Speedway trophy up for grabs

DARRYL SHUTTLEWORTH
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014

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Oreti Park Speedway will honour one of its own on Saturday night when the Brian Reed Memorial Solo trophy goes up for grabs.

New Zealand Grand Prix winner Grant Tregoning will start as the favourite.

While he struggled early in the season with injury and mechanical issues, the Christchurch-based Southland rider has been in blistering form of late.

He claimed second at the New Zealand championship at Oreti Park, won the New Zealand Grand Prix a week later in Christchurch and last week was announced as a reserve rider at the New Zealand round of the World Speedway Grand Prix at Western Springs in Auckland.

In Auckland, experienced rider Paul Hayes and former national under 21 champion Jack McRae will be contenders, along with Jeremy Godfrey, who on his day is as fast as anyone else.

Godfrey has suffered a lot of bad luck this season and knows better than anyone else in this field just how good the safety fence is at Oreti Park.

The sidecar teams will be in action also, after a big weekend away in Christchurch at the New Zealand sidecar championship.

Forty-four teams were entered in Christchurch, including nine from Southland, and three Southland teams qualified for the 16 team championship.

Jason Harper and Mark George, Scott Ayto and Dylan Carnie and Craig McMaster and James Dawson all did enough to make the top 16 after Friday night's qualifying.

Palmerston North pairing Paul Humphrey and Ben Franklin managed to make it back-to-back championships in a gruelling final which saw them the only team finishing after a massive accident one lap out from the finish.

While no Southland teams made the final, Harper and George finished a very creditable seventh and Ayto and Carnie also made the top 10 with a solid ninth overall, both huge results for the Southland contingent.

Saturday night's meeting at the Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway starts at 4pm and features PeeWees, Junior Solos, Classic Solos and Solo Support.

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- The Southland Times

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