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Lockwood wins inaugural ENZED V8 Ute Series

Lockwood wins inaugural ENZED V8 Ute Series



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Lockwood wins inaugural ENZED V8 Ute Series

Young Matt “Phantom” Lockwood clinched the 2008 ENZED V8 Ute title by winning the Pukekohe round last Saturday in his six year old VU Holden to bring his season’s record to four round wins and two second’s in the six rounds contested in the North and South Island over the last three months. Lockwood’s success comes on the heels of his successful campaign for the Mainland trophy, awarded to the top driver in the three South Island rounds of the championship.

Lockwood went into the last round with a lead of 27 points over his nearest rival, Ford driver Simon “Jnr Burner” Beirne with another three drivers having a mathematical chance of claiming the title. However Lockwood, realizing that a DNF would severely dent his chances of winning, made sure he kept his car on the black stuff, a tactic that some of his closest competitors were unable to replicate.

Qualifying had barely started before it was stopped after a major crash involving Dayne “Dangerous” Running. Ironically he had recorded the fastest lap while other drivers, including Lockwood, were still completing their warm up laps. As a result Lockwood was only the fourth fastest qualifier. “I was a little frustrated in that I didn’t get a good lap in but I enjoy racing in the wet and was looking forward to the races that followed”

Lockwood won the first race and was seventh in the reverse grid marble draw second race, his lowest placing in the series. However his safe driving in difficult conditions gave him the highest aggregate points total over the first two races and earned him pole for the final race. He also had an increased points margin over Beirne, his closest rival.

Lockwood slotted in behind Running at the start of the final race, a race he only had to finish to win the championship. However he was not content to let Running get away from him and, even though his pit crew and the announcer were telling him to take it easy, he continued to apply pressure on Running. Then, on the last lap Lockwood slipped under Running at the hairpin and came over Ford mountain in the lead, taking the race and the round win to the enthusiastic support of his crew and family. Beirne finished the series in second place with Mack “Bomba” Peach third, Caine “Ginga Ninja” Lobb fourth and Miles “Worso” Worsley in fifth position.

“What a way to finish my second ever season of motor racing” an excited Matt Lockwood said after stepping out of the car. The young 20 year old said he owed much of his success to the support of his crew, Kirk and Jake Stoneman and Dan Hayes, who had been on hand to give him advice ever since he got his first car, an HQ Holden, two years ago.

Lockwood went on to finish third in the 2006/7 HQ Holden Championships in his first year of racing and won the North Island Division 2 trophy the same year. He then moved to the Pro7 class and was third in the 2007/8 New Zealand and North Island championships even though he was unable to compete in all rounds.

Lockwood is looking forward to defending his title next year. However his dream is to ultimately drive in the Australian V8 Supercar series, a goal that is maybe now a little closer than it was three months ago.

He is full of praise for the NZ V8 Ute series organizers “Ash Cairns and Jamie Kett in particular have done a fantastic job of getting this series up and running”. There has been some great racing and next year promises to be even better, with more cars and eight meetings, including the A1GP and a Transtasman challenge. “Only 20 weeks to go – I can hardly wait” said an enthusiastic Lockwood as he packed up his ute after a successful weekend at Pukekohe.


ENDS

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