OPEN wheel classes will go for championship glory when the first meeting of the year is held at The Rock Riverside Speedway on Saturday.
The Southland title will be on the line for modified sprints – the title vacant due to not being contested last season – and it would take a brave man to pick a winner with the mixed bag of results so far this season.
Youngster Luke Shearing won the Christmas Championship, with an on-track infringement costing him victory in the Brett Cooper Memorial in November, and this will see him as favourite heading into this event. Shearing will be tested by Vaughan Marshall, who has been achieving success throughout the South Island in recent months, and Mike Jackson, who has collected several race wins throughout the early stages of the season.
Six shooters will also compete for the Southland title and it would be hard to look past Raymond Phillips, fresh off a successful campaign in Cromwell over the Christmas period.
Teenager Jack Brown was also a trophy winner in Cromwell and has pushed Phillips hard in recent events. He could stake his claim to the Southland title but will need to bring his “A” game on Saturday.
Duane Cracknell and Shanarrah Stronach are also more that capable of causing an upset in the six shooters class, and visiting drivers from Cromwell could also feature.
Saloons will be racing for best pairs honours, and large fields of support classes are expected, especially in streetstocks. It will be the last hit-out before the Cleanways 2003 Ltd New Zealand Streetstock Championship at Riverside the following weekend.
Racing gets under way this Saturday, January 13, at 4pm.