Some of New Zealand's youngest and toughest drivers will be battling for supremacy when they compete for the under-23 stockcar champs at Stratford Speedway tonight.
The event, which is held annually at Stratford Speedway and is in its seventh year, always produces stunning racing.
Many of the drivers are race wise beyond their years, have been racing youth ministocks since they were 12 and have developed good driving skills and race craft.
This season, the event has attracted a field of 28 competitors, with entries coming from as far south as Invercargill and as far north as Auckland. Entries were originally higher, but several drivers have had to withdraw for various reasons, including top Palmerston North competitor Jordan Dare who has withdrawn his entry as he is too bruised to race after racing in the superstock teams' champs last weekend in Palmerston North.
Wellington's Todd Jenkins and Auckland's Chanelle Gordon have both withdrawn due to engine issues.
Heading the lineup is current New Zealand No 1 Jayden Ward from Palmerston North. Ward leads a strong contingent of cars from the Manawatu.
Also racing under the Palmerston North banner is Hawera driver Rebecca Barr who is now the only female competitor in the event after the withdrawal of Gordon. Barr normally races in the superstock class but has borrowed a stockcar to compete in this event.
Local competitors will have their best chance ever of winning the trophy with seven cars entered. Mitch and Kurt Vickery, along with Tyler Walker, are the fastest of the locals, while new driver to the class Jayden Meyer has also proven to be quick. If they work together, victory is certainly an option.
Mark Taylor, who has made the haul up from Invercargill the last couple of seasons, is again making the long trip north. This weekend he is joined by Christchurch driver Scott Manson.
Another leading chance is Auckland's Scott Tennant.
Mitchell Hill, who won the event last season will not be defending the title, now over the age limit.
The king of the mountain midgets champs, which will also be raced for on the night has attracted a field of 10 competitors, including Duane Hickman who has recently returned from racing in Australia.
The superstocks field will be boosted by the attendance of Tauranga racer Kyle Stove and Palmerston North contracted driver Phillip Gargan.
Other classes include the youth and adult ministocks as well as stockcars for those too old to compete in the under-23 champs.
- Taranaki Daily News
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