CAREVETS SECURES CHAMPIONSHIP
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.