grid for this mornings first race. At the start Knowler copped a 20 second penalty for an infringement, a legacy of a clutch problem in his Brennan Camaro. While he was left to make up time Dawson drove off into the lead in his Mazda RX7 V8 ahead of Christchurch driver Chris Hatton. However the race was red flagged when two cars collided and while the race was stopped Dawson's crew discovered two broken wheel studs. His car was wheeled away for repairs and the race resumed with a one lap dash to the flag, Hatton winning from fellow Christchurch driver Geoff Washbourne (Holden Commodore) and Raymond Hart of Timaru (Nissan Skyline).
The second race was a handicap event and as the fast cars were coming through the traffic Dawson and Hart went off together at the end of the front straight. The race was stopped and again there was a one lap sprint to the finish. Neville Stowell of Timaru scored the victory in his pristine Subaru WRX from Matt Cronin of Christchurch and Hart who had rejoined. Knowler started from the pitlane due to his clutch issue and Hatton failed to finish. Washbourne won the finale from Hatton and Dawson.
The Kumho Sport Saloons raced alongside the OSCA Saloons but were battling it out for their own separate championship points. Gary Duncan won the opener in his EVO from Brent Cross of Winton and Matt Edgar of Timaru after Matt Dunn and Ivan McAuley had a coming together. Dunn returned to win the second from Duncan and Edgar and then the third from Edgar and Duncan.
The Firestone Super 6 Saloons provided great battles and their own share of incidents. The first race saw a great dice between Kurtis Boult of Queenstown and Todd Sutherland of Dunedin in their Commodores. Sutherland prevailed after Boult left the circuit briefly, winning from Christchurch driver Wayne Christie in Falcon while Boult recovered for third. In the second clash the red flag was out to stop the race early on after Sutherland, Boult and Merv Lloyd of Invercargill went off the circuit. All three were out of the race and Christie went on to win from Gore Commodore drivers John and Paul Muir respectively. Sutherland and Lloyd were running again in time for the third race although Boult was not. Sutherland came through the field and bided his time to run down Paul Muir on the way to the flag, winning by .032 of a second with Christie third.
The Kumho Tyres Pre 65 Saloons also featured a race stoppage early in the day. However once underway Greg Stewart of Castlerock in Northern Southland (Ford Mustang) took the win after getting past early leader Brian Scott of Dunedin. Scott brought his Ford XP Falcon home in second with Wanaka driver Barry Morgan third in his similar car. The second race, a handicap contest, saw Brian Scott get to the lead early and hold off the fast finishing Stewart with Morgan again third. The third race was another handicap and the 4 cylinder competitors had the last laugh as John Michelle of Christchurch held on in his Cortina to win from Gary Parker in an Anglia. Scott made it to third while both Morgan and Stewart suffered spins.
The Toyo Tyres PRO 7s also had their share of red flag stoppages with two in the first race. However when the dust cleared current South Island and New Zealand Champion Jarrod Parmenter of Timaru drove away to win from Jason Corboy of Christchurch. Case Wortel of Woodend was third. Parmenter had to drive through the field to win the second race but he duly did so with Corboy again second and Blair Robertson of Christchurch third. Parmenter and Corboy achieved their third quinella of the day in the final race with Robertson again third.
Tuatapere driver Doug Erskine brought his 1300cc powered Mini through from the back of the grid on each occasion to win all three races in the R&D Motorsport Mini 7 South class. Reigning South Island and Mini 7 South champion Mark Donaldson of Hanmer Springs was the fastest of the 1000cc machines and trailled Erskine over the line in all three contests with Mark Gavin also of Hanmer Springs third each time.
Pierre Neame of Winton plus Robert Ralston and Andrew Brown of Invercargill featured in some superb racing in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloon races. Brown led early in the opening race before a problem and Neame took over in his Capri to win from Ralston (Nissan Silvia turbo) and Brent Cross. In the second Neame led early before falling behind Ralston and Brown (Honda Civic turbo). Neame worked his way back into the lead to cross the line in front of Brown and Ralston. As they would do for most of the day the three Star Cars in the field (scaled down models of V8 Supercars) battled it out all the way to the flag.
Neame also won the class race, picking up the 2501cc and over class in the process. Invercargill drivers Dean Maw and Jeremy Dawson took out the 1601-2500cc and the 1301-1600cc classes respectively. Mark Quertier won the 0-1300cc battle.
Colin Dawson returned to the Clubmans fray for the Flying Farewell and ran away to win from Ralston and Rodger Cunninghame of Invercargill in a Ford Mustang.
Invercargill's Damon Leitch made a clean sweep of the Sports & Racing Car races. He won all four contests convincingly as he continues to prepare for the Toyota Racing Series which begins next month. Another young karting graduate Jamie Conroy was second on each occasion. Cameron Freeman of Mosgiel scored two third placings in his Formula Suzuki car. Steve Heffernan and fifteen year old Brendon Leitch disputed Formula Ford honours all day long, taking two apiece.
The next event at the circuit will be the premier Summer Series meeting from 14-16 January. The event will feature the BNT V8s, ENZED V8 Ute Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Suzuki Swift Sport Cup, Production Racing Series and New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.