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Crowther takes Mazda Racing Series North Island title

Warren Crowther of Auckland has taken the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series North Island titles after an action-packed final round at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in North Waikato this weekend.

Crowther brought a thirteen-point lead over his chief rival, Chris White of Prebbleton, into the weekend and extended his lead throughout as White struggled with a borrowed car fitted with a second-hand engine as his own car is prepared for sale prior to his move to the Toyota 86 Championship next season.

Crowther finished the weekend with 553 points to White’s 498 while Stiaan Kriel of Auckland took third in the series with 446 points, just three ahead of Stu Lawton of Paraparaumu who had moved into third after the first race of the weekend.

Crowther was “stoked” with his success, saying he never thought he would be winning series at such a high level when he started racing. “The season has been fantastic with so much young talent coming through and I think consistency helped me win.” He now plans to race karts alongside his son.

Another notable achievement was that of rookie Arthur Broughan of Tuamarina who took his first race win this weekend and also the round win just four short months after making his car racing debut.

Tom Alexander of Christchurch started the weekend with pole position in qualifying but it was Broughan, a former karting star, who took his debut win in Saturday’s race. Crowther followed him home with Kriel third after slipping past Alexander on lap 2 with White coming through into fourth place ahead of Alexander late in the race.

Crowther carried a 19-point lead into the final day of the series and extended that further in the second race of the round on Sunday morning, the reverse top ten grid race.

It was an intense race with an early safety car after David Atkins and Phil Clemas came together. At that point Aucklander Karl Gaines had the lead from Crowther, Alexander, White, Kriel, Lawton, Nigel Edger of Hamilton and Broughan. At the restart Crowther was quickly into the lead but a major incident saw several cars involved, including Gaines, Mark Oudney, Edger and Steven Spear of Auckland who were all out for the remainder of the meeting. White was also in the wars at the restart and was forced into the pits.

The safety car was again deployed and the race never restarted. At the chequered flag it was Crowther from Alexander, Broughan, Kriel, Lawton and Aucklanders Callum Pratt, Ant Tork, Alex Canty, Elton Wichman and Scott Davies. Crowther was then adjudged to have crossed the pitlane entry at the restart, the penalty relegating him to fifth and handing Alexander the win from Broughan, who as he had the day before, set the fastest lap of the race.

Sixteen cars remained from the original twenty-two for the finale. Alexander had pole but Kriel took the lead on the opening lap before Alexander passed him on lap five. In doing so he dislodged the back bumper on Kriel’s car causing a safety car.

At the restart Alexander led until the final lap when a fuel pump problem slowed him with Kriel getting through to take the win. Broughan was second again after a very impressive weekend which saw him take the round win with Crowther, the new title winner, third. Lawton was fourth from Pratt, Wichman, White, Tork, Canty and Clemas.

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