Drivers catch yellow fever to honour Ray Channing

By Greg Taipari,

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Yellow isn't everyone's favourite colour but for stockcar driver Kyle Fraser and the rest of his Rotorua Rebels team mates, it means a lot.

Fraser is one of six members of the Rotorua Rebels who recently returned from Auckland ranked the third best stockcar team in New Zealand.

The team is made up of Fraser, Bryce Steiner, Scott Hewson, Mark Osborne, Mark Deeke and Robbie Mabey. They are notorious for making life difficult for not only the other teams on the track but also for the racing announcers, all of them having similar numbers on their cars.

That's why, they say, they are called the Rebels.

Before attending the nationals the team decided to dedicate their performance to a good friend and fellow Rotorua driver Ray Channing who died while racing earlier this month.

Fraser said it had been an emotional time for those involved in speedway.

"He was a great guy who was very popular within our club so we wanted to honour his memory the best way we could."

The team painted on to the back of all their vehicles Channing's racing number 89R in tribute to the man who raced a yellow super stock.

Although the team were unable to secure the red ribbon for first place, eventually won by Palmerston North, they picked up the yellow ribbon for third.

Fraser said the yellow ribbon seemed fitting.

"[Ray] raced in yellow and when we had his funeral everything was yellow so we were happy with what we got."

Instead of teams racing tonight, the Rebels team members will focus on individual glory as they compete in an action-packed night at SG Equipment Paradise Valley Raceway in Rotorua.

With the main event featuring top-class drivers such as Peter Rees, Bernie Fox and Regan O'Brien plus defending stockcar champion and Rotorua local Scott Fredrickson, Fraser expects competition to be tight.

"Everyone will be wanting to honour our mate and there is no better way than on the track."

One of the big attractions for fans will be the first Ramp Demolition Derby. The derby is always popular and promises to be more spectacular with the addition of a ramp. More than 20 demo derby cars have entered the race.

Also on the card will be sprintcars, youth ministocks and minisprints.

Gates open at 5pm with racing starting at 7pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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