The opening round of the Manawatu Car Club’s Winter Series was contested in a close fashion but saw Amy Smith stand out as the one to beat early on in the series as she took two race wins and a very close second.
Smith set a blistering time in qualifying to convincingly grab pole position over her competitors while young rookie Blake Evans pipped Alex Hawley to second by 0.066s. SpeedSport Scholarship winner Conrad Clark took fourth ahead of Taylor Hurst and Paul Butler in fifth and sixth respectively.
The opening race saw Smith take the win ahead of Clark and Hawley. Evans was unable to capitalise on his second-place start, falling out of contention early on. Taylor Hurst ran into problems when a small mechanical issue wrecked his hopes of mixing it up the front. While Hurst showed great promise late in the race getting past Butler, it was only enough to secure fifth behind Evans.
Race two was another close affair with the run to the line between Clark and Smith as close as you’ll ever see. Just 0.083s separated Clark and Smith, with Clark edging out the race one winner. Alex Hawley was not far behind either, taking third just a few car lengths behind Smith. Butler would take fourth this time as both Evans and Hurst failed to finish.
The final race of the weekend would take place with one less car after Conrad Clark lost his engine during his race win. That left Smith and Hawley to battle it out for the win, with Smith proving victor come the chequered flag. Hawley grabbed second while Taylor Hurst got a trouble free run to third. Blake Evans secured another fourth with Paul Butler fifth.
Photo: Callum Crawley