Saturday, November 24


By Michael Esdaile

CHRISTCHURCH speedway star Larry Ross added another couple of titles to his already impressive resumé, clinching the 2012 New Zealand Long Track Championship at Invercargill’s Ascot Park raceway on November 21 and then adding the New Zealand Long Track Grand Prix title to his list of achievements.

The nine-times New Zealand Champion made his annual pilgrimage to the Burt Munro Challenge weekend with his old Long Track Jawa and was simply too good for the competition, winning five races from five starts.  The first three decided the national Long Track title, the other two were for the Long Track GP.

The challenge from local expert and lap record holder John Tuffley failed to materialize when the Southlander struck clutch problems and had to start from several metres behind the tapes.  With the races just three laps of the 1000 metre trotting track, Tuffley was unable to mount any challenge to the vastly experienced Ross.

As the man himself said: “with speedway, because it is such an intense sprint race, the start is critical.”

Ross made no mistakes, grabbing the lead from the start of each race and leaving no openings for the chasing pack.

In the Speedway (no gearbox) class, another Christchurch rider reigned supreme with Andrew Aldridge winning all three Long Track races as well as the two GP races.

However, it was a different story in the Non-Speedway Solo class events.  Competitors in this lined up on modified open class motocross bikes and the action at the front was cut-and-thrust, with Winton’s Brent Scamell (Honda CRF450), Invercargill’s Greg Baynes (KTM 450SX-F), Oamaru’s Chris Manson (600cc Honda CR500) and Christchurch-based Southlander Jason Feaver (600cc Honda CR500) going hard at it.

When the grit had stopped flying, Manson ended up with the Long Track title for this class, edging out Feaver but in the GP battle, Feaver ended up taking that title from the hard-riding Baynes.

The ATV class was taken by Southlander Chris McDonald (Yamaha), who bagged both the New Zealand Long Track title as well as the Long Track GP while his father Kevin with passenger Karl Hosie took out the Sidecar Long Track Grand Prix after being beaten by Western Australia-based Southlander Josh Wells and passenger Lance Tulloch in the Long Track Championship.