South's North sends rest west in the east
HIS name is North, he comes from the south and he sent the field west at Eastland Group Raceway on Saturday night.
You can look at Paddy North's surname two ways.
Some would say ironic, considering he's a mainlander.
Others would argue it's obviously ideal after his victory in the Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club North Island Super Saloon Championship.
Gisborne fans could have been excused for being a little confused when North came out wearing 46G on his door.
They soon learned that he had to register with the Gisborne Speedway Club to be eligible and the letter on his car had been doctored to look like a G.
The locals weren't complaining. It gave them a good, albeit weak, excuse to claim North, plus his name goes up on the club's honours board as one of their own.
North won the three-race points title after placing eighth in the opening heat, winning heat two and finishing second in heat three.
He finished two points clear of young Huntly driver Craig Cardwell, with New Zealand champion and 1NZ Shane McIntyre of Tauranga a point back in third.
Home track hopeful Darren McKinley gave his supporters plenty to cheer about when he won race one in a borrowed car.
McKinley wrecked his machine at the national championships in Cromwell three weeks ago and turned out in the 77 machine of Hawke's Bay's Grant Hill.
He set the pace to win from Cromwellian Ray Stewart - who also registered to Gisborne for the night - and Hawke's Bay regular Grant Flynn.
North won race two after duking it out with Mount Maunganui's Paul Carter, who settled for second ahead of Aucklander Lance Jennings.
The final heat saw North take an early lead from Cardwell after McIntyre - looking to add the North Island crown to his national and NZ grand prix victories - made a mistake from the front row of the grid and lost a couple of spots
From there it was North versus Cardwell for the 15 laps.
Into the final turn, North went a little wide as he approached some backmarkers and Cardwell slipped past superbly on the inside to snatch the win, with Flynn third.
North, now an "adopted" Gisbornite, was ecstatic with his overall win on a track with a history of success for the affable character.
He won the super saloon stampede here a couple of seasons ago.
- The Gisborne Herald
3 February 2009