CONTRASTING APPROACH FOR V8 UTE STARS
Expect plenty of excitement when the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge resumes at Teretonga Park in Invercargill this weekend after a six week break.
The series has been hard fought and the top three in the series - Caine Lobb of Whangarei, Simon Beirne of Christchurch and Chris Pither, originally of Palmerston North but now based in Australia, have very different mindsets and strategies as they approach Round 3 of the championship.
Series leader Lobb comes to Teretonga in his Mark Cromie Holden with one thing in mind - "to do as well as I can and get as many points as I can." Lobb has what he describes as a "comfy little lead" and he has no worries about getting through the traffic as required by the series reverse grid races. "My karting background built up my racecraft and I see that as a strength, it works in my favour."
Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne has been consistent in his Team McDonald's Falcon and he sees that consistency as a key to winning championships. "We will be looking to stay out of trouble and cement those points," says the current Teretonga lap record holder.
The approach of Chris Pither 'The Gypsy' in the Gallagher XR8 Falcon will be very different to the two drivers ahead of him in the points. "I have nothing to lose," said Pither recently. The defending champion has had a troubled start to his title defence and finds himself 141 points behind Lobb. "I will be going all out," he says of this round.
For business reasons impressive Aussie Rob Jarvis will miss both the Teretonga and Timaru rounds of the championship. 'The Captain', a veteran of over 200 starts in the Australian Series, had been running competitively in New Zealand.
While he is not on the grid plenty of others are willing to take the challenge to the championship leaders including 20-year-old Chris Hanley of Auckland, already a race winner in his rookie season, and Mike 'Buzz' Lightfoot in the BSL Falcon.
Meanwhile the remainder of the field can be relied upon to provide great racing with plenty of drivers capable of scaling the podium as characters known by names such as T-Bone (Michael Morton), Kaos (Peter Ward) and Sly & Dirty (Bob Grove) just waiting their chance.
There have been many hours of testing and many an hour spent in the workshop since the previous round as the teams chase more speed in time for the series resumption this weekend.
However with marble draw and reverse grids to contend with and a grid packed full of hard charging drivers you can bet there will be many twists and turns in the plot of this series yet to come.
For Teretonga spectators, some of the most passionate in the country, this will be their first chance to see the V8 Utes as part of the Tier 1 programme so for many this will be the first time they have experienced the excitement of V8 Ute racing.
Prior to taking to the track this weekend several of the ENZED V8 Utes delighted the crowd at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's Cup meeting at the Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Thursday evening. The utes paraded on the front straight in front of the large crowd and spent some time on display. One lucky patron, Larry Mitchell, won a lucky draw for a hot lap at Teretonga Park during the race weekend.
The category enjoys the support of ENZED, UDC Finance, Radio Hauraki, Yokohama, Castrol, Citizen Watches, Exedy, Armorall, SCT and EFILive.
-source: nz utes