Excellent track conditions at City South Van Spares Ruapuna Speedway produced fast closing racing on Saturday evening. Jamie Duff had the ideal build up for the New Zealand Sprintcar title which will be contested in Palmerton North later this month when winning the Canterbury championship, from Matt Honeywell and Daniel Anderson.
Duff who does most of his racing in the North Island finished second behind his younger brother, Steve Duff junior in the opening heat with Anderson of Te Anau third. Ashburton's Honeywell took out the second heat from Jamie Duff with Ray Baughan in third place.
In the 15 lap Feature which saw the top six scorers inverted meaning top scorer Jamie Duff had to start of grid six. Honeywell made the most of his front row start and lead out from Anderson with Lindsay Gilbert in third place with Duff quickly moving into four place by the end of the opening lap. Duff then accounted for Gilbert on the next lap before passing Anderson on lap five, with Anderson having opened up a handy 80 metre lead.
Over the next five laps this gap slowly closed with Duff right on Honeywell's tail with five laps to race with Duff managing to get his nose in front two laps later only for Honeywell to regain the lead on the next turn. Duff finally blasted by Honeywell on the outside going down the back straight and then quickly opening up a good lead with Honeywell having to close out Anderson on the final lap with Baughan in four place.
The Midgetcar section had their final hit out before Deno's Towing New Zealand title which will be raced at Ruapuna in the 20/21 February with the running of Round three of the Southern Series. Series leader Nevil Basalaj had a horror night with cars issues failing to finish a race all evening which left Nick Marquet also from Nelson to take out the round. Newly crowned South Island champion, Glenn Everett won the opening heat from the fast finishing Dave Kerr, with Dunedin's Gavin Wilkie third, with Marquet in sixth place.
Both Kerr and Everett failed to finish the next heat when both rolling their cars in separate incidents which saw Glen Durie take the chequered flag from Marquet and Brian Fridd. In the Feature Marquet took the lead from early leader, Steve McCallum on lap six and then had a great dice with Wilkie with the two locked together right up to the race finish with Durie third from Fridd and Graham Sharp.
The closed finish of the night come in the TQ Feature when Liam McCoubrey had to fight of a late challenge from Andrew Marker who was debuting his new car. Marker has earlier claimed a third and a win in the heats and closed right up on McCoubrey on the final laps with the two cousins locked together when racing to the finish line with McCoubrey holding on to win by just over a tenth of a season.
Ben Gilmore was the pick of the Modified Sprint class with two wins, including the Feature plus a second behind Kevin Clive in the opening heat. Clive was second in the Feature with Invercargill's Ray Phillips third. Grant Harkness was standout in the Six Shooter class with a win in the Feature along with two seconds in the heats. Nelson's Jayden Bradley was unbeaten in the ¼ Midgetcar class.
Race Results - Competitors from Christchurch Unless Stated
Ht 1. Steve Duff Junior 1, Jamie Duff 2, Daniel Anderson (Te Anau) 3.
Ht 2. Matt Honeywell (Ashburton) 1, Jamie Duff 2, Ray Baughan 3.
Feature. Duff 1, Honeywell 2, Anderson 3.
Equus/Oxford Motor Court Southern Midget Series - Round 3
Ht 1. Glenn Everett 1, Dave Kerr 2, Gavin Wilkie (Dunedin) 3.
Ht 2. Glen Durie 1, Nick Marquet (Nelson) 2, Brian Fridd 3.
Feature. Marquet 1, Wilkie 2, Durie 3.
Three Quarter Midgets
Ht 1. Lindsay Bailey 1, Scott Bailey 2, Andrew Marker 3.
Ht 2. Marker 1, Liam McCoubrey 2, Gareth Nixon 3.
Feature. McCoubrey 1, Marker 2, S Bailey 3.
Ht 1. Todd Hay 1, Grant Harkness 2, Peter Keith 3.
Ht 2. Kris Jemmett 1, Harkness 2, Jeremy Wright 3.
Feature. Harkness 1, Jemmett 2, Jason Mason 3.
Ht 1. Kevin Clive 1, Ben Gilmore 2, James Doyle 3.
Ht 2. Gilmore 1, Ray Phillips (Invercargill) 2, Vernon McHaffie 3.
Feature. Gilmore 1, Clive 2, Phillips 3.
Ht 1. Jayden Bradley (Nelson) 1, Montana Jamieson 2, Brad Clive 3.
Hr2. Bradley 1, Jack Low 2, Ben Morgan 3.
Feature. Bradley 1, Clive 2, Jamieson 3.