Herne’s TA2 hat trick delivers Australia Trans-Tasman Series Lead.
Lismore’s Nathan Herne qualified on pole and won all three races to lead Australia in the series point score going into the final round of the TA2 AUS vs NZ Tran Tasman Challenge. Chased hard all weekend by New Zealand’s rising star 18 year old Ben Stewart, Herne put on a master class in pace and tyre management, while Stewart unfortunately couldn’t start the final race due to breaking an axle in this morning’s sprint race while running second.
South Australia’s Brad Gartner was the hard charger in Race 2, moving from 10th on the grid to 3 rd , but copped a 10 second penalty for turning around NZ’s Brent Collins. Collins locked up and was loose leaving a gap for Gartner to take advantage of and the two touched with Collins spinning. Stewards looked at the vision again post-race and reinstated Gartner to 3 rd after overturning the earlier decision absolving Gartner of any blame in the incident.
The grid for the final 20 lap feature race was built on combined points from Race 1 and 2, with Herne on pole from Cheney and NZ represented by Brent Collins and Team Captain Peter Ward on the second row.
Herne gapped the field quickly, while Gartner and Collins again ran nose to tail hard early in the race, before Gartner got by. Team Captains Mark Crutcher and Peter Ward battled hard before Crutcher’s Mustang made the move stick, while Ward also went past Brent Collins after the two touched mid corner. Michael Coulter’s Kobelco Camaro had a better run in the final race, along with Greg Keam, Anthony Tenkate and Paul Hadley. Hadley showed greatly improved form this weekend by qualifying 10 th outright in his first time at Ruapuna.
Herne now leads the Tran Tasman Championship for the Howe Racing Enterprises Perpetual Trophy, and Australia leads New Zealand 179 points to 134 points for the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, to be awarded to the highest point scoring country at the end of the two-round series.
The final round will be at Highlands Motorsport Park next weekend, televised live on Fox sports and Kayo.
Nathan Herne, #29 Howe Enterprise Racing Dodge Challenger
"It was a great weekend for myself and it was great to be back with TA2 Racing. They put on an awesome show, the kiwi's did a good job at hosting us and it was great to have an Australian 1,2,3 to finish the weekend, I definitely think they will bring more heat come Highlands Motorsport Park next weekend. "
Peter Ward, #69 Demolition Racing Chevrolet Camaro
We lost one of our best drivers Ben Stewart with a mechanical issue in Race 2 which put us on the back foot. We live to fight another day, the cars are all still in one piece which is the main thing and next weekend at Highlands International Motorsport Park the kiwi's will come back fighting."