The NZ Mazda Racing Series is looking to crown its final champion of the season when it visits Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park in North Waikato this weekend.
Chris White Junior of Prebbleton has already taken the South Island title while Wellington driver Simon Baker was crowned the series National Champion at Hampton Downs earlier this month.
This weekend is the showdown to find the North Island Champion with Tauranga driver Rex Edwards coming to the final round of the series with a 52-point lead over Baker. That is a margin that could still be overhauled and with the nature of motorsport, it is all on to find the champion this weekend. The championship would be even tighter if it were not for a DNF (non-finish) for Baker at the second round of the championship.
The battle for the final championship podium position will also be eagerly contested. Aucklander, Leo Bult, currently sits third with 490 points but will be overseas this weekend as this round had to be rescheduled from its original date. That means Matt Horne of Masterton with 441 points is poised to snare third place in the championship. Fifth equal in the points behind Horne are Auckland drivers Karl Gaines and Flynn Mullany followed by Sam Dashfield and Warren Crowther, all possibilities to move past Bult should they have a strong weekend.
Of the fifteen races to date, Edwards with 6 wins and Baker with 4 have won two-thirds of the races between them. Other race winners have been Horne, Mullany, White Junior, Bult and Crowther, with one apiece.
Baker led the championship after the opening round at Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild in October. Since then, Edwards has gone on to win every other round (Hampton Downs, Taupo, Pukekohe and Hampton Downs). It is Hampton Downs where the North Island Champion will be decided this weekend and it looks set to be a battle between Edwards and Baker.
There are other titles to be decided this weekend also. Baker leads the Masters Championship with Bult second and Karl Gaines of Auckland currently third over 100 points behind Baker. Mullany leads the Rookie Championship with 412 points with Warren Crowther, who was in superb form last time out at Hampton Downs, second on 397 points, just 15 points behind. Crowther has the distinction of going into the final round fourth in the Masters Championship and second in the Rookie Championship.
Qualifying for the Premier Insulation Pole Award takes place on Saturday morning followed by the first race of the round on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, a reverse top ten grid race will be held in the morning, followed by the final race of the championship that afternoon.
Header Image: The main protagonists in the North Island Nexen Tyre Mazda Racing Series this weekend pictured at Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park – #85 Rex Edwards, #11 Simon Baker, #45 Matt Horne along with #50 Nigel Edger, currently eleventh in the championship.
Header Image: Geoff Ridder
Words and Images: Supplied