Pukekohe student aims for rookie result at home track

He’s the only male in his class, he’s working in child care to fund his studies in Early Childhood Education, and he’s madly passionate about motor racing. 

Pukekohe driver Alex Sherie is unfazed by the thought of competing against fifteen other lightning-quick drivers at his ‘home’ track when the Toyota Finance 86 Championship starts next month at Pukekohe.

“I like turn four onto the back straight at Pukekohe, and I love the circuit’s kerbs, you can really bounce off them on a fast lap.

Setting his sights on being quickest ‘rookie’ in the category at the coming race weekend – and then capturing the rookie title for the series – Sherie (19) is drawing on extensive experience in single-make touring car racing and says he knows his way around the Pukekohe race circuit.

A Pukekohe Christian School old boy and now in his second year of study at Vision College to become an Early Childhood teacher, Alex Sherie developed his passion for motor racing alongside dad Dave, spectating and then competing at Waiuku’s dirt track and marshalling at Pukekohe – the latter giving him a unique view of the right (and wrong) ways to tackle the fast and bumpy corners of his home track.

He built up to his TR86 campaign with two years in the BMW one-make series. He was rookie of the year in 2013-2014 and then finished in the top ten in his second season. In the 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship Sherie says he is looking to be best rookie in an intensely competitive field and to map a continuous improvement through the season.

Championship organisers say interest in the category is at record levels with a starting grid for the first round of 16 cars.

Drivers and race fans have been able to view the unique TR86 race cars at the CRC Speedshow where its first driver commitment, Reid Harker of Albany, was announced. Aspiring race drivers from all over New Zealand have taken every opportunity to test the race cars at Manfeild, Hampton Downs and Ruapuna.

Championship coordinator Geoff Short has been in charge of the pre-season test opportunities and show appearances. He says the championship stands alongside the Toyota Racing Series for its potential to help rising race drivers achieve their career goals.

“The cars are very evenly matched and the championship is affordable, with team, car ownership and lease options available to intending racers,” he said.

The 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship starts at the Pukekohe round of the Australian V8 Supercar series on November 7 and 8. It shares several rounds with the Toyota Racing Series and will have its own TV coverage package with a one hour time-slot on TV3 a week after each round.