The Marlborough Express
North battered but unbowed in series
Despite an inauspicious start to his own campaign, Marlborough speedway driver Paddy North's New Zealand team hold a comfortable lead after three rounds of racing in the Valvoline Trans-Tasman Challenge in Australia last weekend.

North may have had two DNFs and an 11th place finish on the first of two weekends of racing, but the New Zealand Super Saloon team lead the series 272-181 over their Australian counterparts heading into the final three rounds of racing this weekend.

North did not have the best of starts to his trip when he hit the wall during practice for the opening round at Mildura Timmis Speedway on Friday night, destroying two wheels, a shock, the bonnet and the front splitter.

After a few running repairs he managed three midfield finishes to qualify 10th for the feature race. But his bad luck continued in the main event when an Aussie car rammed the back of his Monaro, ending his race on lap 19.

In what he described as a pretty average performance, North qualified 15th for the feature race on Saturday at Swan Hill's Sonic Speedway. During the main event North's luck failed him again and his race ended on lap 24 when, running eighth, another Aussie car ran up the back of his car.

The purpose-built saloon racing venue Moama Heartland Raceway was the venue for Sunday's third round. Dry, dusty and challenging track conditions forced race organisers to shorten the feature race to just 15 laps. North again struck trouble after two heavy collisions left his Monaro with major panel damage, but he battled on to eventually finish 11th in a war of attrition where only three out of the 10 Aussie drivers finished.

This weekend's three rounds see the team head to Bacchus Marsh on Friday, Hamilton on Saturday and back to Bacchus Marsh for the final race on Sunday.

- The Marlborough Express
26 October 2010