If one had to list the names of five Hawke's Bay streetstock drivers who deserve a national title Ben Yeoman would always make it.
Yeoman, or "Forest" as he was nicknamed in his younger days, is a stalwart of the class. He began racing in it 17 years ago and has missed only two or three seasons since then.
While the forestry road excavator for MW Lissett Ltd hasn't had any podium finishes in major national meetings, Yeoman has had several in provincial events and during the last two seasons has started to experience consistency.
"I'm consistent when everything is flowing correctly," Yeoman said as he continued his checks in the countdown to the 47-car Alexander Electric New Zealand Championship which will begin at Meeanee tonight and end tomorrow night.
"It's time for me to shine."
Yeoman, 38, last competed in the nationals when Meeanee last hosted the event in 2005. While he qualified luck wasn't on his side on night two.
Qualifying will be his main goal tonight. The 47 starters have been divided into two groups of 16 and one of 15.
"To qualify I either have to finish among the top eight in my section or in the top two in Saturday night's repechage. If I can stay in the top eight during my three heats on Friday night I'll be happy as," Yeoman said.
"It's going to be interesting. We all know there is plenty of quality among the North Island entrants. While the South Islanders are unknown to most of us, we hear they will be entertaining."
Yeoman is no stranger to ending up on his lid. The last occasion was on this season's opening night in October when he rolled himself after a race had finished.
"The aim is to leave the car on four wheels this weekend and we've been trying to get the suspension right."
During the three days following his withdrawal from last weekend's Rotorua-hosted North Island champs with faulty injectors, Yeoman spent more than 30 hours checking his car out in the hope everything will be correct out on the track this weekend.
So while the word careless is written in bold letters across the front of his car Yeoman can't be accused of being that in the buildup to this weekend.
This is his fifth season with his 3.8 litre V6-powered VS Commodore. The car was built by another of the host track starters this weekend, Hawke's Bay champion Darren Melling, and the motor by Melling's father Tony.
Yeoman finished 10th at last season's Stratford-hosted North Island championship. In 2018 he finished third in the Gisborne-hosted Champion of Champions event and was part of the second placed pair in Gisborne's Best Pairs event.
Last year he combined with Wellingtonian Clive Rogers to win Meeanee's Best Pairs event. Last season Yeoman finished third in the Hawke's Bay champs to repeat his 2014-15 season finish in the same event.
In 2015 he paired up with clubmate Daniel Melling to win the Show Night for their class at Meeanee. After this weekend's nationals Yeoman's focus will be the following weekend's New Zealand Grand Prix in Wellington.
During Easter Weekend in April Yeoman will tackle the Tri-Series for his class which involved consecutive meetings over three nights in Palmerston North, Meeanee and Rotorua. Yeoman and Darren Melling are two of 13 Hawke's Bay starters entered in the nationals.
The others are Wellington champion Brent Redington who is hoping to improve on last year's third placing, Thomas McEwan, Alistair Howatson, Nigel Potter, Phillip Glynn, Glen Sheppard, Dave "The Sheriff" Brand, Ben Darroch, Ross Curran, David Adams and Tim Towler. Fancied visitors include defending champion Chris Shingleton of Rotorua and last season's runner-up Brenden Gooch of Gisborne.
The Efficient Moving and Storage New Zealand TQ Grand Prix will be this weekend's other feature event. It has attracted 28 starters.
Ten host track drivers are among the entrants. They are two-time national champion Duane Todd, Tony Meechan, Kris Gillies, David Wilson, Josh Moffat, Michael Gurnett, Chris Wiffin, Chris Mahoney, Jeremy Jones and Doug Morris.
Support classes tonight will be ministocks and stockcars. Tomorrow night's support classes will be the Hawke's Bay sidecar championship which was postponed from the December 27 meeting, superstocks and saloons.