Hart loving NZ after dream start to AYDC
By Garrick Knight
Cam Hart is reveling in the glory of a perfect start to this year’s Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship.
The New South Wales representative, from Sydney, added to Saturday night’s first heat win at Addington with two more at Sunday’s grass track meeting in Methven.
Accordingly, he has more than double the points of his nearest rival, defending champion Sheree Tomlinson.
Tomlinson and her three fellow kiwis are in positions two through four on the points ladder, while Hart’s comrades from across the ditch are languishing at the bottom of the table.
Hart did have the benefit of a couple of well-fancied drives at Methven, but still had to get the job done in what was his first experience driving on a grass surface.
“Having a bit of luck makes a difference and I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses today.
“It was a good experience, my first time on the grass.
“It was quite a nice track – smoother than I expected.”
Refine won from the front in heat 2, but Beau Major had to be the best horse in the race after sitting parked throughout.
“He gave me a really good feel. He’s a tough horse with change-up speed.
“When I asked him to go, he found the line well.
“It was a really impressive win and I think he’ll go on to do a good job.”
Being so far in front is a luxurious position for Hart, but not one he is taking for granted.
“I won’t think too much in to it.
“I just have to go out there with a clear mind and drive the races the way I always would.
“They’re all good drivers and with a bit of luck, they could catch me, especially the Kiwis.”
The series moves to Manawatu on Tuesday and Thursday now and a glut of nominations will see a bonus race for the series on Tuesday as there were enough to cart three heats rather than the planned two.
It also gives his opponents an extra chance to bridge the gap on him.
Hart has drawn three horses in Our Wicklow, Brooke’s Image and Scelta Uno that are all capable of finishing in the money so he’s a live chance of holding his lead.
“I haven’t had a chance to look at the fields yet, but I plan on doing it tomorrow on the trip up.”
Hart works for Shane Sanderson at Menangle so is used to the hustle and bustle of hard mile racing.
Longer trips and a more sedate tempo is something uncommon to him.
“We have the 2300-metre start at Menangle but it’s mainly mile racing.
“You get a bit more of a breather over here, I’ve noticed.
“In Aussie, especially in Sydney, if you try and have a quiet quarter in front you’ll get taken on.”
Hart is looking forward to the series’ final night, in Auckland on Friday, the night before the Inter Dominion Grand Finals.
“It’s been good coming over here and driving on the grass on a big track, and I can’t wait to get up to Alexandra Park and race the ‘other’ way, too.”
Points after 3 heats: Cam Hart (NSW) 50; Sheree Tomlinson (Def. Champ) 23; John Morrison (SI) 22; Sarah O’Reilly (NZ Champ) 21; Benjamin Butcher (NI) 18; Matt Elkins (Qld) 18; Corey Peterson (WA) 15; Brodie Webster (SA) 13; Conor Crook (Tas) 7; Zac Phillips (Vic) 6.