The Hamilton-based CareVets scholarship team can be well pleased with their southern campaign in the Toyota Finance 86 Championship with wins for both Michael Scott and Ryan Yardley – as can Auckland’s Callum Quin.
Over two rounds and six races at Ruapuna and Teretonga, these three joined series leader Ash Blewett on the top step of the podium as the series had its first full wet races and a clutch of new racers joined the action.
Michael Scott took his first of two wins at Ruapuna’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park, then followed that up with a win in the final race at Teretonga near Invercargill. Ryan Yardley of Christchurch joined his CareVets team- mate Scott on the top step of the podium with a win in the second race at Teretonga.
Callum Quin took a hard-fought and well-deserved win in the first race at Teretonga.
Perhaps the most telling result came in the Sunday races at Teretonga, where Ash Blewett was third behind Yardley and Penny and then second behind Scott, holding out Quin and first-year champion Jamie McNee. Such consistency is often the key to a championship title.
Masters category leader John Penny is also showing his pace and consistency, taking two second places and a fifth at Teretonga. Penny is now second in the championship behind Blewett, Quin third and the margin between the two is just one point.
Ryan Yardley’s victory vaults him to the lead in the rookie standings, taking over from Jacob Smith who crashed out of the first Teretonga race on the first lap and then fought back to bank valuable points in the second and third races.
New arrivals brought tougher challenges for the championship regulars.
Jaxon Evans arrived from Australia to join the racing and was seventh, fourth and eighth at Teretonga.
Jamie McNee – inaugural champion – rejoined the series and was instantly on the pace, scoring a third, a sixth and a fourth at Teretonga.
Grant Aitken, Carsten Kahler and Miles Cockram also came onboard in the south.
The championship story, however, continues to focus on the regulars. Ash Blewett now has 848 points, leading John Penny on 715 and Callum Quin on 714. The CareVets drivers are fourth (Scott, 552) and fifth respectively (Yardley, 504). That puts Jacob Smith on a fightback in the rookie standings, 53 points behind Yradley with Reid Harker also showing good form and closing on the lead pair.
Race action now takes a break until the championship rejoins the Toyota Racing Series at the New Zealand Grand Prix race event at Manfeild near Feilding from February 12-14.
On that circuit’s 3.03 km, racers will continue their quest for outright and category titles. The current lap record at Manfeild is held by current champion Tom Alexander, a 1:17.279 set in February 2015.