Bengston on top of the world in Rotorua
Eketahuna’s Peter Bengston won the World Invitation Super Stock Champs at Rotorua’s Paradise Valley Raceway on Saturday night, January 19.
The victory gains Bengston automatic entry to compete in England at the F1 Stock Car World Final raced at Ipswich in September.
Bengston, the reigning Super Stock points champion at Palmerston North Speedway in his Gordge chassis Nissan V8 machine, set the foundation for his win by driving through the 26-car field from grid 22 to take fourth place in the opening 15-lap final.
With a second placing (from grid nine) in Race 2, and a third place effort in Race 3, Bengston finished the three-race contest with a two-point winning margin over Hamilton racer Scott Redfern.
Taranaki’s Roydon Collingwood defeated British star Frankie Wainman Junior in a third place runoff.
That quartet, along with Palmerston North’s Wayne Norris, were the main contenders for the title.
After winning Race 1 from grid three and climbing from grid 16 to fourth in the second race, Collingwood led the title race into the final with 49 points, one ahead of Bengston and Wainman – who had posted two third placings – tied for second.
Redfern was also in contention with 45 and had a front row start in the third race.
Redfern battled for the Race 3 honours with defending champion Shane Penn (Hawke‘s Bay), who was out of title contention after failing to finish the opening race with electrical problems. Penn took a narrow win from Redfern and Bengston moved up from grid nine to finish third and secure the title with 72 points from Redfern on 70.
Both Collingwood and Wainman were spun and delayed in the early laps but then began to recover some positions. Wainman finished ninth and Collingwood 10th to finish the series tied on 66 points.
In the four-lap runoff, Collingwood got the better of Wainman in the second of two clashes on the opening lap and, with some damage to his steering, rather than give chase, the West Yorkshireman twice waited to launch attacks which Collingwood escaped both times.
The top four were well clear of the rest on the scoreboard. Wayne Norris came home sixth in race three to finish fifth on 60 points ahead of Rotorua’s Stan Hickey on 54. Penn climbed back to seventh equal – with Aucklander Dave Tennant – on 52 points thanks to winning races two and three.
Behind Wainman – a visitor to New Zealand since 1995 and completely familiar with Kiwi-style racing – the second placed of the six international drivers in the field was young British racer Stu Smith Junior, winner of the 2007 World F1 Stock Car Final.
Smith was 11th equal.