Speedway organiser Steve Williams is hoping his luck at Invercargill's Riverside Speedway turns during tonight's meet.
Williams, who is caddying for Australian golfer Adam Scott after previously carrying the bag of Tiger Woods from 1999 to 2011, is a keen speedway enthusiast and will be one of the drivers to beat but only if his fortunes in Invercargill improve.
A previous visit south in 2009 ended in disappointment when engine problems ended his night.
''I'm dying to race at Invercargill tonight because the last time I had a bit of trouble with my camshaft so I haven't actually been on the track. I'm hoping to get a better run tonight,'' he said.
''My only memory from here, because obviously I didn't have a good night, was it was a Monday night and the place was packed. I could believe it and hopefully we get another good crowd.''Williams was happy with the way the series got under way in Dunedin last night.
The five-round series continues in Cromwell tomorrow night and finishes in Blenheim on Sunday.
''Last night was the first night and the important thing was just to get the show running. I'm one of the organisers of it and getting the show underway is always a bit difficult because everyone is champing at the bit to get under way.
''A classy field of 25 drivers has been assembled for this week's DHL-sponsored speedweek, and series manager Wes Hughes said Riverside was a popular track for many of the competitors.
"They love it. We've been told it's a better track this year," he said. "This is the third year we've brought the [saloons] down here. Riverside has always been great and I believe this year will be better."
Leading contenders for the round win tonight include Williams, defending champion Chris Cowling from Mt Maunganui, Scott Lansdowne, who won the South Island series in 2010, Cromwell's Daryl Ainsley and Auckland's Nigel Ross.
Hughes said one of the dark horses in the lineup could be Rob Flood, who has been one of the big improvers over the last few years.
Riverside Speedway is looking in superb condition for the meet after undergoing a huge makeover to meet standards set by the sport's governing body, Speedway New Zealand, and Occupational Safety and Health.
The upgrade has involved reconstruction of the track walls, surface, safety fences and an overhaul of the drainage system.
Riverside Speedway president Graeme McKernan said it was one of the premier events on the calendar for the club this season and was optimistic of a big crowd.
Tonight's racing will begin with a 12-lap North Island v South Island challenge, with four cars in each team.
The 25 saloons will then be split into two groups and race two heats. The top eight cars will go into a shootout, which will determine the grid for the feature race.
The feature race will involve 20 of the 25 starters and is fought out over 20 laps.
- The Southland Times