Hawke's Bay superstock driver Tony Meechan was a man of mixed emotions on Saturday night.
Meechan, who has been racing in the class for three years, was thrilled to win his first BJ's Bakery Hawke's Bay Superstock championships in front of 3000 fans at ZM Meeanee Speedway.
But he was disappointed his wife Ricci and children Sophie, 5, and Ella, 4, weren't at the track to see his final race and trophy presentation.
"It's the highlight of my time in the sport but they had already gone home by the time the third heat had started ... it had got a bit late for them," Meechan said as supporters congratulated him in the pits afterwards.
A first and two third placings in his three heats for the 14-strong class secured Meechan, who had finished second in last season's championship, the title by five points from clubmate Steve Jude.
"Finishing each race and staying out of trouble was the key tonight. I had a couple of months' rest from the sport and came back fresh for this meeting. Hopefully I can back this title up with the East Coast one at Easter," Meechan said.
Former Hawkeye Garry Foley completed a host track trifecta with his third placing, one point behind Jude.
The Thirsty Whale-sponsored fourth of six rounds in the Pro Dirt-Burger King Super Saloon Series was the evening's other feature attraction.
Wellingtonian Martin Halcrow pipped pole shuffle winner Brent Emerson of Mount Maunganui on the finish line at the end of the 20-lap feature to win the title by five points. Just nine hundreths of a second separated Halcrow and Emerson at the finish line.
Grant Flynn was the best of the four Hawke's Bay drivers in the 16-strong class with a third placing. There were two lead changes during the final lap of the feature. International golf caddy Steve Williams, who works for Aussie golfer Adam Scott, was involved in a three-car collision on lap eight in the feature and forced to withdraw.
The hopes of Hawke's Bay's former national champion, Steve Flynn, were dashed when he hit the wall in the fifth lap of the feature and joined the spectators.
Former national champions Sefton and Clifton Truuts did well to win all three heats in a seven-strong sidecar class.
Hawke's Bay's Darren Melling deserved his driver of the night award in the 12-strong streetstock class. After finishing third in his first heat he finished second in his second before swapping cars with Gisborne visitor Shaun Kingi for the feature, which he won with a drive which included a 20.28s lap time.
Bay kiwilite driver David Wilson took home the Pro Parts Driver of the Night award for all classes.
Wilson recorded two heat wins and a second placing.