Christchurch’s Greg Keegan beat a classy field of Super Saloons at Woodford Glen Speedway, Christchurch, last Saturday night, easily winning the 25-lap feature in the Saloon Champion of Champions final.
Tauranga’s Dean Waddell had been fast throughout the two nights of racing and topped the point score at the end of the 15 heats. Keegan, a veteran of several decades’ racing with the Lovelady Racecars team, won the top six shootout to decide grid positions for the final.
The early part of the feature race was disrupted by several incidents, the first when Bunter Pierce bicycled his Ford Mustang in Turn 1 and hit the wall, bringing the red light.
Waddell had taken up the front running, with Nelson’s Ian Burson in pursuit, with Keegan dropping back to third place – the LRC team having set the car to run fastest toward the end of the race.
A tangle in Turn 3 eliminated Mike Verdoner, while two of the other cars involved, driven by Donald Gregory and Michael Pickens, were able to restart.
Pickens, the national Midget Car champion, carried on, but with his vision restricted by the car’s bent bonnet.
Soon after the green light, Burson spun in Turn 1, and Keegan began to close on Waddell. This contest didn’t get a chance to develop, as Tony Cardwell – a Woodford Glen favorite – hit the wall on the back straight and the car flipped several times, coming to rest upside down in the middle of the track.
Cardwell was extracted safely from the twisted wreck and after the mess was cleared away the race restarted.
Then Pickens got caught out by the fluids on the track from the Cardwell shunt and spun in Turn 3. After a yellow caution period Pickens was sent to the rear of the pack.
Finally, the race really got underway and Keegan hunted down and got Waddell and pulled away to the finish. Waddell was secure in second.
Behind him local man Trevor Elliot drove the race of his life to finally get by national champ Brent Emerson for third on the run to the line.
Luck really wasn’t with Pickens, but he demonstrated his passing skills to race through to sixth behind Gregory. He fared better than Steve Williams who had a series of niggling problems over the two nights and didn’t make the final 16.