Gisborne's Ethan Rees wins NZ title
Gisborne speedway racer Ethan Rees won his first New Zealand superstock title at the weekend when he took out the New Zealand Superstock Grand Prix at Huntly. His brother Asher was runner-up.
Their father, Peter Rees, finished sixth in the hard-fought, fast-paced three-race finals series on Saturday night.
It was only the second time a member of the Gisborne Speedway Club has won the New Zealand Superstock Grand Prix title. Clyde McGrory won in 1989.
Ethan (127G) scored 73 points across the three races, for two firsts and a sixth, to finish seven points ahead of his elder brother (66 points).
Peter Rees, who turns 50 this year, was not far behind on 58 points.
The 44 cars in the qualifying heats on Saturday night were whittled down to a finals line-up of 26.
“It was very tough, very fast racing, with not a lot of blocking,” 23-year-old Ethan said.
“It was just hard-out superstock racing.”
His 26-year-old brother has 1NZ on his car after he took out the New Zealand superstock championship a week ago.
He races out of the Kihikihi track but a few years ago was also a member of the Gisborne Speedway Club, like the rest of his family.
“I always knew Asher was going to be my main rival for the GP title,” Ethan said.
“It was pretty cool to outpoint him to win the title, but it was also a great feeling for us both to be on the podium together.
“Dad was over the moon with our performance and happy with his own sixth placing.
“I'm still over the moon myself, to be honest. I'm just so stoked.”
Ethan said his Rees Tank car went perfectly through the night.
“The car was well suited to the Huntly track. It was awesome.”
Gisborne Speedway Club president McGrory said the club was thrilled with the result.
“We're very proud that Ethan has done this for us and we support him wholeheartedly in his future speedway career.
“He was so unlucky not to win the New Zealand championships in Rotorua last week. He was leading on points going into the final race but got taken out. So his win at the weekend was thoroughly deserved.”
The Rees can be expected to make their presence felt in the rescheduled Gisborne Speedway Club 50th anniversay meeting, to be held on February 13, when superstocks will be one of the major features.
'Meanwhile, the Gisborne contingent in the finals of the New Zealand Streetstock Championships in Dunedin were dealt to, along with the rest of the North Island cars.
Cody Gooch, Brenden Gooch and Shaun Kingi made the finals but were among the 17 cars that failed to finish the finals series, out of 26 starters.
“It was brutal down there . . . all our guys got severely taken out,” Neil Gooch said.
“There were seven roll-overs across the finals.”
The Gisborne drivers raced again at a club meeting in Cromwell the next day and Sean Gooch won it overall, with Cody Gooch the runner-up. They nearly took all the top-three spots, but Brenden Gooch was clipped while running third in the final race.