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Chance of a Lifetime at Aussie V8 Ute Internat'l

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For immediate release

* 2006 Australian V8 Ute International
Manfeild Autocourse
Feb 3-5



Chance of a Lifetime at Australian V8 Ute International at Manfeild

It's the chance of a lifetime for any Kiwi racing drivers keen to attract the attention of talent scouts from across the Tasman - the opportunity to compete against some of Australasia's best drivers at next month's Australian V8 Ute International meeting at Feilding's Manfeild Autocourse.

An opportunity for two local drivers to join the large field of Ford Falcon XR8 and Holden Commodore SS utes at the February 3-5 meeting has come about because of a last-minute change in circumstances for one of the Australian drivers.

His ute is coming but he is not, meaning that a drive is available in a competitive Ford Falcon XR8 Ute.

"It's shame that the driver cannot make it himself, but it certainly opens up a fantastic opportunity for a couple of drivers here," Event Manager Steph Carr said today."

Under the unique meeting format each Australian driver competing will be paired with a New Zealand driver. Each driver will compete in two sprint races, before getting together to share their ute with their Trans-Tasman partner in a longer final race complete with compulsory pit stop and driver change.

"To make it fair on everyone," says Ms Carr, "one of the drivers would have to be an 'honorary' Australian for the weekend but that's a small price to pay for the exposure that is going to be generated over the weekend."

If any New Zealand drivers are interested in competing at the meeting they should contact Event Manager Steph Carr at the Manfeild office by telephone on 0-6-323 7444 or via e-mail

With just over two weeks to go until the high-profile televised meeting the battle lines are well and truly drawn with nine Holden pairings and 13 Fords.

Leading the charge will be local hero, and New Zealand's own Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series driver Chris Pither, who will now be paired with former V8 Ute Series champion and 2005 V8 Development Series front runner Garry McDonald in a Kanga Loaders-backed Holden Commodore SS.

Pither was to have been paired with his 2005 Yokohama series teammate Rod Wilson, but Wilson officially retired at the end of the 2005 season and the Kanga Loaders team have decided to pair him with their Development Series driver.

Joining them in the Holden camp will be Garry Baxter and V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards, Matt O'Grady and young New Zealand Tier 2 V8 driver Michael Bristow, James 'son of Peter' Brock and New Zealand V8 driver Wade Henshaw, Nandi Kiss and New Zealand Formula Ford driver Hugh Gardiner, Kim Jane and former New Zealand kart and tin-top star Rhys McKay, Dennis Cribben and Grant Shivas, George Elliot and New Zealand V8 driver Nick Ross and Charlie 'Handlebars' Kovacs and New Zealand-born V8 Supercar driver Simon Wills.

Set to lead the Ford charge in the intensely competitive Ford versus Holden battle that is at the heart of the popular Australian category is two-time and reigning Yokohama Australian V8 Ute Series champion Damien White from Wollongong who will share his 2005 championship-winning Ford Falcon XR8 ute with New Zealand Ford V8 touring car hard charger Dean Perkins from Pukekohe.

Joining them in the Ford camp are Ian McAlister and Kirk Stoneman, ex rugby league star Jack Elsegood and Dean Farmer, James Harrigan and former New Zealand Formula Ford and latterly V8 front-runner Brady Kennett, and 2005 Yokohama Australian V8 Ute Series runner-up Marcus Zukanovic and former World Superbike Championship front-runner Aaron Slight.

Also now confirmed are the Ford pairings of Colin Dunn and former Pro 7 class front-runner Simon Beirne, Greg Willis and Formula Ford rising star Sam MacNeil, Rob Jarvis and Sean Richardson, Brendon Tucker and Patrick Cronin and Yanis Derums and Grant Silvester.

Series regular Adam Brand, a popular country singer across the Tasman is also coming, though his pairing with local country music singer Brendon Dugan is yet to be confirmed.

The Yokohama V8 Ute Series is a major drawcard across the Tasman and the organisers see next month's Manfeild meeting - the first 'international' one for the category - as a 'toe-in-the-water' exercise.

If judged successful it could lead to a regular round of the entertaining Ford versus Holden series here in New Zealand.

New Zealand's most popular domestic classes haven't been forgotten by the organisers of the Manfeild event, with Super Trucks, SuperGTs, OSCAs, Toyo Tyres Pro 7s, Bridgestone Porsches and Firestone HQ Holdens and Super Sixes joining the V8 Utes on the programmes.

Television coverage has been confirmed with TV1's Shell Helix Motorsport showcasing the meeting on Sunday March 19.

In order to attract as many fans as possible the Manfeild Park Trust has kept admission ticket prices as low as practically possible. Reserved Seating weekend passes will be available for $45 up to Monday Jan 30 or until they sell out. General Admit weekend passes will be available at a discounted rate of $25 up to Monday Jan 30 or until they sell out and after that General Admit tickets will be $30 for a weekend pass (service fees will apply).

The Trust has also created a single hospitality ticket package which includes a weekend pass to the event, plus prime viewing in a permanent hospitality suite, food, refreshments and a programme for a total cost of just $280.

There will be action at the track of Friday, Saturday and Sunday and tickets are available via Ticketek at


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