Championship racing action returns to Baypark Speedway this weekend with the Mount Maunganui venue hosting the Roadster Auto Rewards North Island Super Saloon Car Championship.
A 26-car field has entered the Speedway NZ sanctioned title with the top-20 set to start the 25-lap final following the qualifying heats.
There are four North Island title previous winners entered this weekend – Auckland racer Craig Cardwell and the Tauranga trio of Brent Emerson, Sam Waddell and Chris Cowling.
Cowling is the defending champion (and current NZ champion) but the Cowling Motorsport team is racing against time to complete the build of a new car ahead of this weekend.
Among the notable contenders is Nelson racer Ian Burson, a seven-time winner of the South Island Super Saloon Car title.
Early season Super Saloon competition suggests the in-form drivers are Whitianga’s Bodie Abrahamson who won the South Pacific 25-lapper at Baypark earlier this month in his new Stealth Corvette along with Hawke’s Bay brothers Steve and Grant Flynn.
Steve Flynn is a five-time runner-up at the North Island Champs and was in winning form at the Waipa Champs raced at Kihikihi Speedway last weekend
where he was joined on the podium by Tauranga’s Steve Walling and Wellington racer Mark Pitcher.
Baypark racers Damian Orr, Scott Hayward and Dan Pollock are also strong contenders along with former NZ champion Steve Cowling who debuted the latest CB2 Corvette last weekend at Kihikihi.
Track conditions could provide an added variable for the Super Saloons with a smoother surface likely to favour the new generation `4-bar’ rear suspension designs while a heavier track and some bumpy turns would suit the more conventional torsion bar cars.
Saturday’s support race programme will continue to deliver high quality grids for the Sprint Car category with another strong 24-car line-up including early season main event winners Dean Brindle and Rodney Wood.
The Formula 2 Midget class makes its first appearance of the season and the Youth Mini Stocks are back in action again with visiting drivers from Huntly, Kihikihi, Rotorua and Stratford to challenge the Baypark regulars.