Speedway stars of the future will battle it out at the Paradise Valley Speedway this weekend.

The Tubby Norriss Memorial Ministocks in Paradise is the unofficial New Zealand title race for 12 to 16-year-olds and attracts drivers from all over New Zealand.

Paradise Valley race commentator Paul Hickey said the youth class was set up about 20 years ago and had "really taken off throughout New Zealand".

"It's really good for the future of the sport and for the last 10 years or so we've been seeing those kids that have come through from the youth class now winning major championships in the adult classes.


"A lot of the well-known drivers in the senior classes, their kids start following in their footsteps and there's been plenty of that in Rotorua," Hickey said.

He said there was no official New Zealand Championship for the youth class.

"So what Rotorua Speedway did, back in 2003, was start putting on this meeting called Ministocks in Paradise. It grew pretty quickly, to basically the kids look at this as the unofficial New Zealand championship.

"It started off as a little Sunday afternoon-type thing and now we generally get between 150-200 cars. This year is a little bit down, we've got 133. It's really surprising how talented these kids are - they're not automatics so you've got 12-year-olds who are out there driving these cars on dirt, changing gears. It's really impressive and very competitive."

Drivers will be split into two age groups, junior for 12 and 13-year-olds, in which 33 are entered. There are 100 entered in the senior group, for 14 to 16-year-olds.

"They'll be split into four groups for qualifying tonight, and they will race three races, earning points, and the top 26 go into the finals on Saturday night."

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Rotorua has produced two Ministocks in Paradise champions. Ken Hunter won in 2006 and Dylan Towler won in 2016 and 2017 - he is too old to compete this year.

The late Tubby Norriss, whom the championship is named after, was a long-time member of the Rotorua Stockcar Club.

"He was one of the driving forces behind getting the ministocks up and running in Rotorua, when they were first introduced. He was one of the key men behind helping out a lot of kids and getting it started," Hickey said.

Racing starts at 6pm tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are available at the gate - adults are $15, children and seniors with gold cards are $5 and family passes are $30.

Tubby Norriss Memorial Ministocks In Paradise winners list
2017 - 96R Dylan Towler
2016 - 96R Dylan Towler
2015 - 31W Joshua Patterson
2014 - 24G Jonathan Morley
2013 - 98B Max Bailey
2012 - 99P James Malia
2011 - 4W Blake Ellett
2010 - 46B Quinn Ryan
2009 - 41B Jason Long
2008 - 82W Jamie Larsen
2007 - 7G Travis Gooch
2006 - 37R Ken Hunter
2005 - 29M Ryan Hunt
2004 - 9A Richard Pearce
2003 - 97M Kurt Johnson

2017 - 16A Tyler Ingram
2016 - 5M Luke McClymont
2015 - 71M Josh McClymont
2014 - 35W Sam Smith
2013 - 84R Dean Cooper
2012 - 55R Tyson Wright
2011 - 67M Bradley Marsh