Mini stock driver on fast track with wins
Moving up from quarter midgets to mini stocks was a good move for Matamata speedway driver Hayden Greenhalgh.
The 13-year-old recently won a feature race in his age group at Baypark Speedway in Mount Maunganui.
He also won Drivers Class Rep – Choice, meaning he was the favourite driver on the night.
Hayden raced quarter midgets for two years before buying his mini stock, which has a Datsun 1200 engine, on his 13th birthday.
The car was in Cromwell and trucking companies were quoting as much as $4000 to get it to Hamilton before Hayden convinced STL Linehaul to sponsor him.
In exchange for a prime stic- ker spot on his car, they charged Hayden just $250. His new car seemed to bring good luck with it as Hayden went from coming sixth or seventh in the quarter midgets to winning races.
On January 5 he claimed two firsts and a second at Rangeview and then a first, a seventh and a ninth at Baypark later that night.
The following day he won another three races at Rangeview and was named overall winner of the two-day meet.
Hayden was less than a year old when he first started going to speedway to watch his dad race.
At age 8 he started helping out as a crew member for local driver Tony Heuvel.
‘‘I saw the Kiwi Kids Quarter Midget Club at Rangeview one weekend and I wanted to race,’’ said Hayden.
He got his chance at a Waihi Beach track a few weeks later.
‘‘I was in a training car and I won my first ever race. After that I got my first quarter midget.’’
The best part about speedway was starting at the back of the group and moving to the front, he said. ‘‘I like passing other drivers.’’ Hayden’s mum Dale said he is an incredibly focused and competitive driver.
‘‘You could say almost anything to him on the [starting] grid and he wouldn’t even comprehend it until later.’’
The next major competition he will compete in is the Mini Stocks in Paradise competition in Rotorua on February 15 and 16.
Hayden would like to thank his major sponsors, LJ Hooker Matamata, J Swap, Kaiser Ag, Visual Effects, Ecolab and Base Auto Worx.