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Herne to Lead TA2 Muscle Cars AUS vs NZ Challenge

Posted on 12 January 2024
Herne to Lead TA2 Muscle Cars AUS vs NZ Challenge

Eight Australian TA2 Muscle Car competitors will freight their cars out of Brisbane this weekend to compete in two Trans-Tasman Rounds in the South Island of New Zealand next month, joining the New Zealand TA2 Muscle Car field for the Lady Wigram Trophy Event at Christchurch February 9-11, plus the New Zealand Grand Prix at Highlands International Motorsport Park February 16-18 as a key support category.  Both events will be televised by Sky Sports New Zealand and Fox Sports/Kayo Sports Australia. 

Two-timeTrans-Am Champion and former TA2 Rookie of the Year Nathan Herne will lead  the Australian teams that will be competing in New Zealand. Coming off a competitive season racing TA2 in the USA, Herne will field his own front running Dodge Challenger that series owner Pete Robinson purchased for the trip with intentions of leaving it over in New Zealand for future events.  

Seven TA2 regulars Mark Crutcher, Graham Cheney, Paul Hadley, Anthony Tenkate, Greg Keam, Michael Coulter and Brad Gartner will join the field of eight TA2 cars already racing in New Zealand’s V8 Series with Gartner driving the Robinson Dodge Challenger repaired from a hit at the last TA2 round at Calder Park.

Cheney is the reigning TA2 Northern Series champ while Gunnedah’s Greg Keam won the Racetech Rookie of the Year award in his first TA2 season last year. Crutcher, Tenkate and Hadley are regular trophy winners in the TA2 Circo Master Class while South Australia’s Brad Gartner has proven to be a series front runner and is looking forward to his first overseas trip. Kobelco Racings Michael Coulter has been a long standing TA2 competitor sharing the drive with his father Steve to a fine second place during the TA2 King of the North event in Darwin last year.

New Zealand competitors include demolition expert Peter Ward, ex V8 Ute Champion Brett Rudd, Steve Ross, Andrew Turner, Andrew Sinclair, Maurice Shapley and ex speedway racer John Robert. Ben Stewart will join the field, the eighteen-year-old has been Karting since he was nine, then moved to the Mazda Racing Series at sixteen winning the 2020 and 2021 Championship, setting lap records at most tracks. He also won the Bathurst T86 Shoot Out last Year and scored a fully funded Drive at the Bathurst 1000 in a Toyota 86.

Former NZ V8 Ute Champion Paul Manuell, who partnered Nathan Herne to a podium in last year’s TA2 King's of the North Event in Darwin, distributes the TA2 PBR spec cars and components in New Zealand and will drive with Brett Rudd in the two-event series.

The TA2 Aus vs NZ Trans-Tasman Challenge will be held over 6 races, three at each race meeting with the option of single or co-driver teams. Each weekend’s final 20-minute race will feature a mandatory pit stop for driver change or minimum timed stop for solo drivers.

Overseas transport is being facilitated through Gibson Freight while PTS Logistics will handle the internal transport from Christchurch to Cromwell.


Nathan Herne #29 PBR Distributions, Dodge Challenger 

" I am very excited to go race over in New Zealand, and visit the boys across the ditch. TA2 New Zealand is something that Pete and Paul have been working really hard at getting off the ground and running and to have a true Trans-Tasman racing series again is pretty cool. Hopefully they can drag a few of us Australian mainland boys over there and see what the kiwi’s have got for us.

New Zealand have some pretty awesome tracks that we will be racing at, it is going to be an awesome time.”

Brad Gartner #10 B Styled for Life, Dodge Challenger

“ I am very grateful for this opportunity to be heading over to New Zealand to drive Pete’s Dodge Challenger, it’s unfortunate that Pete can’t race but I am excited to put my best foot forward for Pete. 

I have never been overseas before, but I am excited to get some racing under my belt at two new tracks before Round 1 back here in Australia. 

I am most looking forward to racing at Highlands International Motorsport Park as it looks like a very unique track.”