Speedway: National champions on show at Baypark

Three former national champions hit winning form at Baypark Speedway on Tuesday night.

The big winner on the final race night of 2020 was Tauranga’s Peter Dickson who won the 20-lap Super Saloon Car Gold Cup in his experimental US-style Super Late Model racer.

The car had shown glimpses of pace earlier in the season and as the track became slicker, Dickson found the conditions best suited to the car and the 2017 New Zealand champion drove to a clear win in the 20-lapper ahead of teammate Chris Cowling.

“It’s not perfect yet but it’s getting there,” Dickson said.

“The second half of the race I had to break the car free entering the corner to get it to turn. That’s not the fastest way but it didn’t matter.”

The Gold Cup was Dickson’s last outing before the national championship in Auckland early next month.

“It’s great to get a win. Now we’ll get the car back into the workshop and make sure all the maintenance is done before the champs.”

In a field featuring five New Zealand champions, the early leader of the 20-lapper was reigning national champion Sam Waddell, of Tauranga, but a broken seal on his fuel tank which saw small amounts of methanol ignited by the exhaust and meant he was black-flagged.

While Dickson became the fifth different super saloon winner in six meetings this season the competition is proving even tougher in the sprint car division.

It was two-time New Zealand champion Rodney Wood, of Tauranga, who set the Tuesday night pace to become sixth main event winner of the season.

It was a timely win for Wood who had traced a fuel system problem that had plagued his car for the last two meetings.

“My crew has been working really hard and it’s great to get a win just before the national champs,” Wood said.

The problem turned out to be a loose pick-up pipe inside the fuel cell that had become dislodged in an accident earlier in the season.

“We’d been having a problem with the car stumbling on the restarts and it would be starved of fuel as the pipe moved around inside the tank. Now it’s responsive and hitting the right RPMs.”

Wood led home Te Awamutu’s Brian Edwards and Auckland’s Daniel Rogers in the feature race.

A tightly fought midget car feature saw 2016 national champion Peter Hunnibell, of Auckland, lead from start to finish but was challenged throughout by Christchurch racer Jeremy Webb who was alongside Hunnibell during the final lap.

The next meeting at Baypark Speedway is the Sprint Car Gold Cup on Tuesday, January 5 which completes the build-up to the Daltons New Zealand Sprint Car Championship over the January 8-9 weekend.