Speedway: Nice guy eyes world on dose of realism

By Shane Hurndell

If anyone deserves to be the first Kiwi to win the world superstock title it's Hawke's Bay's Andy McCabe.

A Napier logging company engineer, McCabe is regarded as one of the nice guys on the national speedway scene.

After 29 years of racing he won his first major title back in January - the New Zealand Welding School World Invitation title in Rotorua.

This title earned McCabe, 45, automatic entry into the September 15 world championship meeting in Skegness, England. McCabe has learnt over the years titles aren't often won by those who deserve them and is adopting a realistic approach to his first taste of overseas racing.

"All I can do is give it my best shot and accept whatever happens. It's just like when the English drivers come here ... I won't get a top car," McCabe said referring to the fact he will be driving a borrowed car in Britain.

However McCabe will have plenty of time to become familiar with his Formula 1 Small Block Chev superstock which belongs to Daniel Wainman, a younger brother of Frankie Wainman who is a regular visitor to New Zealand.

He will race in Birmingham on August 25, Belle Vue on August 27, Coventry on September 1 and Birmingham on September 8.

On the day before the world championship McCabe, like the other non-English drivers, will have the opportunity to practise on the Skegness track.

The day after the world championships and car and body permitting McCabe will race at the Northampton-hosted World Masters Championship.

McCabe pointed out the English cars were totally different to the superstocks raced in New Zealand.

They have more horse power and less weight.

"The world championship race is a 30 lapper involving 33 drivers. At this stage I don't know how many other overseas drivers will be involved.

"I understand three or four qualifying races are also held to determine grid positions for the 30 lapper. The faster drivers start at the back in those races and there is more pushing than crashing ... a freight train-type of formation often eventuates," McCabe explained.

McCabe won't be short of confidence after his most memorable season of racing. In addition to winning the world invitation title in Rotorua he won the Placemakers Series which involves meetings throughout the North Island and with fellow Palmerston North-contracted driver Peter Bengton the second annual Best Pairs meeting at Meeanee.

"We had our highs but we also had some lows," McCabe said.

"I had a badly bruised body after the world 248s meeting in Palmy and also after the teams champs in Palmy. It was also the first time in eight years I didn't qualify for the national championships."

His best placing in the national championship is a fourth recorded four years ago in Wanganui. With Meeanee scheduled to host the 2013-14 season nationals McCabe plans to continue racing until that season at least.

"It would be good to win the national title here at home but a local driver doesn't often win the title in our class," McCabe said.

When he is working it's not uncommon for McCabe to be carrying 65kg or 70kg of equipment on a regular basis.

"This keeps me fit for racing and I don't have to do a lot of gym work like a lot of other drivers do."

Fellow Hawke's Bay driver Joe Faram also qualified for the world championship by winning the national championship in Huntly.

Faram has yet to decide if he will compete at Skegness.

McCabe is thrilled with the support received from the speedway fraternity throughout the country in his quest to raise the $20,000 required for his and partner Michelle's trip.

He hopes to complete the fundraising tomorrow night when Royal Flush Mobile Casino presents Andy's Travel Fundraiser at Meeanee Speedway.

"There will be true casino games and authentic equipment. Thanks to numerous Hawke's Bay businesses we have some terrific prizes as well as items to be auctioned," McCabe added.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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