PORT HARDY—The season may not have kicked off but at least the racing has begun on the North Island.
Last weekend’s scheduled stock racing season opener was supplanted by a fun day at the Tri-Port Speedway as several cars failed to be completed in time to race and, of those that did make it, some weren’t as ready as hoped.
Despite some drivers working late into the night to try to make the event, only a limited field of four made the flag drop, so organizers decided to offer a rain check to fans and use the occasion to break in the track.
Returning champion Glen Day led out in the familiar 77 car, and was soon back in his groove, experience and consistency giving him the checkered flag in a series of head-to-head challenges against Jim Swift in the 17.
Swift’s return to the track came after an extended hiatus from racing, but he soon settled back in and improved with each lap. His return was facilitated by Daniel Hovey, who donated his car from last season to encourage more drivers to the track.
Chris Hardy returned in the remodelled 4 car, but apparent faulty wiring kept him on the sidelines for much of the racing.
Also returning was Jared Breitkreitz, who made his debut in the 44 last season. Thanks to some new sponsors and some hard work over the summer, he will race in an updated car this season and should be worth watching. Unfortunately, an oil leak shortened his race day, but all drivers were able to put in some seat time.
After a series of solo laps and the head-to-head series all four made it on to the track to put on a main event, where Day’s consistency came back to bite him.
Day and Swift took the front row with Breitkreitz and Hardy lining up behind as the green flag dropped.
Day’s inside line saw him move clear out of turn two and Breitkreitz nipped inside Hardy on the same stretch.
The four held the order until the third lap when Hardy spun out of turn four and his recovery allowed the pack to catch up and Day to move ahead.
Breitkreitz’s oil leak forced him out next lap, while Swift passed Hardy.
Hardy was forced off next lap to leave Day and Swift going head to head.
One lap later it was all Swift as Day, who had competed in every race, finally ran out of gas and Swift took the checkered flag.
With around a dozen potential drivers for the year, organizers were confident of a considerably larger field for the next event, June 15. The Father’s Day event will feature free admission for dads and concession.
The Speedway will hold its annual general meeting next week and the public are invited to attend. The meeting will take place at the tower beside the track, Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m.