||Last Updated: Feb 24th, 2016 - 11:40:46
Wild Piglets team members James Douglass and Ricky Pubben made no mistake with the rerun of the title race final to lead out and although being chased very hard by Palmerston North’s Paul Humphrey and Patrick Larsen, they had the home town crowd on their feet.
They timed this restart to perfection as they appeared to be struggling to reach the form they had shown earlier in the year. They made history in winning the NZ title. The first by a Southland pairing. Oreti had been represented on the podium before, but no one had managed to take the top spot. Third home after a hard fought meeting, was the Kihikihi pairing of Jamie Moohan and Jacob Cooper.
They were left at the start by Douglass and Humphreys and one had to wonder whether the reception the very large parochial crowd gave them as they lined up had an effect. I doubt it, but the crowd particular down the back straight, gave them a royal Southland welcome on the way to the line after their successful protest put out the home town team of Fraser and Jonny Gillespie for a little bit of rubbing through the final turn. Who’d be a ref? Video replays were used to make the decision and both in what we call “the money rounds”.
The initial final was a real flyer but the delay with the protest saw a prepared track going off before the race and there were rightfully some nervous competitors. Top qualifier and unbeaten in the competition, Andrew Buchanan and Denny Cox made a good start to lead out but the slick nature of the track saw Paul Humphrey take back the lead cutting back underneath. With Buchanan chasing hard, the first turn in lap two became his undoing as Humphrey tried to keep it tight.
From what I saw the track did not give him the grip and response he wanted. This left a hard charging Buchanan and Cox, who was looking to go deep and cut back in under, nowhere to go and slammed Humphrey hard pushing them wide. The race was stopped and unfortunately for Buchanan and Cox they were excluded. It was a racing error at the eleventh hour. Unlike his protest in the South Island title earlier in the year, where Buchanan was convinced he had a point to argue, (which he won), this time a somewhat distraught competitor followed the stewards instructions and left the track.
These two competitors from Palmerston North know each other well. Both had a plan to counter each other’s attack which they knew was on the cards and no doubt they will be back to fight it out on another day.
It was a fantastic NZ Title meeting. Outstanding support with over 40 competitors fighting out a full day of qualifying before a twenty heat (five races each where they met everybody) a B final to find that last spot and overall final race. Around nineteen unsuccessful competitors fought hard in the support racing.
Good support from the track preparation team, clean racing (rubbing is racing) with only a couple of falls. Humphrey and Larsen involved twice and they got the rub of the green on this occasion. No ambulance on the track and no one collected the air fence. Great support from the North Island and some tuff stories for some to tell. Chain breaks, coil breakdowns, steering head bearing failure, fuel pump wiring, dying battery and tape infringements. All part of the drama of a championship. Good spirits where competitors lent others bikes in the hour of need. Brilliant comradery and an excellent weekend.
NZ Title: 1st James Douglass / Ricky Pubben Oreti: 2nd Paul Humphrey / Patrick Larsen Palmerston North: 3rd Jamie Moohan / Jacob Cooper Kiihikihi: 4th Andrew Buchanan / Denny Cox Palmerston North
Support Final: 1st Josh Wells / Regan Feck Australia: 2nd Grant Lightfoot / Phil Rooney Oreti: 3rd Daniel Harper / Brad Waddock Oreti: 4th Adie Drake / Kieran Satherley Nelson.
Media: Warrick Korstanje February 2016
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