– Press Release –
Over the weekend of March 24th to the 26th, the Pukekohe motor racing circuit had its last-ever motor racing event. This historic venue has hosted countless V8 Supercars rounds and New Zealand Grands Prix over its 60 years. The ‘Flying Farewell’ was also Round Two of the RYCO 24•7 NZ V8 Utes Championship. Special guest Quentin Korff, RYCO Regional Managing Director – APAC was in attendance to witness all the action and bid farewell to this historic venue.
The top qualifier on Saturday morning was Glen Collinson returning to the championship after placing runner-up in the 2019-20 season. Glen’s 1.16.697 lap time narrowly edged Jake Stoneman’s 1.16.840 racing Peter Ward’s championship-winning Holden Ute, with a much-improved Simon Ussher barely a tenth of a second behind him. Race One at 2:25pm saw a moment’s hesitation from Glen Collinson as he missed an upshift, allowing Jake Stoneman to gain ground and Simon Ussher to duck inside on Turn One to challenge for the lead. But by turn two, Collinson had regathered and had a firm grip on first place – a place he wasn’t going to relinquish without a fight.
Not far behind the lead pack, three Utes were battling it out. Phill Ross was clinging onto the rear bumper of Greg Kroef, with son Brad close behind.
Corner after corner, Stoneman threw everything he could at Collinson but couldn’t find a way past, notching up a well-deserved win. Welcome back to the RYCO 24•7 NZ V8 Utes championship Glen Collinson.
The pecking order changed Sunday morning for the reverse-grid Race Two, as yesterday’s front runners became the back markers. As the race got underway, Stu Monteith and Bruce McRae led the pack, but back in the midfield, Jake Stoneman, who’d started 9th, snuck down the inside of Simon Ussher – onto the grass and into contention. Just a few corners later, Greg Kroef spun on turn three and into the wall, prompting a safety car.
As tyres cooled, the restart was sure to be a heated affair. The safety car moved off and David Lowe overtook Stu Monteith for the lead, but Jake Stoneman in the Ward Demolition Ute was charging through the field with Glen Collinson in tow. Also on the move was Round One winner Brad Kroef, who’d left yesterday’s brake issues and the midfield behind him, and quickly fought his way up to 4th.
By lap six, Jake Stoneman ultimately took the lead with Glen Collinson in his slipstream. After twelve incident-packed laps, that’s how positions remained as Jake Stoneman held on for a well-deserved win over Glen Collinson, with David ‘Shaggy’ Lowe in 3rd.
With one win apiece for Glen Collinson and Jake Stoneman, the weekend’s winner would all come down to Race Three. Glen Collinson got away quickly; Jake Stoneman clung onto his tailgate with Simon Ussher a heartbeat behind. With so much at stake and after several good finishes, Phill Ross was pushing hard in fourth – maybe too hard. It all came unstuck for Phill on turn three as he spun off and brushed the tyre wall, then re-joined the race in last and limped along with probable steering damage.
Up front, it was game on. Glen Collinson was stretching his lead over Jake Stoneman, both lapping in 1.17’s – close to their qualifying pace. But Jake wasn’t giving up. It took a brief mistake from Glen on lap nine, his rear end slipped away and with it, his lead. Jake pounced, leapt to the front, and held on till the checkered flag.
As for the championship overall, Brad Kroef still leads, Phill Ross’s consistency has moved him up to second, with Greg Kroef solidly in third.
After three intense races, Quentin Korff was blown away. Reflecting on the event he said, “The RYCO 24•7 NZ V8 category is unique when compared to the other categories. The race teams are serious about their racing, but the camaraderie between the teams is unbelievable for a competitive sport. The teams were friendly and willing to help and assist each other when things went wrong and celebrated each other’s wins. Cherie does a superb job in coordinating and organizing the event. As a sponsor we are proud to be associated with the team.”
So as the sun sets on 60 years of racing history at Pukekohe, the RYCO 24•7 NZ V8 Utes championship heads south to Manfield for the weekend of April 14th to 16th 2023.
| Race One Results||Driver||Fastest Lap|
|1st||#17 Glen Collinson||1.17.107|
|2nd||#69 Jake Stoneman||1.17.002|
|3rd||#94 Simon Ussher||1.17.919|
|4 th||#700 Phill Ross||1.17.679|
|5 th||#23 Greg Kroef||1.17.954|
|6 th||#06 Brad Kroef||1.18.241|
|7 th||#82 David Lowe||1.18.792|
|8 th||#84 Brent Main||1.19.642|
|9 th||#99 Stu Monteith||1.20.100|
|10 th||#45 Bruce McRae||1.20.350|
|11 th||#57 Paul Fougere||1.20.249|
|12 th||#26 Jeremy Hunt||1.19.491|
|13th||#14 Blair Gribble-Bowring||1.20.749|
|14th||#39 Simon McLeod||1.29.614|
|DNF||#24 Daniel Ludlam||1.20.661|
| Race Two Results||Driver||Fastest Lap|
|1st||#69 Jake Stoneman||1.16.918|
|2nd||#17 Glen Collinson||1.16.806|
|3rd||#82 David Lowe||1.18.987|
|4 th||#700 Phill Ross||1.18.023|
|5 th||#94 Simon Ussher||1.17.880|
|6 th||#45 Bruce McRae||1.18.530|
|7 th||#99 Stu Monteith||1.18.801|
|8 th||#26 Jeremy Hunt||1.19.799|
|9 th||#06 Brad Kroef||1.17.389|
|10 th||#24 Daniel Ludlam||1.18.994|
|11 th||#57 Paul Fougere||1.19.531|
|12 th||#84 Brent Main||1.20.068|
|13th||#39 Simon McLeod||1.33.766|
|DNF||#23 Greg Kroef||–|
| Race Three Results||Driver||Fastest Lap|
|1st||#69 Jake Stoneman||1.17.568|
|2nd||#17 Glen Collinson||1.17.730|
|3rd||#94 Simon Ussher||1.18.241|
|4 th||#06 Brad Kroef||1.18.121|
|5 th||#23 Greg Kroef||1.17.754|
|6 th||#99 Stu Monteith||1.18.989|
|7 th||#45 Bruce McRae||1.19.679|
|8 th||#24 Daniel Ludlam||1.19.833|
|9 th||#57 Paul Fougere||1.19.832|
|10 th||#82 David Lowe||1.19.625|
|11 th||#84 Brent Main||1.20.206|
|12 th||#700 Phill Ross||1.19.560|
|13th||#39 Simon McLeod||1.28.665|
|DNF||#26 Jeremy Hunt||1.20.271|
| Championship Points after Round Two||Driver||Points|
|1st||#06 Brad Kroef||166|
|2nd||#700 Phill Ross||144|
|3rd||#23 Greg Kroef||133|
|4 th||#99 Stu Monteith||131|
|5 th||#57 Paul Fougere||111|
|6 th||#45 Bruce McRae||110|
|7 th||#82 David Lowe||108|
|8 th||#69 Jake Stoneman||101|
|9 th||#17 Glen Collinson||97|
|10 th||#24 Daniel Ludlam||90|
|11 th||#26 Jeremy Hunt||83|
|12 th||#94 Simon Ussher||76|
|13th||#39 Simon McLeod||56|
|14th||#84 Brent Main||47|