Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Bay truck driver wins top title

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Steve Walling said he wanted to try something different. Photo / George Novak
Steve Walling said he wanted to try something different. Photo / George Novak

A Bay truck racer who took up the sport as a hobby less than a year ago has been named Rookie of the Year.

Steve Walling was awarded the title by the New Zealand Truck Association for the 2016 truck racing season.

The 49-year-old started racing his big black Mack truck after racing saloon cars at the speedway for years.

Steve Walling races a big black Mack truck as a hobby but has won Rookie of the Year in the 2016 season. Photo / George Novak
Steve Walling races a big black Mack truck as a hobby but has won Rookie of the Year in the 2016 season. Photo / George Novak

"I needed a change and wanted to try something different and loved Mack trucks.

"It was the next step up, something a little bit different form speedway.

"I went to the races at Pukekohe and Taupo. I looked around the pits, the trucks and I got a bit of a taste for it and thought 'this is a bit of me', and said I would give it a go."

This year's truck racing season ran from January to April. Truckies raced in Timaru, Invercargill, Taupo and Pukekohe. Mr Walling came 8th overall in his class for the 2016 season.

Mr Walling had just started to look for a truck to buy when the president of the New Zealand Truck Association told him about the two-axle black Mack for sale in Wellington.

"It was exactly what I was looking for."

He bought the almost 6-tonne machine and set to work on it to start racing it.

Mr Walling said he grew up around similar trucks with his father and grandfather working as truck contractors.

With no monetary prize at the end of a competition, he did it for the love of it, he said.

Truck racing:

* Drivers are not allowed to exceed 160km/h during a race and are penalised if they do. If drivers are penalised three times they are out of the race.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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