Richard ‘Danger’ Moore took his second win of the weekend after another thriller in the PORTERGROUP V8 Utes, holding off a three car train of Paul ‘Auto’ Manuell, Matt ‘Stinger’ Spratt and Peter ‘Kaos’ Ward for most of the race, but it wasn’t enough to stop Manuell securing the round win and extending his championship lead.
Starting off the second row Moore made the perfect getaway in wet conditions, slotting between front row sitters Manuell and Matt ‘Stinger’ Spratt. And there he would stay for the remainder of the race, despite intense pressure from Manuell, who himself had his mirrors full of an epic scrap between Spratt and Peter ‘Kaos’ Ward in the Ward Demolition Holden. That scrap kept the faithful crowd at Teretonga entertained for almost the duration, before a brave attempt by Ward to pass Spratt at the final turn sent Kaos into the kitty litter and after a second off at Turn 1 trying to make up ground, to the pack at the back of the race.
With the action at the front providing some very absorbing entertainment, it was easy to overlook some brilliant performances behind. Jamie ‘Slenderman’ Gaskin showed he is learning the ropes quickly in the category with a confident, if lonely drive to fourth place and first of the Fords in his 82C Ryco Stadium Finance example, while Nigel ‘Hammered’ Hanley turned in arguably his best driver ever in the category in fifth.
At the start Hanley (pictured) had gone off the main straight and across the grass, re-joining the pack right at the back. What followed, however, was sheer brilliance. Lap after lap he traded fastest times with the race leaders, often lapping two or three seconds quicker than the cars around him. His fifth place was solely on merit and included several notable passes. Had he started nearer the front, he had the race pace to have easily been in the top three.
Glen ‘Coyote’ Collinson made the most of a dismal weekend with a decent sixth place in the final race, but after being a pace setter at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park just one week earlier, would have been glad to pack up the DNA Paints Ford FG and head back North to the more familiar tracks of the North Island for the final two rounds of what has been an awesome PORTERGROUP V8 Ute season.
When the points were completed Manuell left Teretonga 49 points ahead of Moore, who will have been ruing his off in the second race. In a championship series now being fought out so closely on the track, such moments can be very costly over the season.
The category now takes a brief break before reconvening for the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild in two weeks, where battle on the track is likely to be just as fierce and intense.