NZ Utes: Burners Trans Tasman preview

BURNERS READY TO TAKE ON AUSTRALIA IN HAMILTON AT THE V8 UTE TEST MATCH OF THE CENTURY... National podium winners, the father and son dynamic duo of Graham "Snr Burner' Beirne and Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne are certain to be major players as they...


National podium winners, the father and son dynamic duo of Graham "Snr Burner' Beirne and Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne are certain to be major players as they represent the New Zealand team in this weekends Trans Tasman V8 Ute Test Match, part of the ITM 400 around the streets of Hamilton. Senior Burner and Junior "Mac Burger" as he has been commonly referred to are accomplished competitors in the Ute category and with three races to decide Trans Tasman bragging rights at Hamilton this weekend they will be key men to the kiwis chances.

Graham 'Snr' Burner is fresh from a stellar season in the NZ V8 Ute Series. At 62 years of age and still with plenty left in him he showed speed and consistency in his John Jones Steel Falcon throughout the season to finish third in the hard fought championship behind two of the young guns of New Zealand motorsport - Chris Pither and Caine Lobb. Meanwhile Simon 'Jnr Burner', sporting the Golden Arch's of his proud sponsor McDonalds finished runner-up in the inaugural NZ V8 Ute Series in 2008 and fourth by one point the following season. One of the many highlights in that time was his round victory at the A1GP World Cup Of Motorsport event at Taupo in January 2009. This season 'Jnr Burner' has had a break from the series due to focusing on his business and further family commitments but he and his familiar Team McDonald's Falcon were excited to return to the final round last month in Timaru and grabbed plenty of attention by qualifying on the front row of the grid after more than twelve months away from the track, proving he is very much a force to be reckoned with.

The Burners are now ready and waiting for the Trans Tasman battle that awaits them only a few days away at the challenging and demanding street circuit at Hamilton.

"As a motor racing enthusiast you want to race at the pinnacle events and this is one of them. There will be huge Ford support for our team and sporting the Golden Arch's we will have the crowd well and truly behind us....its going to be fun. I must remember to keep telling myself that as concrete walls are looming up at over 200 kms an hour," he jests. "This is NZ v Australia at a V8 Supercar round, it doesn't get any bigger!"

"The biggest event in my career to date was the A1GP event at Taupo - it was the pinnacle of my career to be on the podium with the cup, squirting the champagne. I would like to fulfil that same goal in Hamilton."

Looking at the challenge ahead Simon continues, "I will take it in my stride. It is a street circuit and it will be very demanding and it will need all the focus I can muster. We have to finish all three races. To finish first, first you must finish. This is very much a cliche statement but ohh so true. We don't have the budget of the V8 Supercars, nowhere near it, so we are only able to practice on this course for 30 minutes in our first session, then we have a 30 minute qualifying session, prior to our first race. So there is not a lot lof time for us to get to know the track. Mentally the walls will also be a challenge but Graham and I raced the street circuit in Nelson a number of years ago now and you do adjust and sync into the course, then the rules change and you slowly tame the beast and treat it like any other course you have been on before. I think it is also Graham and my turn for a little luck to aid our quest this weekend. I intend to put my best foot forward. I have my own goals. I want to raise the flag high for McDonald's and do well for our team, friends and family behind the scenes."

Simon says his father, 'Snr Burner', has the same goals. "Dad is the same. He's still on a high after securing third in the national championship. Andy Neale will go through our data and tell us what we need to do, he is exceptional in his field and along with Richard from DCH Motorsport we will be very well heeled. However we will need consistency and luck. Dad is exceedingly competitive, moreso now at 62 than he was at 18. The target will be to head back to Christchurch with two utes back on the trailer with none or minimal damage while we can walk away extremely proud of our efforts. Then at 10.30am Sunday morning after the final race we can sit back and watch how the big boys in the V8 Supercars do it."

Competitors in the Trans Tasman V8 Ute Test Series will receive a 30 minute test session at 8.55am on Friday morning before qualifying at 10.40am. The first two races take place on Saturday at 9.05am and 1.20pm over 10 laps. The final race over 14 laps is due to take place at 10.20am on Sunday morning.

In addition to the support of major partners McDonalds and John Jones Steel in conjunction with Simon Beirne Limited, "Integrity in Vehicle Brokering," the team also has support from Bruce Raxworthy Panel & Paint, Chevron Quality Cars-Driving Excellence, Business IT Software Management Systems, Mag & Turbo Warehouse, Jeffs Vehicle Deliveries and Lets Get Graphic and DJ Hewitt Builders Ltd.

-source: burners

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Series V8S
Drivers Chris Pither