07 December 8.40am
A long chase and a late move powered Californian sprint car racer, Jonathan Allard, to another victory at Baypark Speedway on Saturday night.
The 20-lap, 20-car feature race continued the intensity that has been the theme of early season racing as sprint car teams prepare for the New Zealand Championship at Baypark on January 8-9.
James Dahm (Tokoroa) made a good start to put a small break on Allard. There were three restart opportunities for Allard to pounce but Dahm controlled each of those and it was the lapped traffic that provided Allard’s chance.
With one lap to go, Allard grabbed a passing opportunity as Dahm encountered the lapped cars.
“James had me covered,” Allard said.
“He’s a great racer but he just got caught up in the traffic. I had to plan where to be to take advantage of that.”
It was Allard’s first appearance of the season at the Baypark track, where he has twice won the New Zealand Championship. He’s the fourth different sprint car feature race winner in as many nights of racing at Baypark this season.
“This is definitely a confidence builder. Hopefully, we can get on a roll from here and get some more wins,” Allard said.
Dahm finished a close second and was disappointed to lose the lead he’d held for almost 19 laps.
“The track was narrow and I was going well picking my way past the lapped cars. But I picked the last one wrong and that was it,” Dahm said.
Christchurch driver Matthew Leversedge had a strong night winning a heat race and finishing third in the feature race ahead of Keaton Dahm (Tokoroa) and Jamie McDonald (Auckland).
The second round of the Barry Muir’s Furniture Gallery Super Saloon Car series produced wins for Tauranga’s Caitlin Hayward and Nelson-domiciled former Southlander Campbell McManaway.
With three more races remaining, Mark Hutchins (Waihi) is the new leader on 85 points, one ahead of Dan Corrin with Chris Cowling on 83 and Hayward on 81 points.
Hutchins also led from start to finish to take a narrow win in the super saloon feature race ahead of Corrin and Matt Smith (Thames).
Michael Pickens claimed his second midget car feature race win of the season after trading the lead three times with fellow Aucklander Hayden Williams.
And the first appearance of the season by the saloon cars saw Cambridge-based North Island champion Jarred Fletcher in dominant form, taking three wins from three starts and leading home Sam Waddell in the feature race.
The next meeting at Baypark Speedway is the final round of the Barry Muir’s Furniture Gallery Super Saloon Car Series on Saturday, December 26.