Brad Kroef leads the championship as the V8 Utes head for Manfield
It’s been more than three years since the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes last raced at Manfield Circuit Chris Amon, so this weekend they’ll be keen to make up for lost time. After two rounds, several drivers are serious contenders to win the championship. While Brad Kroef holds a commanding lead with 166 points, Phill Ross is close behind in second while Greg Kroef in third will be looking to challenge his son for race wins.
After winning Round Two at Pukekohe, Jake Stoneman will be keen to keep Peter Ward’s championship-winning Holden ute up the front. With two race wins and a second placing last month, Jake proved he hasn’t lost his touch after an extended absence from the driver’s seat, as more recently he has been focused on race preparation for several utes in the series.
Meanwhile a few other drivers have really stepped up. Daniel Ludlam has just bought the Holden ute that helped propel Shane Dias to runner-up in last year’s championship. Shane Ussher in the United Movers Ford FG is showing improved form after placing third overall in Round Two while Bruce McRae is making significant progress storming up the midfield.
Confirmation of how potent the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes really are came late on Sunday at Pukekohe in the ‘Hamilton Asphalts Saloons Flying Farewell’, as Brad Kroef (second) and Paul Fougere (third) outclassed entrants from diverse categories including the Mazda Racing Series, Honda Cup and Super V8s. As the champagne sprayed on the podium post-race, Brad Kroef even managed a ‘shoey’. Exceptional performances from the Napa Auto Parts Holden and the Heron Construction Ford.
Each round of the championship, Yokohama importer ‘Radial Imports NZ’ awards one driver a set of Yokohamas, and for Round Three, Jake Stoneman is the lucky winner. He’ll certainly need fresh tyres following his celebratory burnout after winning Round Two.
During the three-day Manfield event, the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes will have plenty of track time over the April 14th – 16th weekend. There’ll be two practice sessions on the Friday, qualifying is 8 am Saturday morning with Race One at 12.27 pm in the afternoon. On Sunday, the reverse grid Race Two is 8.27 am with Race Three (screening live on CRC Motorsport) at 1.15 pm. For those who can’t make the trip, Saturday’s and Sunday’s races will screen live on Sky Sport New Zealand and Fox Sports across Australia.