By Duane Ranger
The New Zealand Amateur Driving Championships will receive an extra $2,000 in stakes money added to the two heats to be held at the Cambridge Raceway on May 17.
Jeff Darby, president of the North Island branch of the NZ Amateur Drivers Association, said the stakes increase will make up the shortfall from other races as amateur stakes are less than other carded races on the programme.
“I just want to thank Waikato-Bay of Plenty, all the owners and trainers, and our sponsors for making this happen. It doesn’t matter if you are a trainer of an amateur horse or not – the training, travel and vet costs etcetera are still the same,” Darby said.
The four North Island sponsors for the two Cambridge races are the Flatbush, Botany Downs, Highland Park and Somerville TABs.
“We can’t thank the four TAB agencies enough. They have put their support behind the amateurs and we certainly hope they all get a lot of mileage from their sponsorship,” Darby said.
Following the two heats at ‘The Raceway’ the Championship will reach its climax with the final two heats at Rangiora on May 27.
The North Island team comprises of the Wigg twins - Cheree and Sheryl, Steve Phillips, Rodney Frampton, Logan Darby, and Craig Sharpe.
“The drivers have been selected from our Summer Series and tote and workout races throughout the season. We wish all of them every success, especially Cheree who will represent us at the World Driving Championships.
“I also want to thank Dave Branch (Waikato-BOP Harness) for making this all happen and Kevin Smith (HRNZ) for putting the conditions in place. It promises to be an exciting night’s racing,” Darby said.
“There is a lot of initiative being shown at Cambridge and you have to put that down to Dave and his enthusiastic team. Times change and Cambridge is certainly moving with the times,” he added.
Sheryl Wigg is New Zealand's most successful amateur this season with seven wins, followed by Alan Edge (5), Cheree Wigg (4). Rodney Frampton, Colleen Negus, Warren Rich, Barry White, and Blair Wilmott who have all recorded two wins apiece.