Australian and New Zealand competitors are set to head to Tony Quinn’s Highlands Motorsport Park, Queenstown this weekend February 16-18 for Round 2 of the FN Roading Australia Vs New Zealand Trans-Tasman TA2 Challenge.
#29 Howe Racing Enterprise Dodge Challenger driver Nathan Herne gave Australia first blood by taking the first race win, and clean sweeping the weekend at Euromarque Motorsport Park last weekend.
Australian driver Graham Cheney placed second for the weekend for IES Motorsport, making it an all Aussie podium with Brad Gartner securing third after a difficult weekend.
Team Captains Mark Crutcher and Peter Ward battled hard all weekend, with Crutcher making a move on Ward in the final race to finish fourth.
Paul Hadley, Greg Keam, Anthony Tenkate and Michael Coulter will round out the 8 Australian drivers for Round 2 at Highlands Motorsport Park.
Chasing hard all weekend,18 year old New Zealand driver Ben Stewart unfortunately didn’t start Race 3 due to breaking an axle in Race 2 whilst running in second behind Nathan Herne.
New Zealand drivers John Roberts and Brianna Hughes will be sharing the #143 Chevrolet Camaro. This will be Brianna’s first time driving a TA2 Muscle Car around Highlands International Motorsport Park.
Brent Collins, Andrew Turner, Maurice Shapely, Steve Ross and Brett Rudd complete the field of 16 cars.
Nathan Herne now leads the Trans-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. The prestigious trophy will be awarded to the Australian or New Zealand team with the most points over the two round series. The wining team will get to hold the trophy for 12 months in recognition of their efforts.
The TA2 Aus vs NZ Trans-Tasman Challenge will have 3 races across the weekend, with Race 3 featuring a 20 lap final. Catch all of Saturday and Sunday’s action live on Sky Sports New Zealand, Fox Sports Channel 506 and Kayo Sports.
Nathan Herne #29 Howe Racing Enterprises, Dodge Challenger
"Ruapuna was an awesome track to race at last weekend, Highlands Motorsport Park has been talked up by all the kiwi's, they have all said how good of a track it is. It is going to be hard to set the cars up for this track but I think these TA2 cars will surprise everyone with the lap times around that track."
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."