Ranfurly team wins the other Bathurst

The Team Greenfingers car  (orange)  from  Ranfurly, takes a corner as the team heads towards ...
The Team Greenfingers car (orange) from Ranfurly, takes a corner as the team heads towards victory in the 2014 Bathurst Race Day near Cromwell on Saturday. Photo by Leith Huffadine.
It might not be on Mt Panorama, but the Central Motor Speedway has a ''Bathurst'' of its own.

On Saturday, about 22 teams raced in Bathurst Race Day, held to encourage drivers to try speedway racing on the track near Cromwell.

Speedway promotions manager Jason Scott, of Queenstown, said the annual event started with a ''shoot-out'' in the morning to determine grid positions for the main race.

Teams then had to complete as many laps of the speedway as possible in four hours to find the winning car, which usually completed ''a couple of hundred'' laps.

One-day speedway licences were available for the race, to encourage non-speedway drivers to try the sport.

Entrants came from as far away as Tuatapere, Bluff and Auckland.

There were a few rules that, aside from the speedway track, and the slower speeds - up to 100kmh - set the race apart from the real Bathurst. Mr Scott said usually, the cars, which had to be either Ford Falcons or Holden Commodores, cost about $300.

''They are only allowed 10 litres of petrol in their car at a time, and they have to have a pit stop every 20 minutes to change a tyre and a crew member.''

Drivers took turns driving their team's car. Every now and then there would be a little rivalry.

''There's a bit of friendly shoulder-rubbing allowed,'' Mr Scott said.

About 400 people watched the race, the first of about 10 on the summer speedway season programme. Some of the meetings attract up to 4000 spectators.

The winners were Team Greenfingers, of Ranfurly, followed home by

Team P&P Racing and Team VIP Petfoods. The drivers in the winning team were James Hurley (captain, Ranfurly), Mike Bennett (Ranfurly), James Manning (Australia) and Simon Hunt (Arrowtown).

-leith.huffadine@odt.co.nz

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