The Marlborough Express
North happy part of Aussie-beating team
It may have been a disappointing end to the Valvoline Trans-Tasman Speedway Challenge for Paddy North, but the Marlborough driver "had a ball" as part of the New Zealand Super Saloon team that beat their Australian counterparts on Australian turf at the weekend.

After a bout of bad luck in the first three rounds, North suffered more ill fate in the fourth round. He had another DNF in the feature event on Friday before heavy rain and surface flooding forced race organisers to cancel Saturday's fifth round at Hamilton's Western Speedway and then the sixth and final race at Bacchus Marsh Speedway on Sunday.

Although Aussie drivers took the top four spots and closed the gap on the Kiwis in Friday's fourth round, it wasn't enough, and when Sunday's final round was officially cancelled, New Zealand were declared the winners of the inaugural Trans-Tasman Challenge 323 to 285.

During qualifying for round four, North's bad luck from the first three rounds reappeared in the third heat.

Following seventh and eighth-place finishes in the opening two heats, North started the third heat off the front row and was holding down second place until he was taken out by an Aussie car.

He rejoined the race, but handling problems kept him off the pace and he finished sixth to qualify 16th from 20 cars for the feature race.

Two laps into the main event North went wide while attempting to pass, hit loose dirt and slid hard into the wall, damaging his Monaro and ending his race.

Despite a sad end to his own campaign, North remained upbeat about his experience across the Tasman.

"It was a disappointing way to end what has been an amazing series and extraordinary experience, but a great result for the Kiwi team.

"We've had a ball throughout the series and are looking forward to doing battle with an Aussie team over here next season," he noted.

North's Monaro and the three other South Island cars arrive back in the country in the middle of this month, leaving plenty of time to prepare them for their next major outing, the Elf Super Cup at Eastern States Speedway on December 3.

- The Marlborough Express
3 November 2010