Racers start engines for season

23:36, Nov 01 2012

Modified class fans will tomorrow night get their first look at the local line-up preparing for the New Zealand championships to be held at Stratford Speedway on January 11-12.

Titleholder Bunter Pierce will be racing, so will the Ward brothers but John Jackson's car is not ready.

The sad news is that Mark Dixon has retired from the dirt oval to go Targa rallying.

"I'm going to make it easier for the others," said Dixon, who has won the North Island title for the past two years and was expected to have his sights on the national trophy.

"To be competitive we were looking at an engine rebuild and I doubt we'd get it set up properly in time. The crew and I were also keen on changing to something different. I wouldn't entirely rule out going back to the dirt, but the whole car package is for sale for $20,000 so that could be difficult for me."

Ten cars are likely to be on the grid tomorrow night, including newcomer Tony Reade and regulars, Kalin, Crawford, Lowry, Julian, Marshall and Luscombe. They'll be battling for the City of New Plymouth Classic Trophy, as also will the stock cars and minisprints.

The big annual fireworks display will complete the meeting.