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V8 victory means taking risks, Kiwi driver says

7 March 2013

V8 victory means taking risks, Kiwi driver says

Kiwi driver Martin Short is ready to take some risks as he battles for the NZV8s Championship at Taupo this weekend.

The young Hamilton racer goes into the penultimate round of the championship just 12 points behind Australian V8 Supercar driver Jason Bargwanna and especially fired up for the final race, which carries the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.

In the third race at each NZV8s round the fast new cars like Short’s Toyota Camry and Bargwanna’s Holden Commodore start behind the original-specification cars and also have to make a pit stop to change a wheel. That means the top drivers have to do a lot of passing.

“It’s quite exciting getting through the traffic,” Short says. “You’ve got to take some risks and sometimes it pays off and sometimes you lose from it. I think it’s great overall.”

Short reckons he has an ace up his sleeve for this feature race, which commemorates popular Kiwi driver Jason Richards, who died of cancer in 2011 aged just 35. Richards, originally from Nelson, claimed three New Zealand Touring Car Championships from 1999 to 2001 and went on to a career in V8 Supercars.

“I think we’ve been the team to beat in the pit stops, we always seem to make up time there,” Short says. “There’s a lot of time to be made up in pit stops -- it’s a lot harder to make time up on the track so it’s very important.

“I’m actually feeling really positive going into Taupo. I’ve been training hard and I think my mindset’s quite good. We’ve always gone quite well at Taupo so, bring it on!”

Short has a team-mate this weekend as his Richards Team Motorsport has completed its second Camry, using an engine developed for long-distance sports car racing in the United States.

Timaru driver Brent “Bones” Collins, who won the inaugural Toyota Racing Series back in 2005 but has not often competed at the top level since then, will drive the new car. He has been preparing intensively for his new venture.

“I’ve been karting and I’ve been racing a Mazda RX7 with a V8 engine in historic events, setting lap records at Timaru and Teretonga,” Collins says.

Cambridge driver Nick Ross is third in the new-car class with his Commodore, though 96 points behind Short.

Teenage brothers AJ and Brad Lauder from Turua are first and second respectively in the Gold Star category for the original cars, AJ 80 points ahead of his younger brother. Aucklander Shaun Varney is third, a further 50 points back, with these three all in Ford Falcons. These cars are also eligible for the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy and one could well win it as they do not have to make a pit stop.

The Formula Ford championship concludes at Taupo and is set for an exciting finish with Invercargill’s Brendon Leitch just three points ahead of 16-year-old Christchurch rookie James Munro, who has been highly impressive in his debut season. These two will again be joined in close battle by Christchurch drivers Tom Alexander and Michael Collins.

Also finishing at Taupo is the new Endurance championship, with a three-hour race late on Saturday afternoon. The leading team of Simon Ellingham and Jono Lester are up against fast machinery including two other Porsche GT3s, a Ford GT40, and a Ford Mustang Boss.

The packed programme also takes in Formula First, Pre-65s and different categories of BMWs.

MSNZ Race Championship calendar:
Round 1: January 12-13, Teretonga (Invercargill)
Round 2: January 19-20, Timaru
TRS: January 26-27, Taupo
TRS: February 2-3, Hampton Downs
Round 3: February 9-10, Manfeild
Round 4: March 9-10, Taupo
Round 5: April 12-14, Pukekohe (V8 Supercars meeting)


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