New award for bulging trophy cabinet
Story by: Nelson Mail - Photo by:
Veteran speedway reporter Pete McNae was recognised for his contribution to the sport at the New Zealand Speedway Awards dinner in Auckland on Saturday night as the Nelson Mail again won the Best Local Media Support for Speedway trophy.
The Fairfax Media sub-editor has picked up the prize in that category for 12 of the last 15 years at the function honouring competitors, clubs and officials' efforts from the past season. With McNae also winning the best speedway journalist award three times before it was discontinued, he now has 15 national speedway trophies in his collection.
He said there was a team effort behind the Mail's latest accolade.
"It is a media award, it's not just about the words. The photographic coverage from Shuttersport is high-quality work.
"I'd single out Barry Whitnall, who drives through from Murchison to shoot the fortnightly meetings, for a lot of the credit."
Only two Nelson-based entrants were up for awards, the Nelson Mail and Ian Burson's 21N super saloon team, who were pipped for their class award by national champion Grant Flynn from Hawke's Bay.
McNae, who has been covering speedway for 25 seasons - a decade longer than there has been a recognised national awards ceremony - said that, in his opinion, speedway in Nelson is in good shape.
"It [speedway] seems to be coming through some tight financial times with high competitor numbers, lots of new faces joining the ranks and consistently strong results around the country."
He said that was only going to be enhanced this summer with Nelson hosting the New Zealand Home Loans NZ superstock championships in January.
"I think the coming season will reinforce just how a club that's run by a large band of volunteers can stage a fully professional show.
"There are many millions of dollars worth of race cars coming to the province. Nelson's up for it already."
Season highlights from the past campaign include qualifying night for the national super saloon championships and a couple of lap- record setting solo drives by Christchurch midget campaigner Dave Kerr.
"Over 25 years, I have seen thousands of competitors and millions of laps but each season there's always someone who can get you off your cushion with a spectacular drive."
McNae wanted to thank Nelson speedway and Speedway New Zealand director Sandra Birdling for annually collating and entering the Mail's efforts in the national awards ceremony.
"Without Sandra, those 15 trophies would be . . . oh, about none, " he said.
McNae is also the current national basketball writer of the year, having won that award at the conclusion of the NBL season in May.
The 2012-13 season starts at the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park Speedway with the opening practice on September 8.