It's fair to say luck has deserted Hawke's Bay stockcar driver Bryce Cross in recent weeks.
Earlier this season his father and crew boss Mark Cross crushed his hand in a trailer while at work and this restricted his input into maintenance on his son's car. A fortnight ago and a couple of days before the national championships in Gisborne the shed at their Napier home was damaged by fire forcing Cross to withdraw from the champs.
"Hopefully my luck will change this weekend when I race for the Maulers," Cross said, referring to the Meeanee Maulers' assault on the 10-team Peter Barry Memorial Teams event which will be raced at Meeanee on Friday and Saturday nights.
Cross, 27, has been in and out of the Maulers during the past six years and like another key member of this weekend's team, Brett Loveridge, raced for the Maulers during their sole taste of title honours in the event in 2013.
The meeting is staged in memory of Central Hawke's Bay businessman and farmer Peter Barry, who died in 2009 after a speedway accident.
"We had a few engine issues earlier in the season but they're 99 per cent gone now. I'm super confident about our team's chances this weekend ... everyone is fully committed," Cross said.
He pointed out Loveridge , one of the country's best blockers, was "back to his best and better" than he was when he won six major titles during the 2012-13 season.
Loveridge missed most of the 2015 year's racing after a serious motor vehicle accident on State Highway 5 while towing a stockcar to the national teams champs in Rotorua.
Loveridge required five surgeries after breaking bones in both feet, his hip, nose and hand.
"Ethan [Anderson] is very quick and has got a good head. Brandon [Symes] is a real demon and Andre [Stenson] is a real asset who is originally from the Bay but Auckland-based and eager to race for us at every opportunity," Cross said referring to his other teammates.
And his role this weekend?
"I haven't got a set role. Basically my job is to cruise around and react to what is in front of me. I've got to try to read the race.
"We've got the nucleus of a good team which will be set for the next three to four years. While I'm with the Maulers for the long haul I'm also keen to attend a few major championships and get known a bit more," Cross said.
A joiner with O'Briens Aluminium & Maintenance, Cross said there is a chance he could race against his boss, Regan O'Brien, if the Maulers take on the Bay's other team, the Orange Roughies, during the weekend.
"There's been plenty of banter at work during our smoko breaks. It's good getting tips off Regan who has raced for the Hawkeyes and Maulers over the years," Cross said.
O'Brien has told Cross he may have a job out on State Highway 50 around 4pm on Friday which would leave him cutting it fine to make scrutineering on Friday night.
"I might have to ring in sick on Thursday night just to be safe," Cross quipped.
The 2018 Orange Roughies don't boast the same levels of experience as the Roughies line-up which finished third last year and will require an upset or two to reach the semifinals.
The Rotorua Rascals will aim for a third consecutive title with an experienced line-up. Darcy Meurant and Brent Stewart were in the 2016 and 2017 winning teams while Michael Rumney and Callum Flavell were in last year's winning team.
Stockcars and ministocks will be the support classes on Friday night while Saturday night's other feature attraction will be the under-25 superstock grand nationals.
Streetstocks and the stockcar consolations will be the other classes in action on Saturday night.
Teams for the Peter Barry Memorial:
Auckland Alleycats: 338 Keegan Orr, 383 Gary Lonergan, 833 Corey Baker, 883 Brad Wearing, 838 Hayden Hart. Manager: Geoff Cook.
Kihikihi Crusaders: 494 Aydan McPherson, 949 Clinton Cheetham, 499 Gary Worthington, 944 Nigel Hazelton, 994 Kacey Cheetham. Manager: Carl Hodge/Mike Perkins.
Rotorua Rascals: 535 Robbie Morris, 835 Michael Rumney, 385 Callum Flavell, 583 Brent Stewart, 358 Darcy Meurant. Manager: Steve Axtens.
Waikato Raiders: 8H Brad Philpott, 87H Nevin Shrubb, 4H Josh Humble, 46H Barry Rhodes, 15H Hadley Dixon. Res: Cameron Taylor. Manager: Justin Hutchby.
Meeanee Maulers: 81B Brandon Symes, 82B Brett Loveridge, 83B Andre Stenson, 84B Bryce Cross, 85B Ethan Anderson. Manager: Andrew Powell.
Palmerston North Pumas: 233 Daniel Burmeister, 238 Justin Cunningham, 253 Hamish McLoed, 263 Gavin Taniwha, 283 Stu Sowry. Manager: Ian Parfitt.
Orange Roughies: 171 Regan O'Brien, 371 Craig McBeth, 471 Daniel Melling, 571 Michael Smith, 671 Stacey Smith. Res: Ethan Cross. Manager: Claire Bunce.
Stratford Stormers: 3NZ Haydin Barker, 32S Mark Duthie, 33S Tyler Walker, 47S Damien Hiestand, 72 Bevan Phillips. Res: Mark Woods. Manager: John Booker.
Wellington Young Guns: 52 Dale Robertson, 53 Taylor Lampp, 54 Brendon Tye, 55 Keegan Levien, 57 Josh Prentice. Res: Paul Gaskin. Manager: Kyle Lane.
Whanganui Vulcans: 42V Steve Read, 22V Shane Kells, 67V Chet Swan, 53V Mason James, 28V Trent Palamountain. Manager: Alan Luoni.