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Race Report 31 March 2024 Harrisville Speedway Ohakea Winger Thunder 12

After a busy summer, Easter would spell the end of our regular season with the double header at Palmerston North and Harrisville. We were unable to take part in the Palmerston North meeting, but headed to Harrisville speedway in Ohakea for Easter Sunday to compete our only event of the season at the track. Tucked away off the side of Highway 3 right by the airbase, the tricky track isn’t a sanctioned Speedway NZ event, but is always well supported by racers across the categories with big and competitive fields. The track had not been kind to us in the past, with a string of DNFs and just plain bad luck stopping us from getting a good result, so we were keen to put a stop to that this weekend.

The race schedule would start at high noon and run through the afternoon on an increasingly slick and dusty track. However to the credit of the track crew they managed to keep some drive in the surface until late in the day. We drew mid grids through the day and would fire off the first heat P4. We got a great start jumping to the outside on the front stretch to lead with an outside pass into turn 1. We were untouched through the race to stay out front by half a straight or so and get the win and quick time.

Heat two had us a little deeper in the order and we were unable to get to the front off the start. We did pick off a couple and went chasing after the leaders. We probably hadn’t tuned far enough with the changing surface and had to figure out a lane through the wet, then the bumps and slick patches, but deeper in the race started to find out feet. We drove up to third where we would remain until the end which would put us on pole position for the feature.

15 Laps around the Harrisville track deep in the day was always a daunting prospect but a front row start filled us with confidence. We weren’t able to get the jump into 1 but stayed second and worked on finding a groove that was fast, and soon motored up to the leader. We found a new lane through 3-4 and got a big drive down the front stretch to jump to the lead, however it was short lived as we washed out and were passed coming down the back straight. Luckily we could pull a similar move laps later to get back out front before a string of cautions brought the field back together. We tuned the shocks under caution and got the car working well for the final stint. We led off the final restart and got a little gap heading into 1 before probably 3-4 good laps trying to keep the car as straight as possible on the slick with the grippy line quickly disappearing.

We managed to stay out front and collect the win, it was great to get the monkey off our back at Harrisville and finally get a good result and round the season out on a high. We will most likely sign off there for this season, depending on how upcoming dates go. Its been a successful year for us despite giving up our #1, we dominated at Palmerston North winning the North Island and Grand Prix SNZ trophies as well as placing second in the OST feature there. Our second at Stratford for the NZ title was our strongest performance at the track in the last few seasons and gives us good confidence moving forward. It will be a busy off season of maintenance and modifications but we look forward to another busy summer come October.