Simon Baker of Wellington leads the way as the Nexen Tyre Mazda Racing Series heads north to Taupo International Motorsport Park for Round 3 of their National Championship over the weekend of 11/12 February. The three races will also constitute Round 3 of the series’ North Island Championship.
Series competitors spent the last two weekends of January in the South Island, fighting out the opening rounds of the National Championship. Those rounds saw fantastic racing, lap records at both circuits visited, and three drivers who won two races each in the six races held to date.
Baker won two of the three races at the opening round at Mike Pero Motorsport Park at Ruapuna in Christchurch with Leo Bult of Auckland breaking the lap record and winning the other race. A week later at Timaru 16-year-old Chris White Jnr of Prebbleton took two wins and broke the lap record with Bult taking the other win.
That means coming to the third round, the first in the North Island, Baker has a 15-point lead over White Jnr with the championship fight all on. While Bult has matched the top two for race wins he lies tenth in the championship after an accident and a non-start at Ruapuna and a lowly qualifying spot in damp conditions at Timaru.
The Taupo races also double as Round 3 of the series’ North Island Championship. Rex Edwards of Tauranga leads that by just 6 points from Matt Horne of Masterton with Baker third, 19 points off the lead. The points table is tight however with Sam Dashfield of Auckland fourth, Terry Edwards (Waihi) fifth and Aucklanders Flynn Mullany and Bult tied for sixth just 24 points off the lead.
Behind the scenes some of the Auckland drivers have been working hard to get Mullany into a car for this round after he suffered an engine loss at Timaru. Scott Davies has generously donated an engine with Leo Bult and Elton Wichman putting in some serious hours to transplant it into a donor car.
Qualifying, where competitors vie for the $500 Premier Insulation Pole Award, and the first race of the round over 8 laps will take place on Saturday with a ten- lap race with a top ten reverse grid over 10 laps on Sunday morning and an 8-lap race to end the round on Sunday afternoon.
New Zealand Championship Points (after Round 2):
1: Simon Baker (Wellington) 242
2: Chris White Jnr (Prebbleton) 227
3: Warren Crowther (Auckland) 185
4=: Sam Dashfield (Auckland) 169
4=: Matt Dodd (Christchurch) 169
6: Dalan Price (Rangiora) 166
7: Elton Wichman (Auckland) 162
8: Matt Horne (Masterton) 153
9: Shane Paget (Rangiora) 151
10: Leo Bult (Auckland) 150
11: Phil Clemas (Auckland) 139
12: Steven Spear (Auckland) 138
13: Flynn Mullany (Auckland) 133
14=: Anthony Tork (Auckland) 124
14=: Steve Brown (Auckland) 124
16: Alex Canty (Auckland) 102
17: Karl Gaines (Auckland) 71
18: Brent (Bones) Collins (Timaru) 50
1: Ken Thompson (Dunedin)
NORTH ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (Top 6 After 2 Rounds)
1: Rex Edwards (Tauranga) 218
2: Matt Horne (Masterton) 212
3: Simon Baker (Wellington) 199
4: Sam Dashfield (Auckland) 197
5: Terry Edwards (Waihi) 194
6=: Flynn Mullany (Auckland) 194
6=: Leo Bult (Auckland) 194