After an exciting and highly entertaining opening round at Pukekohe recently both Mike Pero and Dave Stewart will add plenty of punch to the popular series as they join in the fun.
Mike ‘The Loan Ranger' Pero has dusted off his Travel Goals Holden for his local round while former BNT V8s competitor Dave ‘The Boss' Stewart will also join the Holden ranks after purchasing a ute in which he will contest the remainder of the series.
Pero needs little introduction. A former motorcycling champion, V8 Saloon competitor and successful businessman he has been a series regular in recent times. He is obviously out for enjoyment. "My ute returned from Auckland the other day. Its eyes met mine and I couldn't resist! It's more about meeting the boys afterwards for a bourbon really. The VZ is in its fifth or sixth year now so it's a wee bit tired so I'll just go out to have a good time.”
Dave Stewart is also well known in motorsport circles. A Holden man through and through Stewart has purchased the former Steve Elliott Holden and will join the series fulltime from this weekend onwards. Stewart leased a ute for one round last season and enjoyed the experience. "The first outings will be to learn about what it does and doesn't do. We have a new engine, new brakes and no testing but we want to be at the front end, if not at this round then in the near future,” says Stewart. He has entered into the culture of the series by adopting a nickname – The Boss. "The crew came up with that. They reckon I'm always telling people what to do.”
Pero and Stewart re-enter a highly competitive series. The opening round saw 2009 Champion Caine Lobb "The Ginja Ninja” of Whangarei win the round in his Mark Cromie Holden while rookie, Aucklander Chris Hanley, took a race win on debut in his Holden. There were good performances too by Geoff Spencer, Bob Grove and newcomer Scott McKelvie for Holden while Mike Lightfoot and Simon Beirne excelled for Ford. Beirne is a local looking forward to his home round and part of a two car team with his father Graham Beirne. Simon ‘Jnr Burner' and Graham ‘Snr Burner' have both been championship podium finishers in past series. Snr Burners podium came last year when he finished third in the series – at the ripe old age of 62 years old.
‘Jnr Burner' had a good round at Pukekohe, finishing second overall in his Team McDonald's Falcon, after sitting out most of last year.
What of the defending champion? Queensland based kiwi international Chris ‘The Gypsy' Pither was the fastest qualifier but had a horror weekend with brake problems in race one and a wild ride when the engine cut midway through a corner in race two. He bounced back in the third and final race with a second placing but he now trails Lobb, the series leader by 71 points. However with his trials and tribulations he did capture one of the series innovative awards at Pukekohe. His wild trip across the grass in the Gallagher XR8 Falcon earned him the Citizen Watch Time Out Award for the most spectacular moment of the weekend. The prize? A brand new Citizen Watch!
To add even more spice this weekend also sees upgrades for the Holden contingent in the areas of suspension and engine modifications.
Picking a winner is difficult – but one thing is certain. Spectators are in for another great show when the ENZED V8 Utes hit the track this weekend.
Thecategory enjoys the support of ENZED, UDC Finance, Radio Hauraki, Yokohama,Castrol, Citizen Watches, Exedy and Armorall.
Series Points: (After Round 1)
Lobb – 277, S Beirne – 241,Hanley – 227, Pither – 206, Spencer – 194, Grove – 164, McKelvie – 156, Urquhart – 156, Lightfoot – 152, Robb – 144, G Beirne – 141, Jarvis – 114, J Kernohan – 114, D Kernohan – 106, Ward - 106