2008/2009 ENZED V8 Ute Series Preview

Date: 16 NOVEMBER 2008Embargo: noneRace: ROUND 1 MANFEILD PARK PREVIEWV8 UTES RESUME BATTLE THIS WEEKENDOne of the most exciting developments in New Zealand motorsport in recent times returns to the track at Manfeild Park in Feilding this weekend. The ENZED V8 Utes made their debut in this country last season and were an instant hit! The recipe of well presented Holden and Ford V8 Utes, drivers with larger than life personalities and nicknames to match plus close and exciting racing enhanced by mixed grids was an instant winner.Reigning champion Matt Lockwood of Palmerston North returns to defend the title he won in the inaugural season. Lockwood is happy that the new championship begins at his home circuit. "It's quite cool, a real treat to begin the championship at home as the defending champion," he says. The champ can't wait to get back out there and his goal this year is simple. "I'd like to win all six rounds and the championship," he say's The champ, known as 'Phantom', won four of the six rounds last year. He will be a busy man at Manfeild as he is competing in the Pro 7 plus class in a Mazda RX7 as well as defending his title in the Sola H20 Holden, one of the oldest vehicles in the field.One of his biggest rivals again this season will be the top Ford man and last season's runner-up, Simon Beirne of Christchurch. 'Jnr Burner' returns in his Team McDonald's Falcon to continue his ongoing battle with Lockwood. "Bring it on," was his enthusiastic reaction to the start of the upcoming series. 'Jnr Burner' took last year's battle right to the final race of the series and he say's he wants to build on last year's performance adding that with a season's racing behind his team that the foundation is in place to exceed last year's expectations. "It's like a business, we're there to do a job and do a job very well and to deliver to our partners McDonald's expectations."Other frontrunners from last season scheduled to return are the duo who finished third and fourth in the inaugural series, Mack 'BOMBA' Peach from Auckland in his Super Freight Holden and Caine Lobb of Whangarei - the Ginger Ninja - in his Mark Cromie Holden. After six rounds of racing in the last series they were separated by just one point. The entire top six is back for more with Miles Worsley of Taupo (Worza) in his National Aluminium Holden and Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne (John Jones Steel Falcon) both back on the grid for more.'Snr Burner' is of course the father of 'Jnr Burner' and they form part of a four ute team that also includes Frank Van Shaijik, 'the Flying Dutchman' in another John Jones Steel Falcon and successful businessman and motorsport competitor Mike Pero. 'The Loan Ranger' as Pero has been labelled is returning to the wheel for the first time since he raced in the NZV8s Series several seasons ago. Prior to his four wheel motor racing experience Pero was a multiple New Zealand motorcycling champion. Driving a Mike Pero Mortgages Holden his progress will be watched with interest.Two other Palmerston North drivers will grace the grid this weekend, Geoff Spencer (Spence) and Ash Cairns (Chairman). Cairns is the Chairman of NZV8 Ute Racing Ltd and as well as competing in the series is very much one of the driving forces behind it.A good field of utes is expected at this, the first of the six round championship. Other names familiar to those who enjoyed the series last season include 'Dirty Dave' Kernohan, 'Sly & Dirty' Bob Grove, 'Kaos' Peter Ward, 'Rocketman' Peter Robb, 'Huggi' James Urquhart and 'Paddy' Craig Paterson.After testing on Friday the utes will take part in qualifying on Saturday morning. The first race will follow on Saturday afternoon with two more hotly contested V8 Ute races scheduled for Sunday.For more information please utilise the following:

ENZED NZV8 Utes Calendar 2008/2009:Round 1: Manfeild Park, Feilding - 21-23 November 2008Round 2: Pukekohe Park Raceway, Auckland - 5-7 December 2008 (Thunder In The Park)Round 3: Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo - 23-25 January 2009 (A1GP World Cup Of Motorsport)Round 4: Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch - 6-8 March 2009Round 5: Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, Timaru - 13-15 March 2009 (Truck Race Meeting)Round 6: Teretonga Park, Invercargill - 20-22 March 2009Round 7: Hampton Downs, Waikato - 1-3 May 2009 - FINAL