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Race Report NZ Championship 17th February 2024

NZ Championship

Stratford Speedway would be the venue for this years NZ Championship for the Minisprint class, and we headed down following a good preparation, buoyed by a strong win the round earlier at Palmerston North. It would be our first run in Taranaki this season, but despite this we were confident in our speed and had some improvements to try out since last season. The format would be three heats over the night and the winner would be chosen from aggregate points meaning we had plenty of cars to pass. Car speed would be important with the heats only being 15 laps each.

We drew a mid grid for the first race, giving us outside pole for the second heat and rear grid for the finale, but luck would always decide if that draw would be the winning ticket. Heat one went well for us on a heavy track, we were a little tight to fire off but as the track burnt off a little we picked up plenty of speed. Our opening few laps gained us a couple of spots but our progress seemed to stall in the middle of the race, before right at the end when we closed the gap and started to pick them off. A stack up in front of us gave us a little damage, but fortunately we could hang on for the last couple of laps, even making another spot on the way to the flag.

Race two was a must win for us off the front of the grid and we made the right adjustments to suit the drying track. We led from the outside row into turn one and gapped the field a little before a yellow closed things up again. We held out for the win showing some good pace and learning some clean lines around the bumps that had developed through the night.

The final race would be the money race with all the work to do starting from the rear. Our main competition was down the back with us except for one starting on the front. This meant we would need to make it through to a top five to be in the hunt. As we went green we had a clean run through the first few laps and made some spots before the field got strung out a little and we could pick them off. Our car pace was good and we were on a tear towards the front. We made a spot on the final lap to put us into fifth and secure the points lead for the championship coming off the track.

However it was not to be and the referees would call us upstairs for a lap one pass on the pole line. Despite being pushed down there it was deemed we gained an advantage and we were handed a two spot relegation pushing us back to the 2NZ. It was a still a great result for the team at a track we had typically struggled with and had no real expectations for heading in. We will be proud to run the 2 for the next year, starting at Palmerston North again for the Grand Prix in March.

In addition if you’re keen to get your hands on some merch we have our now vintage 1NZ 2022-23 season shirts out in a variety of sizes available in the shop for $30. We can also send them out if you aren’t able to make it in.