Stratford Minisprint racer Bayley Betts made it to the podium of a national title for the first time when he placed third in the Independent Wrap New Zealand Minisprint Championship at Stratford Speedway on Saturday night.
Bayley was one of 18 drivers competing in the event that showcased high paced open wheel racing.
Drivers were seeded into three groups with two groups racing in each of the three qualifying heats to determine the grid positions for the 25-lap, winner takes all final.
Bayley placed fourth in his first race from a grid five start and fifth in his second race from grid eight to secure a grid three start in the final.
After an uneventful 25 laps, Bayley finished third in the championship behind Shane Dewar (Palmerston North) and Ben Vaughan (Huntly).
Shane, who until the end of the race was the number two ranked driver in New Zealand, was in brilliant form all night, recording a first and third in his qualifying heats to start on the front row of the final, and instantaneously grabbing a lead that he would not relinquish for the duration of the race.
Like Shane, Ben also moved up one spot as he was previously the number three driver.
All drivers in the class raced hard and fast all night and deserve credit for racing a great championship, especially Shane, Ben and Bayley who all deserved their spot on the podium.
A field of 12 Saloons contested their Taranaki Champs on the same night and produced close racing as drivers battled for the silverware.
After three races, won by Blake Hooper, Craig Korff and Mark Hinton. Mark and Blake were tied on points for first place while Auckland driver David Ingram and Jarrod MacBeth were just one point behind and tied for third.
Mark beat Blake in a run off to take first overall while David was third after Jarrod was unable to take part in a run-off due to engine issues.
Stockcars, Superstocks, Youth and Adult Ministocks also all raced on the night. Race winners in the Superstock class were Haydin Barker, Regan Gernhoefer and Logan Sharpe.
Stockcar races were won by Lawrence Barr, Mitch Vickery and Shane Hurliman. Youth Ministock wins went the way of Liam Whelan, Karlin Painter-Dudley, who won two races each while Bradley Korff won two Adult Ministock races and Blair Wadsworth the other.
The next race meeting at Stratford Speedway is on January 25 and will feature the V8 Saloon series, Taranaki Stockcar Champs, Rusty Kay Modified Memorial and Streetstock Best Pairs. Racing starts at 7pm.