By Pete McNae


The devastating quakes that were centred on North Canterbury early on Monday morning, and the more than 1700 that have been felt around the country since, have had a significant effect on the lives and livelihoods of thousands. Two people were killed, others are yet to be accounted for and homes, roads, rail links and workplaces have been ruined.

A lesser consequence of the 7.8 magnitude quakes was that interisland ferry services were disrupted. The Palmerston North Panthers superstock team was due to travel to Nelson’s Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway for Saturday’s Challenge Cup race against the Nelson Tigers. With crossings uncertain, the call was made yesterday to postpone the Panthers’ visit. The Challenge Cup meeting will be raced at a later date.

Last night, the Nelson Speedway Association discussed the plans for Saturday’s meeting, now the feature promotion is┬áno longer happening. It has been decided to go ahead with all six classes as listed and to give a cut of the gate takings to the quake rebuild effort in the likes of Kaikoura and Hanmer. In addition, there will be a promotion for the stockcar class called the Stockcar Stirrer 500, involving a $500 cash prize for the driver who mixes it up the most.

The last Nelson meeting saw Phil Krammer, Michael Paynter and Brad Neiman trigger the stirring with the likes of Craig Tatnell and Jared Prestidge perhaps seeking payback. The class should also see the first appearance of the Rex and Levi Collier car, and stirring runs strongly in the Collier family blood.

With Blenheim’s Eastern States Speedway cancelling its meeting on Sunday, the Nelson club will approach stockcar and streetstock drivers from over the hill while Woodford Glen has superstocks on stand down on Saturday so calls will also be made there. The results of those calls and whether any visiting drivers are available to travel might not be known until Saturday.

Along with the Stockcar Stirrer 500, Saturday’s 6pm meeting at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway also features the Mark Thorn Memorial for sidecars, round one of the TQ midget club championships, a best pairs promotion for youth ministocks plus the streetstock hit to pass and superstock open races.

While the club is disappointed that it cannot present the Challenge Cup this week, it acknowledges the damage and distress created by Monday’s quakes and hopes to be able to do something to help by donating a percentage of its takings from Saturday’s meeting.

Photo: Tom Laney, www.imagepress.co.nz