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Finch Eyes Burt Munro Double
By Daryl Shuttleworth
Photo Kenneth Fox Digital Imagery
Reigning Burt Munro Champion Dale Finch wants nothing more than to be back to back champion when he takes on some of the countries top solo riders at The Russell Cunningham Properties Oreti Park Speedway this Saturday night in the Burt Munro Speedway Spectacular.
The young Cantabrian could well have been going for three in a row after leading the final in 2012 before mechanical failure cost him the race, making last years victory all the more sweeter, and now that Finch holds the title he has no plans of letting it go.
Finch has been one of the countries top Solo talents in the last few years, along with the Burt Munro title Finch has won the New Zealand Under 21 Championships an impressive three times, and been runner up in the New Zealand Solo Champs twice, he has also started the 2014 season well with a second placing in the Canterbury Championships behind National Champion Jason Bunyan, and also a dominating victory for the Canterbury Comets over the Auckland Rhinos in teams racing. Finch knows it wont be easy with such staunch competition in the Solo class this year at the Burt Munro Challenge,
Bradley Wilson - Dean is the current National Under 21 Champion from Auckland and has ridden well at the Oreti Park track in previous events, there is also Southland youngster Hayden Sims who has been achieving impressive results around the country early in the season, and seven time Southland Champion Grant Tregoning will be tough to beat on his favorite track. The grade also welcomes James Sargent from the United Kingdom who will be the dark horse in the competition.
A record number of sidecars will also take to the track, 38 combinations have entered from as far away as Australia as well as a number of North Island teams who will go wheel to wheel for one of the countries most sort after championships. Reigning champions Paul Humphrey and Ben Franklin are noticeable omissions from the event, deciding not to defend the title they won last year. This leaves the event wide open with a number of teams capable of winning on the day, local hopes will be pinned on the likes of Kevin Mcdonald and Karl Hosie, the pairing have won multiple titles at the Oreti Park circuit in previous years but would love to add a Burt Munro Title to the mix, Shaun Kerr and Robin Poole are fresh off a victory at the Canterbury Champs last Sunday where a number of Southland teams dominated their Northern counterparts.
Of the travelling riders Jason Riley and Brad Ross of Christchurch are fresh off a win at the Coast to Coast event in Greymouth, Andrew Buchanan and Kieran Whitham along with Derek Ramsay and Matthew Ramsay all from Palmerston
North always feature highly at National championships and wont disappoint at the Burt Munro.
Support classes include Classic Solos where Kevin Ryan of Greymouth will once again be competing as he does at every event featured over the Burt Munro Challenge weekend, he will be joined by Crowd favorite Barry Free of Kihikihi who is racing in Solo Supports also, Free is well known for entertaining the crowd with his heroics on a speedway bike, using every piece of track available to him. Other classes running over the evening are Pee Wees and Junior Solo classes who all host good entries from around the country.
There will be over sixty races featured at the event which kicks off at 4pm.