||Last Updated: Feb 25th, 2015 - 10:23:55
A packed house is all but guaranteed this Saturday at The Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway as the club hosts its biggest meeting of the season, the Xtreme Karts sponsored South Island Sidecar Championships.
Twenty seven teams from as far away as Nelson will make the journey South to Oreti Park, a track quickly becoming the cornerstone of sidecar racing in New Zealand with an impressive nineteen entries coming from local competitors who will all be wanting to take advantage of home track knowledge and support.
One combination who have tasted success at the South Island Title back in 2008 know how important that home track advantage is, Shaun Kerr and Robin Poole would like nothing more than to add another South Island Championships to their already impressive record which includes two second place finishes at the New Zealand Sidecar Grand Prix, winners of The Burt Munro Challenge as well as various local championships since they started racing in 2006.
Earlier this year the pairing travelled to Christchurch and claimed the Canterbury Championship on their Yamaha R1 against a strong field of riders, most of who he will line up against this weekend but Kerr is taking nothing for granted, he knows a number of teams on their day could win the title but he sees his main threat to be the fellow Southland pairing of James Douglas and Ricky Pubben who beat Kerr and Poole in spectacular fashion at the Southland Sidecar Championships earlier this season.
Douglas and Pubben have shown throughout the season that they are one of the in form teams heading into this championship, along with claiming their maiden Southland Championship they have dominated at recent teams events, leading the Wild Piglets team to victory at the recent Sidecar Teams Challenge at Oreti Park in January and Christchurch just last weekend.
Canterbury will also be very well represented this weekend, defending South Island Champions John Warwood and Laurie McMahon will be looking to make it back to back titles , Aaron Ray and Natasha Cullen have been in good form along with Lionel Green and Shayne Breech who have been spending alot of time at the Oreti Park track leading up to this event, the Christchurch pairing have won almost every major title contested at Oreti Park in the last few seasons, Nelson pairing Neil Hill and Shaun Solly are certainly not travelling this far South just to make up the numbers.
Southland speedway fans will have plenty to get excited about with a number of local combinations capable of winning this event, Kevin Mcdonald and Karl Hosie along with Fraser and Jonny Gillespie were racing at major events before half of their competitors were even walking, McDonald and Gillespie know better than anyone entered at this event just what preparation and head space is required to win a South Island title, and experience can count for everything.
Aiden Thwaites and Shane Twiss, Luke Thwaites and Neville Chalmers, Scott Ayto and Dylan Carnie, Erwin Tree and Nigel Cuckow, Jason Harpur and Mark George, Craig McMaster and James Dawson, are also solid combinations who have hit form in recent weeks and will be at the pointy end of the field come finals time.
The dark horses in the field are Jason Kennedy and Myron Anderson, Bradley Sharp and Chris Chatfield along with Dallas Kelman and Chay McWilliam, these combinations have all caused major upsets recently and if they can put together a consistant meeting they will be in with a chance to perform a major upset and claim the title.
There will also be full fields of support classes including Solos, Classic Solos, Junior Solos and Peewees, racing starts 4pm.
By and with thanks to Daryl Shuttleworth.
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