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Tregoning Eyes 8th Southland Title
Photo Laben Photography
By Daryl Shuttleworth
Its true that records are made to be broken, but a record that one would imagine is here to stay is the impressive record of Grant Tregoning who will be the favorite to win his 8th consecutive Southland Speedway Championship at the Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway this Saturday night.
Tregoning is the first to admit that so far this season nothing has gone his way, mechanical issues with a new bike that he expected to give him the edge over his fellow riders hasn't gone smoothly at all, costing him retirements at several meetings.
The former New Zealand Champion believes he can put all of that behind him and claim an 8th consecutive Southland Championship, but he knows he can not take anything for granted, the competition this year is tougher than its ever been with young gun Hayden Sims in the best form of his career.
Sims would love to add the Southland Championship to the trophy cabinet, and if this seasons form is anything to go by, there is no reason he cant achieve this goal. Sims has beaten Tregoning in all the major race meetings they have competed in this season, with Sims claiming third place at the New Zealand Grand Prix and almost winning the New Zealand title, only being pipped for the lead on the last lap, but still claiming second.
Other riders entered who have shown solid form throughout the season are the experienced John Tuffley who on his day could cause an upset, Daniel Shuttleworth, Jeremy Godfrey and Conner Spriggs are all back racing after lengthy breaks.
Youngster Jake Gillespie will look to etch another generation of Gillespie's names into the record books, and Christchurch will hang the hopes of taking the title North on Bradley Stockton.
The club will also host the Southland B Grade Solo Championship on the same night and you wouldn't have to look too far past Southland Boys High student Zane Pay, if your looking for a likely champion.
Pay has dominated the B grade since moving through the junior ranks but the more experience riders will not hand it to him on a silver platter.
Noel Caulfield, Phil Coulthard and Pay Dysart have all been around speedway long enough to know the championship is a lottery and anyone can win on any given day.
Throw into the mix newcomers Tina Hansen, Logan Fox and Jimmy Hannan and it makes for a fairly competitive championship.
A solid field of sidecars is also entered in the Malcom Officer Memorial, 22 bikes in total will battle it out to try and claim one of the most sort after titles in Southland Speedway.
It's going to be an epic battle up front with South Island Champions Shaun Kerr and Robin Poole entered along with Southland Champions James Douglas and Ricky Pubben, who have battled it out all season for sidecar dominance in the South.
Lionel Green and Shayne Breech will return to represent Christchurch, the pairing have been strong at Oreti Park, making the final of the South Island Championship and qualifying for the New Zealand title just two weeks ago.
Other qualifiers from the New Zealand title who have entered this weekend are Erwin Tree and Nigel Cuckow, Luke Thwaites and Shane Twiss along with Kerr and Poole, and Douglas and Pubben.
The meeting gets underway at 4pm, support classes are Pee Wees, Junior Solos and Classic Solos.