The Modified class at Huntly International Speedway has been building in numbers in recent years with a total of 9 registered drivers last season. The past season also saw Brad Lane, pilot of the 119H machine bring home the 1nz title for his team and the club, the last 1nz modified driver for Huntly was 13H Tony Galbraith in 2005. Ironically that was the last time Huntly hosted the New Zealand Modified Championship! That is about to change as Huntly will be hosting the 2021/2022 New Zealand Modified Champs. For those who have not had the delight of experiencing the thunder of the modified class, here is a quick low down… With big wheels, open panels, aerodynamic wing, and the heart of a V8 engine these are for sure, one of a kind show-stopping vehicles. Many think Sprintcars and Mods are alike, this is far from the truth, Sprintcars have an aluminum fuel-injected 410ci engine while mods are required to run a cast-iron engine that is carbureted, one of the most obvious differences is that sprint cars do not run starter motors so need to be push-started, this is to reduce weight, so there is no waiting around for mods to be push started. Here at Huntly speedway, the current lap record holder for the modified class is Mike Harrison with a 13.13 which was performed in his first season of racing a mod in 2018, he is due to return to the modified ranks at Huntly next season after focusing on his TQ career last season, definitely one to keep an eye on.
It's not often we see a 1NZ in our local ranks but this year we celebrate an awesome result for Brad Lane & Family. Read their 1NZ season review below and you will get a true appreciation for the Highs and Lows of Motorsport.
We felt this season would be one to remember and it sure was…
Starting the 2019/2020 season with a one of a kind, brand spanking new Raceworks Chassis – Rocket Machine, we knew this would bring its challenges and eventually rewards.
Firstly massive thanks to our engine builder for sorting our engine gremlins that left us so defeated for the better part of last season.
There is only one way for Brad to break in a new car, that’s literally breaking it, with his first of many rollovers for the season, being in heat 2. In typical Rocket Racing style, we were able to make it back out for the final race of the night after borrowing spares from
4H Modified Paul Hodson and Kalin Motorsport Jason Kalin our Raceworks family, little did we know this would be a common occurrence for us this season and would mean the difference between winning and putting the car on the trailer at the meetings that matter the most. The second meeting of the season was our first meeting at our home track Huntly International Speedway for the show-stopping Fireworks Extravaganza. Unfortunately, we were still struggling to get the setups right with the new machine but hoping this would come in time/practice.
Back down to Wellington the crew went for the second round of the Garage16 Media Modified Super Series, again struggling with the setup, so we used this opportunity in preparation for the NZ Champs. In true fashion, the team HAD to stop at Harrisville Speedway Ohakea New Zealand on their way home to see what was going on, well that was the intention initially but that soon changed when we had a look at the track, man that place is awesome. So we pulled the car out borrowed some methanol from our mate Stephen Taylor (who was a big help on Saturday night too) and warmed the new girl up to try some things on the car before the Waikato champs the following weekend.
Waikato Champs we again struggled with the setup, finishing in 4th place.
North Island Champs this year were at Stratford Speedway New Zealand and sponsored by the Garage 16 Media team, we were excited to try the new machine at another track and play around with the setups. From race one Jacko was unstoppable, using the Highline to his advantage, naturally Brad followed. But again… the car was broken in… in heat 2, going into turn 1 the right front stub axle snapped off throwing Brad and Wilma violently into the wall and catch fence, thankfully Brad walked away unharmed.
The team spirit was at an all-time low after last seasons rather emotional rollercoaster. We had high hopes with the new Raceworks machine, but things were not going the way we anticipated and the racecar fund was stretched to its limits early in the season.
The next big meeting on the calendar was the final round of the Garage16 Media Modified Super Series, so the team headed back down to Wellington for the 3rd time this season.
As this season seemed to be repeating previous seasons history, it wouldn’t be right if we were not to have our tow wagon break down on us. Lucky for us Sam was not heading down with the crew this time round so came to the rescue with picking up the trusty Chevy truck and traveled to Tokoroa where the team was stranded and swapped over tow vehicles before she headed out to Te Aroha to go Dirt Kart Racing.
We finally managed to get a better handle on the new rocket ship and after a great night’s racing, we were top on points and Brad held on to take out the number 1 spot for the final round, was great to finally get some results we had been working so hard for this season. Congrats to 4C Michael for taking out the first-ever Super Series, which was well deserved.
While Brad and the team were in Wellington Sam was in Te Aroha having a go at dirt kart circuit racing for the first time. Started off the rear of the field all day being a “newbie” she was on the pace but still has a lot to learn, will defiantly be back for another skid.
The next major meeting was the big one, the NZ Modified Champs, again the team heading down to Wellington (4th time this season). After taking out the final round of the Super Series the team had some confidence back and was ready to race against the best in NZ.
Qualifying night we finished 3rd on points for our group, with some fast and fierce competition we knew like any other year anything could happen. Our girds for the final night were 11th, 1st and 19th, something about those numbers, and the date, January 19th, had good vibes.
While watching the first race where Brad dropped back to 14th place and weaved his way up the field to finish 3rd, the Rocket Racing team had this overwhelming feeling, this was our year!
Brad started grid 1 and finished 1st in the second heat but had to work hard for it, after dropping back to 3rd and losing all the oil out of his right front shock early in the race.
As mentioned earlier, little did we know we would again be relying on our fellow competitors to come to our aid with spare parts, as we had such a rough season already using practically all our spares prior to the NZ Champs.
Final race, everyone was on the edge of their seats, our team included. Halfway into the race the right rear started slowly going down after running over something, but that would not stop Brad with the determination to bring us home the 1NZ we had been chasing for over 25 years.
He did it, we did it… we can not even begin to express the feelings we all felt at that moment. Our team and our family’s lives are dedicated to this sport and to be on top for once was the most unreal experience. What was even more overwhelming was the reaction and support from our other respected competitors, sponsors, extended racing family, and fans. It is without a doubt that Brad drove his way to victory that night, there is only so much we can do as family/crew but at the end of the day he is the peddler and our hats go off to him for his ability behind the wheel that night.
Massive congrats again to our good friend Blair McPhee from
for securing his first 2NZ and to Luke Brown for
3NZ.Our first meeting debuting the newly crowned 1NZ machine was at
, battling it out for the BOP Modified Champs. Brad was literally like a Rocketship pilot, resulting in finishing 1st equal with
. This was going to be one hell of a runoff, but little did we know we had more luck on our side than we knew at the NZ Champs the weekend before. As Brad pulled around for the runoff with Foxy something didn’t feel right, he pulled up to the gate and the diff let go, leaking oil all over the track and causing such a mess. We were in utter disbelief, the diff had cracked exactly a week after the NZ Champs, for once we did have some luck on our side, which is what it seems to boil down to at the NZ Champs. However, this meant we were unable to commence the runoff with Foxy which we were all looking forward to watching, but I am sure the opportunity will arise again soon.
Just to add to the season full of broken parts, the trailer lost a bearing on the way home, not surprised one bit, Sam to the rescue again.
Next on our season schedule was the NZ GP, this was a bit closer to home at
in Auckland. Now… as some may remember, Brad has never won the GP, he seems to be consistent, consistently finishing 3rd for 3 years in a row, this year he finished 4th which was Okay with us.
The following weekend our team was very excited to defend the Dirt Cup, which Brad won for the first time last season, this being one of the highlights of Brads Modified career. We had a great run with the weather gods for the better part of the season but unfortunately, they won that weekend so we still hold the Dirt Cup in anticipation of defending it next season.
Things were getting busy towards the pointy end of the season, now it was time to venture up the island to
for the annual CTRA NZ Champs and 30 lapper. With 7 mods fronting, we were ready for some fast racing, Brad snatched both the CTRA NZ title and won the 30 lapper.
We were then back at Waikaraka Park the following weekend for the Auckland Modified Champs, where Brad and Foxy would get there one on one battle. Brad was 2nd on points heading into the pole shuffle, he held his position against Luke in the 3NZ machine, which put Brad against Foxy for the final lane choice. Brad stuck with Foxy into turn 1 and came out in front, finishing 1st. Brad chose to start grid 2 for the feature, but could not keep up, chased Foxy for 8 laps, he was unstoppable. Unfortunately, Foxy got tangled up with a lapped car which left him with too much damaged to carry on. After the restart, Brad ran away to take the flag, not the way we wanted to win but unfortunately, these things happen, we have been in that position too many times having bad luck. Brad celebrated in typical style with some memorable donuts, finishing facing the wall.
Little did we know the next race meeting would sadly be our last for the season.
Next up was the Raceworks 30 lapper Silver Cup! Straight off the bat, Blair in the 2NZ and Newton in the 21S machine were stand out drivers during the heats, making up the front row for the winner takes all final 30 lap race. After a tough battle Luke 3NZ managed to take the lead and raced away with the win.
Then everything changed… the Christchurch Invasion, Harrisville, Speedfest, and the rest of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping our country.
Thanks to all our supporters and fans, we can’t wait to see everyone in their 1nz Brad Lane merch at the track in October for the start of the 2020/2021 season.
Article added: Thursday 30 July 2020