Hawke's Bay stockcar driver Regan Penn reckons he has bided his time and is ready for the step up to the Meeanee Maulers team.
Ardent supporters of his class at Meeanee Speedway will endorse Penn's selection. The apprentice automotive technician at Euro City did everything possible during his first two seasons in the class after leaving the ministock ranks to prove he is ready.
Like fellow 19-year-old Cameron Swift, Penn will make his debut for the Maulers when they take on the Gisborne Gladiators in the feature event of the Fireworks Spectacular meeting tonight. They will join the experienced trio of Brandon Symes, Brett Loveridge and Andre Stenson in the host track team, which will take on a young Gladiators quartet of Jordan Fleetwood, Ben Holt, Bryce Harding and James Clarke.
"There hasn't been any talk of team tactics yet but I'm keen for anything. You're more of an asset if you can do anything," Penn said.
"I haven't blocked much but I should be right."
A nephew of former national stockcar champion Jason Penn and retired two-time national superstock champion Shane Penn and a grandson of former national superstock champion Bryce Penn, Penn won't be short of experienced heads to quiz about teams racing. What his famous relations don't know about teams racing isn't worth knowing.
Penn agreed the new-look Maulers team looked good on paper.
"I want to take some pointers off the more experienced guys and bring something new to the team," Penn said.
In his first season in the stockcar class Penn combined with Wellingtonian Josh Lockett to win the Best Pairs title at Meeanee. Last summer Penn qualified for the top tier at the national stockcar championships in Gisborne.
The Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports colts player recorded second and third placings at the country's most prestigious event for ministocks, Rotorua's Ministocks in Paradise, during his younger days. He predicted an even encounter tonight and he is hoping he does enough for the Maulers throughout the season to secure a place in the team for the February 22 and 23 teams nationals in Stratford.
Like Penn, Swift, is in his third season in the stockcar ranks and boasts plenty of speed. Swift is the Hawke's Bay champion for the class.
"I'm sure Regan and I were both picked for our speed," Swift said.
A fencer by trade, Swift agreed the high fitness gained from his day job assists his favourite sporting pursuit. He finished eighth at last summer's Gisborne nationals.
Swift had four seasons in the ministock ranks as a youngster and he raced in the New Zealand team for the class when they took on their Aussie counterparts. That was an early indication he was always going to do well when he stepped up to the stockcar ranks.
Like Penn, Swift, is aiming to be on the Maulers roster in Stratford in February and it will be a surprise if the pair don't make the cut.
Other classes in action tonight are superstocks, ministocks, production saloons, sidecars and solobikes. The Kevin Milne Memorial trophies will be up for grabs in the production saloon and ministock classes.
The Hawke's Bay Speedway Club's annual fireworks display will end the meeting.