Rookie ready for NZ's finest

Mason O’Dwyer (99g) will battle at the New Zealand stockcar championships here this weekend. O’Dwyer has been impressive in his debut season in stockcars and, like his father Steve, is not afraid to get involved in the heavy duty stuff. Here he gets up close and personal with Mike Herbert. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Mason O'Dwyer, 99G.

Young gun Mason O’Dwyer has made the most of his debut season in the stockcar class to emerge as one of Gisborne Speedway Club’s hard chargers.

O’Dwyer has improved with every outing in his 99G car and his two fine wins in tough competition at a meeting in early January showed just how far he has come in a short space of time.

The 19-year-old made the Gladiators team and raced well for Gisborne.

This weekend he will take part in his first New Zealand individual stockcar championship when Eastland Group Raceway hosts the two-day MTF Finance nationals.

A field of nearly 160 drivers will vie for the title, making it the biggest speedway event ever staged here.

Cars and drivers started arriving in the city yesterday.

“I am looking forward to it,” O’Dwyer told The Herald. “There will be some hard and fast racing, and you’ll need to keep your nose clean to qualify for the finals,” O’Dwyer said. “But I’m relaxed and ready to go.”

O’Dwyer feels he has come some way and knows he still has aspects of his driving to improve.

“My work-ons include my driving lines and settling into the car more. I’m still getting used to it. I’ve only had eight meetings but I’m happy with my progress.”

His father, Steve O’Dwyer, a stock car driver of renown at the Gisborne track for 15 years, has been helping him.

“Dad’s been a lot of help. He puts the hard yards in with me, works alongside me in the shed on the car and points me in the right direction.”

O’Dwyer junior will race in the Red group in Friday night’s qualifying for which the 160 cars are divided into six groups.

The top four in each group advance to Saturday’s finals and there will be two repechages on Saturday night to find six more cars for the 30-car finals series.

O’Dwyer has a tough group that includes New Zealand Grand Prix winner Keegan Levien (4W) of Wellington, 2NZ Dion Mooney of Whanganui and highly rated Taranaki superstocks driver Mitch Vickery (26S).

“They are some big names so I will have my work cut out. But I’ll just have to put my head down and do my best.”

Mason will have plenty of his clubmates out there, too — Peter Rees (127G), Ethan Rees (10G), James Clarke (29G), Jonny Morley (98G), Dylan Pickering (56G), David Glassford (22G), Jason Lovell (67G), Sam Hughes (4G), Bryce Harding (79G), Jordan Fleetwood (16G), Jamie Harding (81G), James Kirk (31G), Trevor McArthur (128G), Willie McClune (61G) and Mike Herbert (52G).

Young gun Mason O’Dwyer has made the most of his debut season in the stockcar class to emerge as one of Gisborne Speedway Club’s hard chargers.

O’Dwyer has improved with every outing in his 99G car and his two fine wins in tough competition at a meeting in early January showed just how far he has come in a short space of time.

The 19-year-old made the Gladiators team and raced well for Gisborne.

This weekend he will take part in his first New Zealand individual stockcar championship when Eastland Group Raceway hosts the two-day MTF Finance nationals.

A field of nearly 160 drivers will vie for the title, making it the biggest speedway event ever staged here.

Cars and drivers started arriving in the city yesterday.

“I am looking forward to it,” O’Dwyer told The Herald. “There will be some hard and fast racing, and you’ll need to keep your nose clean to qualify for the finals,” O’Dwyer said. “But I’m relaxed and ready to go.”

O’Dwyer feels he has come some way and knows he still has aspects of his driving to improve.

“My work-ons include my driving lines and settling into the car more. I’m still getting used to it. I’ve only had eight meetings but I’m happy with my progress.”

His father, Steve O’Dwyer, a stock car driver of renown at the Gisborne track for 15 years, has been helping him.

“Dad’s been a lot of help. He puts the hard yards in with me, works alongside me in the shed on the car and points me in the right direction.”

O’Dwyer junior will race in the Red group in Friday night’s qualifying for which the 160 cars are divided into six groups.

The top four in each group advance to Saturday’s finals and there will be two repechages on Saturday night to find six more cars for the 30-car finals series.

O’Dwyer has a tough group that includes New Zealand Grand Prix winner Keegan Levien (4W) of Wellington, 2NZ Dion Mooney of Whanganui and highly rated Taranaki superstocks driver Mitch Vickery (26S).

“They are some big names so I will have my work cut out. But I’ll just have to put my head down and do my best.”

Mason will have plenty of his clubmates out there, too — Peter Rees (127G), Ethan Rees (10G), James Clarke (29G), Jonny Morley (98G), Dylan Pickering (56G), David Glassford (22G), Jason Lovell (67G), Sam Hughes (4G), Bryce Harding (79G), Jordan Fleetwood (16G), Jamie Harding (81G), James Kirk (31G), Trevor McArthur (128G), Willie McClune (61G) and Mike Herbert (52G).

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