National Karting Champion Daniel Connor added yet another National Championship to his resume, showing his skill and cool thinking behind the wheel of a 1,650 kilogram racing ute over the 7 Race Championship Series, despite missing one round due to prior Kart racing commitments. Fortunately for Daniel he was able to drop that missed round under the Series rules, which allowed every competitor to drop their worst round.
Connor may have won the Series but the last round honours went right down to the wire between Rowan Shepherd and Australian National Woman’s Karting Champion Alexander Whitley, who despite winning two of the 4 races outright and finishing the remaining two in second place, lost out to Shepherd by just a single point.
Shepherd’s new lap record performance at Pukekohe also saw him leap-frog Christina Orr, to secure second place in the Series with Orr finishing third and three places clear of the next woman competitor Alexander Whitley, who finished 6th outright.
Orr was understandably frustrated with what her team suspected was a faulty engine sensor which was compromising her performance potential. However, Orr vowed to be back next season with a vengeance, “Alexander and I are teaming up to run the Endurance Series, which should keep both of us girls race sharp for the start of the next season, beginning at Taupo in late October 2015.”
15-year-old Chelsea Herbert the pole setter from Round 5 who was badly concussed in a race incident at Timaru, is another girl anxious to get behind the wheel of her race Actyon Sport ute over the Winter Endurance Series, in preparation for next season.
‘Girl Power’ seems to be on the increase with newbie competitor 19 year old Alyssa Clapperton, who along with her father made the long haul all the way up from Dunedin, also saying that she loved the experience and hopes that she can join the SRS Championship full time next season.
Amongst the teenage young-guns, a number of competitors found outstanding form in the last three race meetings of the season. The fastest of which, without doubt, was Todd Prujean, followed closely by Joel Herbert, Tray Nairn, Blake Harris and Mitchell Turner.
Caine Lobb, former NZV8 Ute Champion, and Jayden Dodge - both from Christchurch - proved to be the fastest of the more experienced racer’s, closely followed by Aucklanders Kieron Rollinson and Cory Holmes.
The end of the first SsangYong Racing Season was wrapped up with a Prizegiving with Sir Colin Meads in attendance awarding the ‘PineTree’ Cup to Daniel Connor along with a trip to Korea to visit SsangYong Motor Company. Most Improved went to 15 year old Blake Harris who also won, in a lucky draw, a trip to Korea.
Due to the interest and success of SsangYong Racing in 2014/2015, SsangYong has plans to further develop the series for the upcoming season. Anyone interested in finding out more should follow the facebook page (Facebook.com/ssangyongracingseries) or contact Series Race Director Mark Petch on 021 721 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org