Five Questions With speedway champion Geoff Friend.
Q What does your role involve?
I race a Honda Prelude in the production saloon class at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway .. because the rest of the guys and gals in the class are good beggars.
I started racing in this class because it was an entry-level and more cost-effective to be involved in.
Another reason was that I do my own repair work, which might not necessarily be an option in another grade.
I do not have any intention to move to another class . . . unless someone is keen to sponsor me.
For those not in the know, Production saloons racing is what can happen to Subarus, Mazdas, Hondas and Nissans and other cars manufactured within the last 20 years that have reached the end of the road.
Instead of the wreckers, they go speedway racing, stripped out and roll-caged to very strict Speedway NZ specifications to ensure driver safety.
Productions represent a very affordable way to become a speedway driver in a non-contact class.
Q What is your earliest memory of speedway?
To be honest, my earliest memory only goes back about five years when I travelled up from Tuatapere to Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway.
I was part of a team of four, racing a banged-up car in the annual Bathurst fun day held on the weekend of Australia’s great race.
After that first taste, a couple of weeks later I’d bought and started racing a production saloon in Cromwell, and still come up from Tuatapere to compete.
I can’t say enough about the support from the rest of the class and club.
Also, the weather is pretty reliable in Central and there is less chance of being rained off.
Q In your opinion, has speedway changed over the years?
The running of the events on the night has become more streamlined and the competition is getting tougher.
Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway is by far the best out of all the tracks I have now raced on.
It is consistently good.
The people, committee and volunteers are amazing and everyone seems to be happy.
Definitely, the club should fight to hold speedway events beyond 2025.
People from all over Central, Southland and other parts of the country flock to Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway, especially at Christmas-New Year and Easter.
Q Who do you most admire within speedway and why?
His name is Whetu Taewa.
The effort he puts in everywhere to ensure as many people as possible are racing and the ongoing support he provides to the club and drivers, is just phenomenal.
Q Where do you see speedway going in the future?
If the status quo remains, speedway at Cromwell has a bright future.
If anything, it is gaining in popularity as a way for families to have an evening out together where 52 young fry have fun catching up with friends and playing, while older ones enjoy the on-track spectacle.
Many families also get into racing and crewing.
Youth ministocks for 12- to 16-year-olds continues to grow with lots more younger people racing production saloons and also open wheel six shooters, which are also known as wingless sprintcars.