Solo riders battle for top spot at Oreti

20:41, Feb 04 2014
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The Oreti Park Speedway will come alive this Saturday night as 20 of New Zealand's top Solo riders go head-to-head in what will be an epic battle in the Southern Bolts And Fasteners New Zealand Solo Championship.

One rider has more hunger to claim the title than anyone else.

Reigning New Zealand champion Jason Bunyan wants this title as much as any of the eight New Zealand titles he has won in the past.

Speedway royalty Larry Ross holds the record with nine titles to his name and Bunyan said he felt a little bit of pressure every time someone reminded him of this feat, but pressure was something the English-born Kiwi thrived on.

Bunyan started racing motorbikes in the United Kingdom from the age of 6, when he competed in grasstrack events.

At the tender age of 16 Bunyan turned professional and raced on circuits around the United Kingdom, before a serious accident in which he broke his leg, a wrist and his nose.

Bunyan first came to New Zealand when a friend suggested he do his rehabilitation here. After a brief stint back in the United Kingdom he returned to New Zealand and embarked on a professional racing career based out of Auckland.

The 34-year-old Bunyan now calls himself a Kiwi and has represented New Zealand twice at the World Speedway Grand Prix at Western Springs. Bunyan races overseas between March and October where he competes in more than 50 races, then returns home to do another 15 meetings here.

"Oreti Park is one of my favourite tracks I've ever raced on, I'd love to race there a lot more, the crowd is so passionate, the locals are great and really look after me and the team, I can't wait to get back down there."

Bunyan says his toughest rival this weekend will be local rider and good friend Grant Tregoning, a former champion.

He also rates Auckland youngster Bradley Wilson Dean.

"Bradley is one of the best up and coming riders in New Zealand, if not the world. He has an amazing style which is fast and smooth. He will be a real darkhorse in this championship."

The championship also features last year's second and third placegetters Dale Finch, of Christchurch, and Sean Mason, of Auckland.

There will also be plenty of local talent on display. Along with Tregoning, Paul Hayes, John Tuffley, Jack McRae, Connor Spriggs, Jeremy Godfrey and Jake Gillespie will all be competing for the title.

There will also be support classes of sidecars, Pee Wees, Junior and Classic solos, with racing starting at 4pm.


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The Southland Times