1 DECEMBER 2012. The opening round of the Barry Butterworth Memorial Trophy Midge Car Series was contested at the Mag and Turbo Ruapuna Speedway on Saturday night with the 13 car strong field producing some excellent racing as the drivers looked to gain an early advantage in the series.Nelsons Nevil "The Bullet" Basalaj took out the opening heat after a titanic battle with Nick Donaldson, who was making his return to the track after missing most of last season's racing. Current South Island Championship,David Kerr, who finished in third place, was never far from the action, and hada great duel with Basalaj during the early laps. Nick Marquet (Nelson) the defending series champion took out the second heat but was pressured all the way by Kerr with Dunedin's Gavin Wilkie finishing third, from locals Graham Sharp and Glen Durie. Car problems forced Basalaj out of the race with four laps remaining while he was holding third place. Basalaj was back to winning form in the third and final heat after he passed the hard charging Donaldson on lap three, however the slick racing surface made passing difficult and several drivers spun their cars while battling the wind affected track. Durie claimed second spot from Mike Moulin with Kerrfinally edging out Steve McCallum for fourth place.Kerr from Southbridge heads the points table on 33, with Durie three points adrift with Basalaj 26, heading a log jam mid pack with McCallum 25, Marquet24, Sharp 23 and Wilkie 21. Wilkie took out the Feature from McCallum and Donaldson. The Sprintcar racing was keenly contested with Matt Honeywell winning the opening heat from former cricketing Black Cap legend Nathan Astle. Former Invercargill driver Brent Gaudion crossed the line in third. Ray Baughan won the next heat from Honeywell and Astle. Baughan continued his impressive form to log his first feature race win of the season, heading home Gaudion and Honeywell. Astle had finished second but was relegated two places for jumping his starting position. There were five different winners in the Three Quarter Midget Car section withKate Warren, brother Blair, Ben Tiplady and Jeremy Webb all claiming heat wins with Gareth Bindon winning the Feature with Dick Webb second from hisson Jeremy.Sixteen Six Shooters took to the track producing racing right throughout the large field with Matt Anderson (Dunedin) and Andrew Marker claiming heat wins before Barton Dick of Dunedin took out the chequered flag in the Feature. The Harris family dominated the small Modified Sprint field with Darryl Harris finishing third and first in the two heats before having to settle for second place in the Feature behind his son Kieran Harris, with Jimmy Doyle in third place. Doyle had also won a preliminary heat race.Newcomers Mike Warwood and Nick Chase won both sidecar events. Ben Morgan was the pick of the Quarter Midget class winning two of the three races with Liam McCoubrey also having a good meeting with two seconds and a third.
Race Results (Competitors from Christchurch unless Stated)
Midgets Barry Butterworth Memorial Series - Round 1 Ht 1. Nevil Basalaj (Nelson) 1, Nick Donaldson 2, David Kerr 3.
Ht 2. Nick Marquet (Nelson) 1, David Kerr 2, Gavin Wilkie (Dunedin) 3.
Ht 3. Nevil Basalaj 1, Glen Durie 2, Michael Moulin 3.
Points: Kerr 33, Durie 30, Basalaj 26, McCallum 25, Marquet 24, Sharp 23,Wilkie 21, Moulin 17, Everett 14, Donaldson 12, Chadwick 0, Brian Barclay 0,Scott Millar 0
Feature. Wilkie 1, McCallum 2, Donaldson 3.
Sprintcars Ht 1. Matt Honeywell 1, Nathan Astle 2, Brent Gaudion 3.
Ht 2. Ray Baughan 1, Honeywell 2, Astle 3.
Feature. Baughan 1, Gaudion 2, Honeywell 3.
Three Quarter Midgets Ht 1. Kate Warren 1, Marcus Doocey 2, Brian Fridd 3.
Ht 2. Blair Warren 1, Lindsay Bailey 2, Kyle Glover 3.
Ht 3. Ben Tiplady 1, Ben Gilmore 2, Blair Warren 3.
Ht 4. Jeremy Webb 1, K Warren 2, Rachel Melrose 3.
Feature. Gareth Bindon 1, Dick Webb 2, J Webb 3.
Modified Sprints Ht 1. Jimmy Doyle 1, Josh Wells 2, Darryl Harris 3.
Ht 2. D Harris 1, Kieran Harris 2, Josh Wells 3.
Feature. K Harris 1, D Harris 2, Doyle 3.
Six Shooters Ht 1. Matt Anderson(Dunedin) 1, Todd Hay (Invercargill) 2, Barton Dick(Dunedin) 3.
Ht 2. Andrew Marker 1, Ben Smit 2, Kieran Stevens (Cromwell) 3.
Feature. Dick 1, Kurt Hawkins 2, Shaun Ashton 3.
Quarter Midgets Ht 1. Jayden Bradley (Nelson) 1, Liam McCoubrey 2, Jay Basalaj 3 (Nelson) 3.
Ht 2. Ben Morgan 1, McCoubrey 2, Hunter Rowland 3.
Feature. Morgan 1, Brad Shearman 2 McCourbrey 3.
Sidecars Ht 1. Mike Warwood/Nick Chase , Lester Schroder/Simon Bryant (Blenheim) 2,Clint Warwood/Paul Auton 3.
Ht 2. Warwood/Auton 1, Warwood/Chase 2.