Outlaws, Comets compete for South Is pride

DARYL SHUTTLEWORTH
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014

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The final round of the Interprovincial Solo Teams Series takes place at the Oreti Park Speedway tomorrow night.

The Southland Outlaws take on the Canterbury Comets in the final round of a series that has already been decided, and the Auckland Rhinos took victory in the inaugural competition.

While both the Southland and Canterbury teams are now out of the running, South Island pride is on the line and spots in the South Island team to take on the North Island team later this year are also up for grabs.

The Southland Outlaws will be wanting to finish the competition strongly.

They are yet to score a point in the competition, but have a good enough team on paper to do it.

Southland captain Grant Tregoning will be pleased to see some of his younger team members have been in form the past couple of meetings after a very ordinary start to the season.

Hayden Sims and Jack McRae will be heavily relied on, and the team also has the vast experience of Paul Hayes and John Tuffley.

Jeremy Godfrey will also be part of the Southland Outlaws and has been as fast as any other rider this season but suffered a couple of nasty accidents.

The Canterbury Comets have a strong team and last time the two teams met in Christchurch the Comets won, 40 points to 31.

The team includes two former New Zealand champions in captain Dale Finch and Andrew Aldridge.

This pairing should provide the bulk of Canterbury's points - other team members are Kody Toucher, Ryan Moss and Brannon Coppard, who finished fourth in the New Zealand under-21 championship held over Christmas.

The meeting is also the Southland championships for Pee Wees, Juniors and sidecars.

In the Pee Wees, Hayden Brookland has been unbeatable all season and looks favorite to claim the Southland title, but there is a lineup of riders who have been on the improve and could push for an upset.

Savanah Caulfield, Cormac Buchanan and Mason Coulthard were strong last weekend and should make this championship fairly hard fought-for.

Sam Taylor has shown over previous meetings that he is the man to beat in the Junior Solos.

In just his first season on the bigger bikes, Taylor has developed a riding style that will help him develop strongly through the grades in years to come, but at the moment Tayor has his sights set firmly on claiming his first Southland title.

The Southland championship for sidecars promises to be fierce.

Defending Southland champions Lionel Green and Shayne Breech will make the trip south from Christchurch to try to repeat last year's win, but there are several local teams showing some strong form as of late and this may well be one of the closest championships in the club's 40-year history.

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Kevin McDonald and Karl Hosie were unbeaten last weekend, only to be eliminated in the final for a start-line infringement, and they will be determined to make up for that this weekend, as will Bradley Sharp and Neville Chalmers, who claimed an upset victory in the Peter Blick Memorial.

Other teams looking strong are Aiden Thwaites and Daniel Gillett, Craig McMaster and James Douglas, Jason Harper and Mark George along with multiple Southland title winners Fraser and Johnny Gillespie.

There will be a full field of support classes, including Classic Solos, Solo Support and 250cc Solos.

Racing starts at 4pm.

- The Southland Times

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