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Poignant moments at Teretonga Park

Some poignant moments, very special cars, several international drivers and two days of great racing made for an exciting Ascot Park Hotel Classic SpeedFest at Teretonga Park in Invercargill this weekend.

The Pre 78 Classic Saloon/HVRA races provided the poignant moments.

Te Anau driver Rodger Cunninghame, racing for the final time this weekend after 50 years of competition, took a win in the Saturday race before just missing a second win of the weekend the following day after Rolleston driver Gary Johnstone in a Jaguar XJS beat him by .019 of a second.

In the final race, a handicap event, Mark McGuinness of Wellington in an Alfa Romeo won the Brian Crosbie Memorial Trophy, remembering one of Southland’s best ever saloon racers. Cunninghame finished sixth in that race and received the chequered flag from his wife Barbara and was greeted by his wife and granddaughter as he stepped from his car for the final time.

Todd Read of Queenstown won the other Handicap Race in his Ford Escort from Ewan Macpherson of Winton in an Anglia.

A large contingent of drivers from the UK plus one each from Denmark and the United States lined up in the Formula Junior class where Robin Longdon of Knutsford in the UK in a Lola Mk2 won all four races, the first two after good battles with Noel Woodford of Auckland in a Gemini MK3A.

Steve Ross of Dunedin won three of the four Classic Saloon races in the iconic PDL 1 Mustang with Mike Baker of Picton (Porsche 964) second on each of those occasions. Baker won the other race, the first of the weekend for the class when Ross retired with mechanical issues.

Rangiora driver, Royce Bayer, in an Argo SMR001 won three of the four Formula Libre races, Jacob Begg of Winton taking the other in his Van Diemen RF92. Barry Leitch of Invercargill in a Ralt RT4 had a troubled weekend only starting two of the races and not making the finish of either, the first due to a mechanical problem and the second after a car spun in front of him.

Paul Coghill of Dunedin made a clean sweep of the Vintage Racing Car races in his Jaguar Special, leading home Tracey Barrett of Christchurch in a Lotus 23C Replica on each occasion. Russell Greer of Blenheim in the Stanton Corvette took two third placings while David Owen of Christchurch in his Jaguar C Type and Bill Cowie of Blenheim (Holden Spangeralli) snared the other third placings.

Jordan Michels of Invercargill in his Marc Mustang won both the Noel McIntyre Drainage Club Saloons Group A races while Guy Stewart of Christchurch in his Porsche 911 took both Group B contests.

Michels also won the 2501cc class race and the Flying Farewell while fourteen-year-old Nieko Scoles of Woodlands in his Toyota 86 took the 0-2500cc honours.

The next motor race meeting at Teretonga Park will be Southern Thunder, featuring the NZ Super Truck Championship and Mainland Muscle Cars plus several other classes over the weekend of 16/17 March.

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