The Total Access Sprintcar Summer Slam concluded at The Racecourse Hotel and Motorlodge Ruapuna Speedway on Saturday evening with the Duff boys, Jamie, and younger brother Steve junior, rewarded for consistent placings to claim the top two overall placings in the series. Jamie, who top the points table coming into the meeting took out the series on 273 points, to Steve’s 196 with Martin Harcourt third on 174, just two points ahead of Caleb Baughan.
Ray Baughan took out the opening heat from Shaun Ashton and Nelson’s Conner Rangi from the fast-finishing Duff’s, Jamie fourth and Steve fifth. Heat two saw the Duff’s lead out from the opening lap, with former NZ champ, Jamie setting the fastest lap of the meeting of 13.58 second on lap two, to keep Steve at bay with Alicia Hill in third place. Jamie managed to increase in lead over the closing laps as Steve became involved in a three-way battle with Hill and follow Nelson driver, Connor Rangi, with Rangi finishing strongly to first pass Hill and then Steve Duff on the final lap.
The Feature saw Jamie Duff and Rangi starting on the front row from Steve Duff and Ashton. On the green light Jamie Duff passed Rangi a with Steve Duff passing Ashton. The first of three yellow lights came on when Luke Wederell spun in lap four, and then again on lap nine after a tangle between Blenheim’s Paddy North and local Martin Harcourt, with North retiring from the restart. Jamie Duff again lead out from the restart with his brother managing to pass Rangi on the next lap.
Four laps later Rangi managed to regain second place but the yellows come out for the final time, meaning the placings reverted but to the last completed lap so Rangi had to drop back a spot. The final restart again saw Jamie Duff open-up a handy lead from his brother with Rangi having to settle for third from Ashton, with Daniel Anderson putting in a strong finish with pass Hill with teenager, Oscar Harcourt in seventh place from Dave Kerr, Martin Harcourt and Wederell.
The midgetcar racing was top class with Jay Chadwick claiming victory in Heat 1 from Glen Durie and Tom Lumsden, with the latter setting the fastest time of the race on the final lap as he tried to catch Durie. Lumsden and Durie set the early pace in the next heat with Lumsden leading from Durie. In the laps wound down the two cars were locked together, with Durie pulling of a great ‘slide job’ to claim the lead briefly before Lumsden stormed back to regain the lead and take the win from Durie, just ahead of Chadwick. Lumsden then dominated the Feature from the opening lap going on to lead by a good barging from Durie with Nathan Wilkie, holding out Mitchell Hill for third place.
Fast racing was the order of the night for the Three Quarter midgetcar section with Kyle Glover slowing plenty of speed to take out the opening heat from Scott Bailey, with three cars locked together for third place over the final laps, with Sam McCreanor holding out Liam McCoubrey and Ben Morgan. McCoubrey was untroubled to take on the next heat from Morgan who has a great dice with Kimberley Yeatman over the stages of the race.
McCoubrey then made it back-to-back Feature wins at the track when seeing off a strong challenge from Glover, with Morgan having to settle for third, just ahead of McCreanor and Bailey. With the meeting making good time an extra race was added with Jamie Booth, claiming the win from Lindsay Bailey and Glover.
Nelson’s Jayedan Basalaj had a successful meeting in his Modified Sprint, winning the opening heat by a solid margin from Kiran Harris and Courtney Jones. The second heat resulted in a blanket finish, with just over half a second separating the top three with Brett Booth holding on for the win from the fast-finishing Jones and Basalaj. Basalaj dominated the Feature, leading out from the green light and slowly increased the lead with each lap as his rivals were locked in a close battle from the minor placings. At the chequered flag Basalaj was 3 .3 seconds clear but Harris and Jones were locked together, side by side, at the finish line with Harris claiming second place by the slenderest of margins of just 0.047 of a second.
The V6 Wingless Sprints class produced close racing which saw three different drivers take the chequered flag. Kirk Hawkins took out the opening heat from Andrew Gregge and Peter Keith. Kris Jemmett made a welcome return to the track and claimed victory in the next heat, from Gregge and Keith. In the Feature, Gregge finally tasted success, claiming a close win from Keith with Hawkins in third just ahead of Jemmett.
Jacob Cunniffe and Jack Brownlees continued their recent battles in their quarter midgets with both heats seeing the two locked together at the front of the field with the lead swapping several times with Cunniffe winning the opening heat from Brownlees, who then reversed the order in the next heat after both had started from the back of the field, with Ethan Smith in third in both races. Cunniffe claimed another Feature win, with Smith in second place and Isabelle Smith third.
Race Results: Sprintcars – Total Access Summer Slam Ht 1. Ray Baughan 1, Shaun Ashton 2, Connor Rangi 3. Ht 2. Jamie Duff 1, Rangi 2, Steve Duff 3. Feature. J Duff 1, S Duff 2, Rangi 3, Ashton 4, Daniel Anderson 5, Alicia Hill 6.
Summer Slam Final Points – J Duff 273, S Duff 196, Martin Harcourt 174, Caleb Baughan 172, Paddy North 166, Rangi 146, Oscar Harcourt 124, Luke Wederell 104, Dave Kerr 80, Ray Baughan 78, Ashton 66, Hill 56, Anderson 50, Gene Spooner 24.
Midgetcars Ht 1. Jay Chadwick 1, Glen Durie 2, Tom Lumsden 3. Ht 2. Lumsden 1, Durie 2, Chadwick 3. Feature. Lumsden 1, Durie 2, Nathan Wilkie 3.
Three Quarter Midgetcars Ht 1. Kyle Glover 1, Scott Bailey 2, Sam McCreanor Ht 2. Liam McCoubrey 1, Ben Morgan 2, Kimberley Yeatman 3. Feature. McCoubrey 1, Glover 2, Morgan 3. Flying Farewell. Jamie Booth 1, Lindsay Bailey 2, Glover 3.
Modified Sprints Ht 1. Jayeden Basalaj 1, Kieran Harris 2, Courtney Jones 3. Ht 2. Brent Booth 1, Jones 2, Basalaj 3. Feature. Basalaj 1, Harris 2, Jones 3.
V6 Wingless Sprints Ht 1. Kirk Hawkins 1, Andrew Gregge 2, Peter Keith 3. Ht 2. Kris Jemmett 1, Gregge 2, Keith 3. Feature. Gregge 1, Keith 2, Hawkins 3.
Quarter Midgetcars Ht 1. Jacob Cunniffe 1, Jack Brownlees 2, Ethan Smith 3. Ht 2. Brownlees 1, Cunniffe 2, Smith 3, Feature. Cunniffe 1, Smith 2, Isabelle Clark 3.