Tregoning claims Speedway Spectacular win
Top New Zealand solo rider Grant Tregoning cut a distraught figure at last year's Speedway Spectacular event of the Burt Munro Challenge.
Tregoning was forced to pull out after just one heat, after he failed to shake off the effects off a crash from a few weeks earlier. That meant the Oreti Park-contracted rider from Christchurch was unable to make it four consecutive Speedway Spectacular titles in a row, which frustrated him.
On Saturday night at Oreti Park Speedway, however, Tregoning had a much happier time of it, regaining his title, after leading from start to finish in the five-rider solo final.
Tregoning, who won the New Zealand solos title last year, said the Speedway Spectacular event was one of his highlights of the summer and he was elated to emerge as the victor.
"It's awesome to get this trophy back. I've been missing it," he said.
"I put everything into this meeting every year. Unfortunately last year, I couldn't do it. I had an injury and had to pull out."
Tregoning's title win was set up in the opening stages of the four-lap final, where he made a fantastic start and shot away to an early lead. His advantage grew as the race went on, with Christchurch's Dale Finch and defending champion Southlander Paul Hayes having to settle for second and third respectively.
Tregoning got a fright earlier in the night, when he was beaten by Hayes during the heat stages, and said it was a timely wake-up call.
He went away and tinkered with his bike and was much happier with his speed out of the gate in the final.
"I was just telling myself, I could make the start. Once I made the start, I knew I could win the race. The track was awesome.
"I made a few changes on the bike to get out of the start a bit better."
He admitted he had no idea how much of a lead he had coming into the final lap of the final and said he thought his motor was beginning to seize up.
Tregoning is a fan favourite at the Oreti Park Speedway track, having ridden for the club for the past nine years.
A large crowd turned out to watch Saturday night's racing and Tregoning said he could hear them spurring him on during the closing stages of the final. "It's awesome. I really love the crowd down here. They really get behind you.
"In my opinion, it's the best club in the country. You can't beat them. Everyone here chips in and they're so friendly and nice."
Tregoning, who has competed professionally in the British speedway league for the Newport Wasps, said his major goal for the summer was the New Zealand solo championship in Auckland on January 6. He will be desperate to win back his New Zealand title he surrendered to Jason Bunyan earlier this year and said he was confident in his ability.
"I'm going to chase that with everything we've got. We'll put 150 per cent in for that. I'm just going up there to do what I do, and hopefully come home with the title."
The New Zealand championships shape as an important meet for Tregoning, who essentially needs to win the title, if he is to book a wildcard spot for the World Speedway Grand Prix at Western Springs Stadium on March 23. Last year, he was a reserve rider, which meant he did not get to compete. He said he would dearly love an opportunity to test himself against the best in the world.
The Southland Times