NZ Amateur Driver Championship

By Gavin Cook

This years running of the NZ Champs produced a unique outcome. For the first time in the fifteen year history of the event we had a dead heat at the end of the three heat NZ Champs series. The count back rule was used but our dual winners still could not be split so now both Neil Munro and Colleen Negus can both proudly wear the mantle of New Zealand Champion for the next twelve months.

In Colleen’s case it is back to back titles for her matching the feat that has previously been achieved by both Jeff Darby and Gavin Cook. Neil reached the top spot at his first appearance in the champs. Coming home in the runner up position was Craig Sharpe who was only one point behind the winners such was the extreme closeness of the competition.

Craig got off to an impressive start in the series with an all the way win at Cambridge on the very under rated A Chance To Dream who got in under the punters guard to secure the win at lucrative odds. It was down to Rangiora for the final two heats and the first of these saw Aveross Ferrari driven by Neil Munro give the field a pacing lesson. At the rear early he secured a three wide drag forward for the last 1000m launching forward from the 400m to run away for an 11 length win.

Into the final heat and Craig Sharpe and Neil Munro were locked together on twenty points but with plenty of challenges in close attention. One of these was Colleen Negus who had drawn the drive behind the Dallas Paterson trained Den’s Legacy. She drove her charge forward off the gate to secure the early lead but she soon handed up when a bold challenge was made by Neil Munro behind Gabby’s Star after 800m. Den’s Legacy and Colleen soon put the issue beyond doubt upon straightening for the run home. Attention then shifted to where Neil Munro would finish and despite fighting gallantly to the line Gabby’s Star could not forestall the final lunge from Queen Of Glory finishing in fourth position by the narrow margin of a head. On such slim margins are championships decided.

So dual champions for 2018 with shared glory and bragging rights although judging by the smiles and satisfied look on the faces of our two champions it certainly did not diminish the experience.

Final Points Tally

Colleen Negus


Neil Munro


Craig Sharpe


Sheryl Wigg


Blair Wilmott


Rodney Frampton


Steve Phillips


Mike Maynard


Barry White


Alan Edge


Cheree Wigg


Logan Darby



Related Category News

29 October 2020

Workouts Alive and Well at Mot

For many years a mainstay of harness racing activity around Banks Peninsula, the Saturday morning Motukarara workouts hit some speedbumps in 2019.

29 October 2020

A - Z New Zealand Cup - O

From now to November 10 we will feature some of the great races, horses and personalities  with a new letter for each day. O = O’Sullivan