When Hawke's Bay superstock driver Joe Faram travelled to the Huntly-hosted national championships at the weekend, an instruction from five-year-old daughter Tobie was ringing in his ears.
"Bring back a national number, Dad," Tobie told Faram as he left his Roys Hill home.
Faram delivered and returned last night with the 1NZ number on the body of his V8 Chev-powered HRP performance-built race car, much to the delight of his daughter.
"It must have been the grid draw for the second night," Faram, 47, said.
"I thought I had a bugger of a draw with five, 18 and 18. But this was the same draw Dale had when he won the title last year and the same one Bryce had when he won the title back in 2005," Faram said referring to Dale Ewers of Nelson and Bryce Penn, the last Hawke's Bay-based driver to win the title.
Penn's son Shane finished third on Sunday night behind another Palmerston North-contracted driver Kerry Humphrey.
A father of three, Faram, had previously finished second and fourth in the championship. He beat Humphrey in a run-off for the title.
"I got the jump on Kerry and managed to pip him at the finish. From what I was told it was a pretty good drag race," Faram recalled.
The 83-car two-night championship was postponed because of rain on Friday night. Faram, who has been racing superstocks, sprintcars or V8s for the past 14 years won his group on Saturday night and on Sunday night won his first heat off grid five, finished fifth in his second off grid 18 and recorded another top six finish in his third off grid 18.
"I was shoved into the wall and bounced out in the third heat. It was an awesome meeting ... the track was slick and the guys who could read it and set their cars up right did well," Faram explained.
The helicopter pilot's work commitments forced him to withdraw from the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes team for this weekend's annual teams championship in Palmerston North, the showpiece event on the national speedway calendar. The Hawkeyes line-up will consist of Murray Long, Steve Jude, Garry Foley, Jayson Palamountain, Mike McLachlan and sixth driver Wally True.
"I don't know when my next meeting will be but I can't wait to get out on the track with the 1NZ number on the car," Faram said.
It will be interesting to see if he seeks some advice from Tobie before he takes to the track again.
Faram's title and Penn's third placing is another chapter in a remarkable summer for the Hawke's Bay speedway fraternity. Hawke's Bay-based Gisborne-contracted streetstock driver David "Duck" Hampton won the national championship for his class in Gisborne this month, Hawke's Bay super saloon driver Steve Flynn won the national title for his class in Nelson, and Hawke's Bay-based Palmerston North-contracted superstock driver Andy McCabe won the Rotorua-hosted world invitation event for his class this month and last month Hawke's Bay stockcar Regan O'Brien finished third in his Rotorua-hosted nationals.
The national TQ championship will be held at Meeanee on March 2 and 3 and it will be a surprise if Hawke's Bay's 1NZ Craig Todd and his cousin and 2NZ Duane Todd don't podium again.