When Matthew Spratt started racing V8 utes he knew he wanted to win a championship title.
That goal become reality on Sunday, securing the New Zealand V8 Utes title at Hampton Downs after a strong season over four rounds, just four years after getting into motorsport.
"I really didn't think it would happen this fast," Spratt says.
Adding to the achievement is the list of big name racers in his field. Coming up against the likes of Glen Collinson, veteran racer Peter Ward, former champion Paul Manuell, made the title win even more rewarding for Spratt.
"All I wanted to do when I started was to win the championship," he says.
Beginning his racing career at the start of the 2015-2016 season, Spratt has spent time racing in both New Zealand and Australia gaining experience, being patient and working hard to improve and get to where he wanted to be in the sport.
The NZ V8 Ute Racing Series is one of the most competitive motorsport series in New Zealand, with this season starting in Pukekohe between December 7 and 9. With a total of four rounds other events were held at Highlands from January 11 to 13 and Manfeild from February 8 to 10, before he final round got under way between March 8 and 10 at Hampton Downs.
He admits he went into the season as an underdog but quickly proved himself and earned the respect of other drivers.
"I had nothing to lose," he says.
"I'm the underdog, it makes me more excited."
Spratt, in the Primogrow Ford Falcon FG, says he was feeling confident going into the final round, having secured his place as the man to beat going into the weekend thanks to big points scored at the three rounds prior at Pukekohe, Highlands and Manfield. Going into the Hampton Downs, Spratt was sitting on a 40-point lead on Collinson.
Spratt is no stranger to success in motorsport though, having made his mark at Bathurst as a Bathurst rookie with a victory in the V8 Ute Series for the Stoneman Race Tech squad. He became the first Kiwi to win a race in the series since former champion Chris Pither.
His success however, hasn't been without a lot of hard work, effort and juggling other commitments.
"It's not a surprise, it's a lot of work."
The 32-year-old Mount Maunganui-based businessman has plenty to keep him busy through companies such as PrimoGrow Ltd, Paengaroa Road Haulage and Kiwifruit Property Investments Ltd, and a baby on the way. With the 2018-2019 series over for the season, Spratt says he will be concentrating on his other commitments as life outside of motorsport gets a bit busier.
"I'll probably be back next year."