Quinn Ryan (right) on the podium with second placegetter Peter Rees and winner Keegan Levien. Photo/Supplied
Hawke's Bay solobike rider Bradley Wilson-Dean was in record-breaking mode as he won a fourth consecutive New Zealand Grand Prix title in Auckland on Sunday.
"Four of these titles is a pretty cool record for our class but I was more pleased about breaking the track record at Rosebank Park by almost 90 seconds," Wilson-Dean said.
Three-time national champion Wilson-Dean, 25, won the final in 56.51s to beat the previous record set by 10-time national champion Jason Bunyan of Great Britain eight seasons ago.
"In my first race for the day I wasn't far off the record. So I put a brand new tyre on and I got the record," Wilson-Dean recalled.
A former Karamu High School student, Wilson-Dean wants to beat Bunyan's record of 10 national titles and will aim for a fourth consecutive one of those at Oreti Park in Invercargill on January 11.
"Larry Ross of Canterbury had the record of nine titles before Jason won 10. My goal is to bring that record back to a Kiwi," he said.
He was one of eight riders in Sunday's Grand Prix. Aucklander Ryan Terry-Daley was second, fellow Hawke's Bay rider Michael Patey third and Aucklander, Jake Turner, fourth.
"Michael did well to finish third on a borrowed bike after both of his were stolen in Auckland last month. Another rider displayed his generosity by lending him the bike and that was awesome too," Wilson-Dean said.
He will return to Rosebank Park on March 1 with the aim of winning a fourth consecutive North Island title. On February 8 Wilson-Dean will attempt a second consecutive Burt Munro Challenge title in Invercargill.
"The Burt Munro Challenge is the toughest event for us in New Zealand. It attracts riders from Australia as well as the northern hemisphere."
Because there will be few meetings for solobike riders at Meeanee Speedway this season Wilson-Dean has contracted to Oreti Park.
"One of my main sponsors is down there. I will also conduct training schools for both adult and junior riders down there as I always find them fun. But I'm hoping Meeanee will host the national championship in the near future.
"Some of the best racing in the country is staged at Meeanee. It is my favourite track and I believe I have earnt the right for Meeanee to host a national championship," Wilson-Dean said.
He will return to the United Kingdom on March 4 to be the No 1 rider for the Somerset Rebels division two side. Wilson-Dean has also secured a division one contract and details of this will be announced later this week.
Meanwhile Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes superstock team driver Quinn Ryan celebrated his first outing of the season with a third placing in the 76-car New Zealand Grand Prix in Palmerston North on Saturday night. Wellingtonian Keegan Levien won the title after a run off with the Gisborne-contracted Peter Rees.
Ryan, 25, was involved in a four-car run off for third place with fellow Hawkeye 1NZ Jason Long, Wellingtonian Josh Prentice and Gisborne's Jamie Hamilton. Long and Ryan had a chat before the four-lap run off and decided whoever was ahead out of the pair after lap two would be assisted by the other Bay driver in an attempt to make the podium.
"I found a gap and went for it after Jason was taken to the wall. He stopped shortly after that so there was some good team work involved by us Hawkeyes," Ryan explained.
The fact Ryan won his repechage without a gear stick after it snapped as he drove out the gate and raced the three championship heats without one added to the significance of his achievement.
"I was just whacking the bottom bit of the gear stick with my hand. Lucky there were no red lights during the repechage," Ryan recalled.
"There wasn't enough time between races to put another gear stick on so we just clamped some vice grips on and got by with those and some cable ties for the remainder of the meeting," Ryan said.
He raced a total of 85 laps on the night and after failing to qualify for the top 26 in his two qualifying heats won his repechage from grid one. Ryan finished second in his first championship heat from grid three, 12th in his second from grid 16 and fifth in the third from grid 22.
"I was pretty impressed with our new Ace Performance Nissan engine ... it exceeded all expectations," Ryan said.
"I was lucky Chad [Ace of Palmerston North] was able to drive it for a couple of meetings and sort out a few gremlins earlier in the season while I had a six-week stint working in Auckland," Ryan, who runs his own Q & R Welding and Fabrication business, said.
He heaped kudos on his car owner and major sponsor James Buckrell of BJs Bakery & Cafe, fellow sponsors and his crew of Fraser Brown, Robert Vivers, Daniel Haggerty and Aaron McKenzie for their input into his success which he hopes will continue when he races for the Hawkeyes against the Bay Park Busters at Meeanee on Saturday night.