Rotorua Stockcar competitor Sheldon Arapere came out on top in a strong field of competitors and won the Lintern Engineering Under 23 Stockcar Champs at Stratford Speedway on Saturday night.
The Under 23 Champs always attracts a strong field of young stockcar competitors and this season's event was no different, with close to 30 drivers from throughout the North Island competing.
Arapere made a strong start to the championship bid when he came home second in race one behind Palmerston North hot shoe Roydon Winstanley. He then finished race two in fourth place and placed third in race three to win the event by three points from Winstanley.
Winstanley had backed up his race one win with second place in race two and headed into race three at the top of the points board which made him somewhat of a target. He survived the attention to come home ninth and claim second place.
Stratford competitor Mitch Vickery had a good run all night and was third while another Stratford competitor, Blair Wadsworth had the wildest ride of the night when he was pushed up and along the back straight wall, eventually ploughing into, and destroying a fence post.
Phil Ogle who is normally busy looking after the Youth Ministock class made a rare appearance in his Superstock to contest the Taranaki champs and made the effort worthwhile when he won the event, proving his quality of driving in the large twenty eight car field.
Ogle was in great form and won the first race before finishing fourth in the next two to eventually win the Taranaki Champs by one point from Palmerston North contracted competitor Simon Joblin. Blair Uhlenberg found some good speed in his car and was third overall.
Thomas Korff was once again in top form and convincingly won the Taranaki Saloon champs after running both down low and the high line to make valuable passes all night.
Korff collected a first, second and third over the three races to cement his position at the top of the leader board and regain the trophy that he last won four seasons ago. Joe Ingram drove well all night to take second overall while Jarrod MacBeth survived an incident with the wall in race three to finish third.
The TQ class made their one and only appearance of the season and also contested their Taranaki Champs. A strong but slightly small field of nine competitors from Auckland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay fronted to race with New Zealand number three Ryan Baker wining by just one point from New Zealand number two Peter Hunnibell. Kaleb Currie was third.
The next meeting at Stratford Speedway is Saturday, April 6 and will feature the Stockcar, Midget and Saloon Heritage Shields along with the King of the Mountain Minisprint Champs and a Ramp Demolition Derby. Arcing gets under way at the earlier time of 6pm.