Churchward Just let me go fast


Hawke's Bay streetstock driver James Churchward's relaxed approach to racing must be the envy of his many of his opponents.

"I just turn up and go racing," Takapau's Churchward replied when quizzed on the secret to his recent success.

Churchward, 39, who has raced streetstocks on and off for six years, will be the only Hawke's Bay club member in action when the second night of the Gisborne-hosted national championships is staged on Friday. He was one of seven Bay club members who attempted to qualify for the top 26 from a field of 64 last Friday.

Wet weather on Saturday forced the postponement of the second night.

This means that after Friday night's racing he will return home to prepare for Saturday night's New Zealand Streetstock Grand Prix meeting at ZM Meeanee Speedway.

"Regardless of what happens on Friday night the car will be ready for Saturday night," Churchward said.

When it was suggested he may cop plenty of damage on Friday night without other Bay drivers to look after him, he pointed out "the Gisborne track is so fast there isn't much time for all the contact stuff".

"That's what I love about this class ... going fast. I don't care much about points or titles, the speedway track is the only place I can go fast and not get a speeding ticket."

What made his success last weekend so significant was the fact it was only his second meeting in his car, which used to be driven by Timmy Towler before he retired from the class. It is powered by a 253 Holden V8.

"I'm still getting used to the automatic gear box," Churchward said.

Previously, he raced Ronnie Towler's old car.

"The Towler cars are built for speed. I've got a lot to thank the Towler family for, as well as Geoff and Robin Bicknell of Parkvale Automotive who do a lot of work on my car," Churchward said.

A second-generation speedway driver, Churchward receives the odd bit of advice from his father, Jim, who is no stranger to the class. "The main tip he gives me is to go faster," Churchward said with a laugh.

In addition to his streetstock racing, Churchward also does derby teams racing. He is a member of Team Kaos, from Wellington, and has also raced for Central Hawke's Bay teams Takapau Terrors and New Generation.

With this background he won't be short of tactics should there be more contact than he expects on Friday night.

Churchward, who runs a scrap-metal business, regards his fifth placing in the Wellington-hosted 2010 national streetstock championship, as the highlight of his speedway career. Many pundits won't be surprised if he improves on this placing on Friday night.

On Saturday night he will be among 30 drivers from throughout the country chasing the New Zealand Grand Prix title. Other Bay drivers will be Wayne, Darren and Daniel Melling, Margo Fairless, Ben Yeoman, Dave Brand, Glen Shepherd and Richard Houston.

A stockcar best pairs event will be the other feature attraction.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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