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Herne last to first win to claim first TA2 Trans Tasman Title

Posted on 18 February 2024
Herne last to first win to claim first TA2 Trans Tasman Title

(Photo: Joel Hanks) 

Round two of the FN Roading TA2 Trans-Tasman Challenge this weekend  at Highlands Park saw an epic last to first drive from Australia’s Nathan Herne to win the inaugural TA2 Trans-Tasman title in what was the first inter country TA2 competition staged worldwide.

Herne dominated both the first round in Christchurch, and all sessions at Highlands Park to claim the Howe Motorsport Enterprises Trans-Tasman trophy. 

After winning this morning’s race comfortably and all but unbeatable in the point score after local gun Ben Stewart had a clutch issue, Herne accepted the $1000 bonus put up by SP Tools to start from the rear of the grid for the final race.

NZ’s Brent Collins and Australia’s Graham Cheney started on the front row with Brad Gartner and Mark Crutcher sitting in behind, followed by Greg Keam and Michael Coulter.

Conditions were hot for the 20-lap feature race and on lights out, it was a clean start with Herne picking off three in the first lap. He continued to push forward lap after lap, delivering a lesson to all in tyre management and car control.

Collins put in a good stint at the front after changes to ride height and suspension between races, before Cheney’s IES Camaro made the move stick under brakes to take the lead.

NZ Team Captain Peter Ward made it hard for Herne initially however the cool 21-year-old backed the Dodge into the hairpin then switched back and drove up the inside of Ward to take the spot.

A mid race safety car was called after Sydney’s Michael Coulter had an electrical issue causing the fuel pump to stop in the Turps Tippers Camaro.

On the re-start Herne again was relentless in his pursuit of the $1000 bonus, taking the lead with ease setting fastest laps along the way.

Ward and Crutcher had a good dice, before Ward got up the inside of the Aussie Team Captain through Turn 14 running side by side down the Main Straight before Crutcher backed out at the bus stop, a slowly deflating tyre dropping him back through the field.

Showing much improved form this weekend, Paul Hadley made a move on Andrew Turner at the Turn 9 hairpin, turning the Kiwi around with Maurice Shapley also involved, the IES Camaro being parked up behind the barriers with damage. Anthony Tenkate read the situation well to miss all three cars and move into 10th.

Gunnedah’s Greg Keam had a solid run in the Debeer Refinish Mustang to finish 6th behind Brad Gartner with Crutcher, Steve Ross, Brett Rudd and Anthony Tenkate rounding out the top 10.

Herne was presented with the Tran Tasman Trophy on the podium, along Cheney and Brent Collins from NZ, while Team Captain Mark Crutcher had the honour of accepting the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy on behalf of the Australian Team.

The Trans-Tasman Challenge proved a great platform for the launch of TA2 as a standalone V8 Series in New Zealand and all teams are keen for a rematch in Australia in the seasons to come.



Nathan Herne

“This was an awesome experience and I have to thank Chas Howe, Peter Robinson and Cam Sendall for making this happen.

“To be working again with Dad takes us back to the way we did it years ago and I was really happy how its all worked out.”

Peter Robinson

“I think this has been one of the best weekend’s ever for TA2. Gary Lathrope, Rachael Murray and Paul Manuell have worked tirelessly to get this across the line,  thanks to Tony Quin, Josie and all at this world class facility plus  Brendon White from Super Sprint NZ and his team for backing us and giving the opportunity to showcase what a great category this really is.”