The best that New Zealand has to offer in Three Quarter Midget racing (affectionately known as TQ’s) descend on the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway for the 2017/18 Walker Engineering New Zealand TQ Championship this week.
Close to fifty drivers have put their names forward for the biggest event on the TQ calendar with twelve cars entered from Auckland alone.
The TQ class has seen a resurgence here in Nelson over the last few seasons with numbers and quality of local machines on the rise.
The championship will be spread over two nights with the qualifying heats on Friday, February 9, starting at 7pm, and the C, B and A main feature races on the Saturday starting at 6pm.
The format is a tricky one to explain, but it works great for both drivers and fans alike as your favourite driver may have a dud race but still has an outside chance of making the A main feature.
The winner of this final race takes home the $2000 prize money as well as being crowned the New Zealand champion.
Night One: Qualifying heats.
All competitors will be split into five groups, each group will race each other for four heats accumulating points as they go. This means that every driver races against each other over that night’s racing. Heat races will be 12 laps.
Night Two: Finals night.
The twenty top qualifiers go straight to the A main final while the next ten qualifiers get added to the B main list.
The rest race in the C main first and after the completion of that race the top four place getters transfer into the B main race later in the programme.
From the B main the four top finishing cars get to tansfer to the 30 lap A main feature race.
To make things even more interesting, the top eight qualifiers from the first night’s racing get to race in a six lap dash.
This race will determine which grid they will start off in the big 30 lap A main feature race.
So the eighth placed car could move up to a front row grid for the big race if everything goes their way in the dash race.
As mentioned before, the Nelson cars no longer make up the numbers in this fine field and a handful of locals should be able to get in the A main and be a threat for at least one of the podium spots at the end of the nights racing.
The one thing that might go against them is that it’s a 30 lap final and most of the South Island cars don’t normally get to do that many laps.
The one South Islander who could possibly be a threat would be Cantabrian Jeremy Webb who is consistently fast and has successfully spent time of late racing Midgets in Auckland over the last few months.
That amount of seat time should bode well for the six time South Island champion.
Possible Nelson drivers who could be at the sharp end after the dust settles are Alicia McLauchlan, Darkie Armstrong, Dylan Stone-Cuthbert, Luke Dilworth, Morgan Frost and Jayden Corkill, who have all shown that they have good pace at certain times through this season and would love nothing better than a good result in front of a home crowd.
Of course you can’t discount those from that other island up north either, as the maestro of TQ racing Duane Todd from the Hawkes Bay has no fewer than two New Zealand titles under his belt along with a 2NZ and a 3NZ to go with them.
I’m sure that Duane and the current 2NZ Kaleb Currie from Auckland would want for nothing less than that 1NZ on their tail tank after the weekend’s racing.
At the time of writing there are a total of 14 Nelson cars entered along with another 14 from Christchurch, 12 from Auckland, two from the Hawkes Bay and four from Greymouth, giving us a total of forty-six.
On the finals night on Saturday, February 10, the Milestone Homes Top of the South speedway will also be hosting the Jacks Tyres and Performance South Island Midget championship alongside the New Zealand TQ title where the best of the best in South Island Midgets will be here to wrestle away the coveted title and try and steal the show from the TQ guys and girls.
It’s a dream night for all the open wheeler fans out there. with the Superstock class also running for their Club Championship.
Classes racing over the two nights are TQ’s, Midgets, Stockcars, Youth Ministocks and Sidecars on the Friday, while the Saturday night sees the TQ’s, Midgets, Superstock (Club Champs), Sidecars and Production Saloons take to the track.
All ticketing info and a current drivers list can be viewed at our website at nelsonspeedway.co.nz or download the Nelson Speedway App and get all the latest info sent straight to your personal device.
See you all trackside…