Tay­lor go­ing places fast

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

He drives like the wind, makes the podium a lot and other driv­ers know he’s in the race.

Sprint car driver Stephen Tay­lor, from Whitby, is just 18, but is a force to be reck­oned with on the track.

He won the North Is­land sprint car cham­pi­onship at Bay­park, Mt Maun­ganui, in Fe­bru­ary and the Welling­ton champs at Te Marua in March, against much older, more ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers.

At Te Marua he shaved 0.05s off the long­stand­ing lap record.

Tay­lor at­tended just 11 meet­ings last sum­mer, get­ting podi­ums in half of his heat and fea­ture races. It was an­other year on a steep learn­ing curve and he loved ev­ery minute.

‘‘I’m re­ally happy with what I achieved this sea­son,’’ he said.

‘‘Our team [over­seen by his fa­ther, Ian] would have liked to have gone to more meets, but it comes down to fund­ing.

‘‘It’s an ex­pen­sive sport – each crunch is eas­ily $1000 dam­age and if an en­gine blows or you have a big crash then it could be any­thing up to $15,000. Think­ing about it some­times makes me feel ill.’’

As can hap­pen with teenagers, Tay­lor said adren­a­line could some­times get the bet­ter of him in the mid­dle of a race and that it cost him some­times.

‘‘I’m tested a lot [in races] be­cause I’m young and some of the other driv­ers like to see what I can do and how I han­dle sit­u­a­tions.

‘‘Some of the driv­ers see me as some hairy-legged boy and that’s just one of those things.

‘‘ Some­times I need to fight the adren­a­line away and look at the big­ger pic­ture. I’m get­ting bet­ter at it.’’

He trea­sures his two big ti­tles from the sum­mer and will take con­fi­dence into the win­ter break.

The two cars he races will be stripped by the team and re­built, re­painted and pre­pared for when rac­ing re­sumes in Oc­to­ber.

Tay­lor is hop­ing for more spon­sors so he can com­pete in more races.

He said his goal was to race pro­fes­sion- ally in the United States. I’m pas­sion­ate about driv­ing, have been since I was a lit­tle kid.

‘‘I be­lieve in my­self and know there will be good times and bad, but I want to build re­la­tion­ships with people and see where it takes me. Nascar would be the ul­ti­mate – it’s the sort of thing you dream about.’’

Need for speed: Porirua’s Stephen Tay­lor in ac­tion dur­ing the last meet of the sea­son, on April 26 at Bay­park Speed­way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.