Written by Pete McNae

The list of happy campers at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway tonight was a short one, indeed.

For the second night in three, filthy weather got the better of the team at the Nelson Speedway Association, with day two of the Easter Extravaganza barely getting going before the rain came. Add that to Friday’s postponement and Saturday’s track preparation issues that meant the sidecars couldn’t race at all while other classes were challenged by the scoured surface and Easter 2017 was not a meeting many will look back on fondly. Except Clint Paris…

For the second time on the trot, Paris banked The Hits’ prizemoney as winner of a demolition derby. In doing so, he joins the likes of Andy (Andre Vegas) Guthrie, Caleb Russ and Andre Evans as one of the rare few to conquer the carnage and win more than one derby. Paris’s little Lada(?) sedan outlasted Tasman Thunder stockcar driver Phil Krammer’s car to claim the $750, Krammer content with $250 for his troubles. That the 40-odd derby drivers got to run at all was fortunate, otherwise many were looking at having gutted out wrecks on the front lawn until next season. The meeting started in halfway-decent weather but, after one round of sidecar racing and a streetstock and super saloon heat each, the rain came as the youth ministocks gridded up and set in solidly before their race was redlighted.

Then, patrons waited it out for a while, the first opting to go home after half an hour. There were still a hardy few hundreds left when it was decided to send out the derby cars, then call it quits.

The unluckiest Easter entrants were the sidecars. With a big field, thanks to the efforts of class rep Milly Steer, they waited as everyone else did through Friday’s washout. On Saturday, the track was clearly unsafe and they were trailered early. By tonight, a few of the visiting bikes had gone home, leaving Josh Wells/Regan Feck from Invercargill and locals Shaun Solly/Rosie Taylor and Adie Drake/Kieran Satherley to score qualifying heat wins before all that was left was a muddy dash across to the clubrooms.

At least they got one round through. The youth ministocks with visitors entered from Rotorua, Greymouth and Blenheim were called short with Hamish Carter leading Brayden Nell. But with the track slippery and young teens piling into the wall, the decision was made to abandon ship.

The super saloons had one clean run, won by Mark Osborne, while the streeties were ultra-aggressive in their only outing. Steve Soper won the race, there was a fair bit of blocking going on and Nelson’s Josh Atkinson copped a beauty. When Matt Watson’s car was spun coming off turn two, it set off a chain reaction that saw Atkinson’s car bent against the wall. As he tried to limp across the track to safety, Canterbury’s Mike Jones was left with nowhere to go except full noise into Atkinson’s right front.

The derby was more of a mud plug than a race but it was still popular with those who hung in til the end. And Paris … well, we think he was grinning through all that clay.

The Nelson Speedway Association 2017-2018 season will resume at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway in October or November of this year.


Easter images, Tom Laney,