South Waikato racers are bolting out of the blocks and are cementing the district as a hot bed for driving talent.
The drivers, some of whom are secondary school students, are garnering winning reputations and are continuing family legacies. Tokoroa youngster Cody Taylor is one of the drivers in a hurry. The 15-year-old took up ministocks three years ago and hasn’t looked back. While he has been competing since 2010, the Tokoroa student has already accumulated stunning results. ‘‘I started in 2010, that was the first year that I raced. (That year) I was named Sportsman of the Year for Ministocks Rotorua. In 2011 I won quite a few of the races that I entered,’’ he said. Cody is also aware of how heated competition can get. ‘‘In 2012 I competed in the Ministocks in Paradise which was held at the Rotorua Speedway,’’ he said. ‘‘I was a target during the race. I was getting smashed from everyone in the race. (I came) close to last.’’ The Forest View High School student is continuing a family legacy. ‘‘It has been in my family for generations. Probably since the 1980s or the 1970s. Since right back when the club first started,’’ the speedster said last week. ‘‘I am pretty up there. When we are racing in competition, I am always up there.’’ He admitted that next year is his last year competing at his current level. ‘‘I will then move up into Stockcars and I will be competing with everyone up to how old they can get. ‘‘I want to be in the Rotorua Rebel Super Stocks. They are the cars that can really do some damage,’’ he added. Tokoroa’s James and Keaton Dahm are also tearing up the track. James has raced at Sprintcars for the last eight seasons with much success including two Bay of Plenty championships, a podium placing in the New Zealand Sprintcar Grandprix and twice accumulating the most points over a full season’s racing leading him to being named as the Baypark Club Champion. This season James has one feature race win and a handful of heat race wins. He also led the New Zealand Sprintcar Grandprix feature race before an engine issue ended his chances. Meanwhile, his brother Keaton is in his second season of sprintcar racing and is gaining more confidence and speed with every meeting. The end of Keaton’s rookie season last year saw him score a handful of podium finishes at various tracks across the North Island and secure the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season awards night. He has built a solid foundation of consistency and this approach has paid off this year with a sixth placing at the New Zealand Sprintcar Grandprix, a 10th place finish at the New Zealand Sprintcar Championship and most recently a seventh place finish at the Bay of Plenty Championship.