NZ Performance Car - - Circuit Talk -

Christchurch driv­ers Ryan Yard­ley and Jack Mil­li­gan have handed CareVets team owner Keith Hous­ton the per­fect cham­pi­onship re­sult. The team­mates dom­i­nated the lat­ter part of the cham­pi­onship and the fi­nal round of the Speed­works Sum­mer Se­ries at Hamp­ton Downs, with CareVets Schol­ar­ship driver Mil­li­gan tak­ing the rookie ti­tle with a race to spare and help­ing Yard­ley in his un­stop­pable run to the 2016–2017 Toy­ota 86 Cham­pi­onship.

A wing­man but never less than a racer, Mil­li­gan led the early laps of the fi­nal race in a CareVets one-two be­fore be­ing over­taken by an­other for­mer Cantabrian, Tom Alexan­der, who went on to win the race. A for­mer TR 86 cham­pion, Alexan­der was mak­ing a one-off ‘cameo’ re­turn to the se­ries.

Yard­ley had come to the week­end firmly fo­cused on the cham­pi­onship ti­tle and was mak­ing sure that Al­bany driver Reid Harker did not get an op­por­tu­nity to steal the crown.

“Com­ing into the week­end, I was clear: we race for the cham­pi­onship, not for in­di­vid­ual race wins. There was too much at stake. When I qual­i­fied on the front row for race one, there was a lit­tle temp­ta­tion to go out and race for a win, but the ti­tle is im­por­tant to me and to the CareVets team, who have sup­ported Jack and me all the way,” Yard­ley said.

Harker did ev­ery­thing he could to up­set Yard­ley’s charge, but a 74-point deficit com­ing into the week­end was, in the end, sim­ply too much to over­come. Al­though Harker won the morn­ing’s par­tial re­verse-grid race and fought through to third place in the fi­nal 15-lap­per in the af­ter­noon, it was not enough. Yard­ley showed his cham­pi­onship­win­ning form and rac­ing pedi­gree with a finely judged run to come in sec­ond be­hind Alexan­der to keep Harker at bay.

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