By Pete McNae

Pull down on your belts and adjust your mirrors — the Hall brothers are back in business.

After some time away from the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway, the substantially-sized siblings have new cars but the same old attitude this season — going fast is fine but bumpers are for bumping.

Of the two, older brother Adam has raced the most recently, missing only last summer. His 19N Rees Tank was nearing the peak of its development and Hall was a regular in the Tasman Thunder stockcar team. Dylan, though, a former Speedway New Zealand Stockcar Rookie of the Year, sold his own Tank after the national title was run in Nelson in the 2014-15 summer.

Adam said both brothers needed time for other things in their life.

“My plan was always to take one season away and then my partner Trace and I had a wee fella at the start of January and we moved from Tapawera to Brightwater and the priorities changed a bit. I could have had a car on the track last season but it was better to take the extra time, get used to having [son] Carter around and jump back in, full noise, this season.”

Dylan and Becky also have a young family while both brothers, although they won’t take any personal credit for it, put in massive hours in February running heavy machinery to clear fire breaks during the Tasman fires. Since he left the sport, Dylan has bought and sold a couple of race cars before settling on his new gear for his return but Adam always had one path in mind.

After seeing the Rees Racecars Spank chassis perform, he was convinced that was the way to go.

“The Tank was getting heavy and we had wrung about as much out of it as we could. Pete and Ethan [Rees] have hit on something with these Spanks — they are engineered to be low maintenance and easy to work on plus they told me that with me being a bigger unit (Hall would stand toe to toe and kilo for kilo alongside an All Blacks blindside flanker), that extra weight over the rear would plant the back wheels on the dirt and the thing would fly.”

The Spank was ordered and the Hall Racing team reluctantly traded away the Tank that had served them well. “We could have kept it, we were still happy with that car but Tony Frost of Ecotech Homes and the Rees boys made it possible for me to get into this new car and, with Dylan coming back to racing, the plan was to have both cars out there to start this season, rather than rush things.”

Adam’s car made it for practice and opening night, Dylan’s ex-superstock Gordge chassis just missed the cut but should be in the pits this Saturday when the Nelson club hosts one of its big meetings for the season, the Coca Cola Fireworks night, presented by Brooks Auto Painters.  While poor numbers have seen a round of the Southern Midget series postponed until November 30, it’s also Brett Lusty Memorial Trophy night for sidecars, the Dave Scott Memorial meeting for superstocks and there are hit to pass promotions for streetstocks and stockcars. The Thunder selectors will also be watching the class to select a team for the triple track teams racing series with Canterbury and Greymouth, starting at Woodford Glen on November 16.

The Thunder lost some momentum last season and had to bypass the stockcar teams nationals in Stratford but have a core group plus a couple of extras this summer with the Halls and Michael Paynter back on track.

“That’s a big focus for me and Dylan, we love the teams racing side of it so we both have our names in the hat. I’m glad the young boys didn’t get pressured to go up to Stratford last season, it was brutal. I think we came away from there saying we’d need more spares.”

Reacting to the suggestion that Dylan will need a little time to get used to turning left again, Adam replied, “He’s more about turning right on guys anyway. It will be bloody good seeing him back out there creating havoc.”

Saturday’s hit to pass meeting will be the ideal opportunity to tune up for teams racing. Drivers don’t need to wreck gear according to Hall, but there’s nothing wrong with cruising the pole line and making passing an adventure for the rest of the class.

“We are both pretty keen to rip in. I didn’t have the setup right on opening night — the new car is quite different from the old Tanker — but we were much closer in the last race and that was the car’s first real hoon. Dylan’s more just looking to get back into it and chuck his bumpers around.

“He’s starting with a very basic motor in it but he still has the race engine from the last season in his Tank and that will go in the car a bit later in the season. I’m pretty sure he can still be a menace with what’s in there now.”

Both boys are targeting the New Zealand title in Greymouth and the GP at Woodford Glen while Adam is keen to have a crack in the North Island. The teams nationals in Stratford have a big red circle round them on the calendar.

“Mike [Paynter] is a good friend and we both felt that we needed some time to regroup with that last season off but we’re back now and ready to lean into it. I had a motocross crash and some knee surgery mid-year and it wasn’t looking good to be able to race but, here I am, good to go and the brother will be there for this meeting — happy days.”

  • Adam Hall’s 19N stockcar is backed by Ecotech Homes, Mean Machine, Tasman Towing, Cleaners Wholesale, AT Electrical, Target MX Coaching, Thomason Customs, HiReach Access Solutions, Rees Racecars and Tony Hoult.  Partner Trace Taylor, dad Pete Hall and mate Dean Robinson keep the wheels turning.
  • Saturday’s meeting starts at 6pm, allowing a full race programme before the popular fireworks display after 9pm. That will still give patrons time to get their seat in front of the telly sorted for the Rugby World Cup final (as if anyone cares now) from 10pm.

Track images, Rebecca Connor Maling. Visit her page BM Photography on Facebook