Four Bay saloon drivers up against country's best
Don't be surprised if Shane Laking does the best of the Hawke's Bay drivers in the fifth and final round of the Pit Stop Saloon Series at Meeanee Speedway on Saturday night.
A Future Products Group fabricator, Laking, 51, has had a memorable fifth season in the class. During his last outing at Meeanee at Easter Laking (pictured above, photo John Faulkner) steered his 350 Chev-powered car to title glory in the East Coast Championship.
Earlier this season Laking finished second in the Wellington Championship and third equal in the Hawke's Bay Championship. Laking's speedway career began as an 18-year-old in the streetstock class.
He has also raced in the kiwilites, stockcar and superstock classes. Other Hawke's Bay drivers in the 22-car field on Saturday night will be Hawke's Bay champion Kevin Martin, George Hildred and Dave Hunter.
The Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted Josh Smith, who finished third equal with Laking in the Hawke's Bay Championship, will have plenty of "home crowd" support.
None of the four Hawke's Bay drivers have raced in the previous four rounds. Fancied visitors include Mount Maunganui's Jarred Fletcher who won the respective first and second rounds in Gisborne and Kihi Kihi, Stratford's Thomas Korff who won the respective third and fourth rounds in Auckland and Stratford and national saloon class champion Chris Cowling who won the North Island super saloon class title at Meeanee last month.
The other feature events on Saturday night will be the East Coast production saloon championship and Hawke's Bay TQ championship. Superstocks and ministocks will provide the support class action and racing begins at 5pm. The BJ's Bakery and Cafe, Hastings Autumn Nationals Superstock event which was to be staged on Saturday night has been postponed until May 1.
Meanwhile the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes Superstock team has been named to attempt a second consecutive Auckland Team Nationals title on April 24 and 25. It is:
Clayton Hagen, Quinn Ryan, Regan O'Brien, Randal Tarrant, Hayden Hart and manager Mike McLachlan.
Tarrant is a member of the Takapau Terrors team which will start Night Two of the Peter Barry Memorial Demolition Derby Teams event in Palmerston North as one of the fancied teams after being one of the group winners on Night One at Easter. Other members of the Terrors team are Beatle Tarrant, Zach Lawrence, Daniel McIntyre and Stu Smith.
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