Stepping up to the top spot on the podium one more time ... Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes superstock driver Regan O'Brien can visualise it.

"We've got the experience. We're just as good, if not better, than the team which won in 2017," O'Brien said as he pondered the Hawkeyes' assault on the ENZED Teams Champs, the most prestigious event on the Speedway New Zealand calendar, which will be staged in Palmerston North on Friday and Saturday nights.

"This is my last Teams Champs and I can think of no better way of bowing out than helping the Hawkeyes win another title," O'Brien said.

"Obviously we have ticked every box with our preparation but it's crucial we only concentrate on one race and one lap at a time. It's dangerous when you look too far ahead."


He first raced for the Hawkeyes in Palmy in 2014. When O'Brien, 40, missed selection for the title-winning 2016 team he raced for the Baypark Busters.

The former Meeanee Maulers stockcar team driver admitted that up until 10 days ago the chances of him not racing for the Hawkeyes in the 14-team event this week were high.

"I was considering racing for the Waikato Wanderers as I was only the reserve driver for the Hawkeyes and I didn't want that role for my final year."

However, when another of the team's experienced campaigners, Quintin Butcher, was ruled out with concussion after the World 240s in Rotorua, O'Brien was promoted up the order.

"Now I've got the opportunity I need to make the most of it."

Like the majority of the Hawkeyes, O'Brien is versatile and happy in any role.

"I blocked when we beat Great Britain at the weekend and I ran and got the flag when we beat the Busters in December."

He pointed out he has found it extremely satisfying racing a brand-new self-built car this season.


"Three generations, Dad [Chris], my son [Kairyn] and I built the car and this makes you more determined to get the most out of it. Our focus was to get a good, fast car ready for Palmy and we've achieved that."

After completing this season, O'Brien, who runs his own aluminium and maintenance business, intends to spend more time assisting Kairyn and daughter Dominique with their racing. Kairyn was the reserve driver for the Hawkeyes in 2017 and raced for Canterbury in Palmy in 2018.

"Kairyn still has a lot to learn but if he does some more teams races in future he might be ready to step up to the big show [Palmy] again," O'Brien added.

Like O'Brien, Hawkeyes manager and reserve driver Mike McLachlan is more than happy with the draw.

"If we are to improve on last year's second placing we have to beat the best. With the Whanganui Warriors and Kihi Kihi Kings we have got two of the best teams on Friday night," McLachlan said.

"The Warriors beat the Palmerston North Panthers the other week and the Kings have a Superstars look about them. You can't under estimate any team at this event. Every team must be treated as the best," McLachlan explained.

Former Hawkeye Maddie Wise will have his second year in Warriors colours while the Kings roster includes Benji Sneddon, Asher Rees and Jared Wade.

"Our team has been together for a while now and know how each other rolls. But every team has lifted their game and we all know anything can happen in a teams race," McLachlan added.

Friday night's draw: Manawatu Mustangs v Waikato Wanderers; Gisborne Giants v Kihi Kihi Kings; Palmerston North Panthers v Great Britain Lions; Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes v Whanganui Warriors; Stratford Scrappers v Wellington Wildcats; Baypark Busters v Canterbury Glen Eagles; Auckland Allstars v Manawatu Mustangs; Rotorua Rebels v Gisborne Giants; Waikato Wanderers v Palmerston North Panthers; Kihi Kihi Kings v Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes; Great Britain Lions v Stratford Scrappers; Whanganui Warriors v Baypark Busters; Wellington Wildcats v Auckland Allstars; Canterbury Glen Eagles v Rotorua Rebels.
Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes: Randal Tarrant, Jason Long, Quinn Ryan, Regan O'Brien, Thomas Stanaway. Reserve: Mike McLachlan.
Auckland Allstars: Robbie Mabey, Hayden Hart, Gary Lonergan, Jamie Fergusson, Hayden Chapman. Reserve: Ryan Carey.
Baypark Busters: Kerry Remnant, Dean Mulholland, Ross Ashby, David Elsworth, Mark Costello. Reserve: Aidan Eustace.
Canterbury Glen Eagles: Malcolm Ngatai, Lloyd Jennings, Darrel Wallace, Jayden Ward, Harley Robb. Reserve: Shaun Pearson.
Gisborne Giants: Jamie Hamilton, Peter Rees, Gary Davis, Nick Vallance, Ethan Rees. Reserve: Tim Ross.
Great Britain Lions: Bobby Griffin, Karl Hawkins, Joe Booth, Frankie Wainman Jnr, Frankie Wainman Jnr Jnr, Reserve: Micky Brennan.
Kihi Kihi Kings: Mitch Vickery, Jared Wade, Asher Rees, Matt Nielsen, Benji Sneddon. Reserve: Craig Chatfield.
Manawatu Mustangs: Ricky Dykstra, Rebecca Barr, Brendon Sharland, Ron Tye, Chris Collingwood. Reserve: Shane Mellsop.
Palmerston North Panthers: Peter Bengston, Jack Miers, William Humphries, Jordan Dare, Wayne Hemi. Reserve: Bryn Liddell.
Rotorua Rebels: Alan McRobbie, AJ Axtens, Jeremy Sinclair, Gary Hunter, Bryce Steiner. Reserve: Brent Stewart.
Stratford Scrappers: Blair Uhlenberg, Logan Sharpe, Shane Denham, Hamish Booker, Haydin Barker. Reserve: Scott Williams.
Waikato Wanderers: Anthony Brown, Malcolm Reid, Tony Wootton, Aaron Alderton, Tyson Wootton. Reserve: Blair Ashton.
Whanganui Warriors: Chad Ace, Scott Duncan, Shaun Smith, Max Holloway, Maddie Wise. Reserve: Shane Kells.
Wellington Wildcats: Keegan Levien, Shane Davis, Josh Prentice, Ethan Levien, Paul Fairbrother. Reserve: Grant Littlewood.