Retired Meeanee Maulers stockcar driver Beatle Tarrant seldom displayed emotion during his racing days.
But there was plenty on Saturday night as he watched his son Randal win the New Zealand Superstock Championship at Whanganui's Oceanview Speedway.
"Yes it brought tears to Dad's eyes ... this is an absolute dream come true for us both," Tarrant, 26, said as he reflected on the two-night championship which attracted 130 starters and was the highlight of his 14-year speedway career.
"I don't think I've understood what this success means yet. It probably won't fully settle in until we get the whole new body on the car with the 1NZ number on it. I just borrowed Jason's [fellow Hawkeye Long] 1NZ number from last season for the post-meeting photos in Whanganui," Tarrant said shortly after arriving home on Sunday.
"We'll get Zach [fellow Hawkeye Lawrence] and his team on to designing something appropriate to the occasion for the body."
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Only the top five drivers from each of the five groups on Friday night plus the winner of Saturday night's repechage qualified for Saturday night's three championship heats. With fourth, sixth and second placings Tarrant won his group.
"I was in the group of death, the toughest one, as it also included the Joblin brothers," Tarrant said referring to Palmerston North's Adam and Scott Joblin who were second and third respectively in the championship.
On Saturday night Tarrant finished seventh from grid 24 in his first heat which was a huge boost to his title chances. His second placing from grid 11 in heat two was also a tremendous feat and his win from grid five in the third saw him win the title by seven points.
"The track went pretty slick so we were chasing our set up in every race. I had the fastest car ... my old girl did it," Tarrant said as he patted the bonnet of his Toyota V8-powered car which was built by Llama Engineering in Wellington.
A diesel mechanic for Vaughan Chote Motors in Waipukurau, Tarrant was racing in just his third meeting of the season and is only in his third season of superstock racing after progressing from the ministock and stockcar ranks. The weekend's championship was his first taste of superstock racing at Whanganui.
This season Tarrant, who was a member of the Meeanee Maulers stockcar team which won the Peter Barry Memorial Teams event for the first time in 2014, is sharing the drives in his car with Hawke's Bay Speedway Club clubmate Puneet Gill.
"Puneet said I could have the big meetings and he will race at Meeanee. At Whanganui a lot of the cars were bundled out on turns one and two which is a tight corner. I managed to weasel my way through it ... all those years of visits there with the ministock paid off," Tarrant explained.
"A lot of 50-50 calls went my way all weekend and I wasn't blocked in the final heat. I had plenty of mates so all the years of doing favours for other drivers worked in my favour this time," Tarrant said singling out the likes of Long and Wellington's Levien brothers Keegan and Ethan for their support.
Tarrant is the third Hawke's Bay-contracted driver to win the title since Joe Faram in 2012 and Magpies rugby player Long last year. Hawke's Bay-based drivers Bryce Penn, who won the title in 2005 and his son Shane, who went back-to-back in 2013 and '14, were both contracted to Palmerston North when they won one of the most sought after titles on the national speedway scene.
He agreed this success will boost his chances of being selected in the Hawkeyes team for next month's Teams Champs in Palmerston North, the most prestigious event on the Speedway New Zealand calendar. The team will be selected after the Rotorua-hosted World Invitation meet in three weeks and it will be a surprise if Tarrant, who was a member of the third-placed Hawkeyes team in 2018 and second placed team last year isn't selected.
Another of the Hawkeyes, Quinn Ryan, was 10th in Whanganui and Long was 21st. Last summer Tarrant said if he could help the Hawkeyes bring the Teams Champs title back to the Bay next month he would consider retirement but those plans changed after becoming 1NZ at the weekend.
"Next year's nationals are in Rotorua and the Rotorua track suits my car," Tarrant added.