Sprinters puts faith in a wing
The throaty sound of a large field of 800 horsepower methanol burning sprintcars is enough to entice any enthusiast to visit Eastern States Speedway near Renwick on Friday evening.
The Tyre General War of the Wings South Island sprintcar series was established in 1997 as the class became in danger of extinction. It has been a slow and steady road bringing the international class back to life, but up to 25 cars will attend each of the 10 rounds of the series, with all but one South Island tracks hosting a round. Nelson is the venue on Saturday night, with Ruapuna and Woodford Glen in Christchurch already welcoming the series in the past month.
The temptation of the $60,000 prize package has seen a lot of battling for the top spot so far. Cromwell's Jason Scott holds a slender 15 point lead over Matt Honeywell from Ashburton, while Canterbury duo Ray Baughan and Jamie Duff are also chasing the top spot.
Blenheim driver Paddy North has scheduled several rounds into his busy race calendar this year, working in between his first priority, the super saloon circuit. North was offered a guest drive for one of the rounds last year, but was cut short due to an equipment failure and is back after sourcing a newer package for this year.
The lightweight sprintcars rely on huge aluminium wings to create substantial down force, pinning them to the track. As North comes to grips with the different driving style required, he is first to admit it is difficult to put all your faith in the wing. "It is so totally different to my usual ride in every way, but like the super saloon you are surrounded by a great bunch of guys all willing to help you race alongside them."
With a couple of rounds under his belt, home track advantage may work in North's favour as other drivers take time to familiarise themselves with Eastern States.
Racing starts at 7pm tomorrow, with two groups competing over two heats to collect points to determine the starting grid order for the 25-lap feature at the end of the night.
- The Marlborough Express
28 November 2013