Tomlinson crowned junior champion

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk

Kerryn Tomlinson may have only had four drives in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington Raceway over the weekend, but she made them count, taking out the series on Sunday.

The Oamaru-based reinswoman was sitting third-equal with sister Sheree heading into the final heat and she was able to guide Bright Glow up the passing lane to finish runner-up and secure the Championship Crown.

Tomlinson admitted it was a bit of surprise to find out that she had won the series after not looking at the points table heading into the final race.

“I didn’t look at the points table before I went into the final heat because I just wanted to drive my best race and not worry about it too much,” she said.

“Luckily I had some good horse power in Bright Glow in the final heat. We were able to get a good run through up the fence to come second by a nose.”

Tomlinson kicked off the series with a win in Heat 2 with Aladdin Sane and she said that gave her a boost going into the remainder of the competition.

“Coaster (Howe, trainer) had Aladdin Sane right so it went really well,” Tomlinson said.

“That first win gave me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the series because it put me up there with the points.”

Tomlinson had to sit on the sidelines in two of the heats and admitted to being slightly jealous of her contemporaries out on the track, but said it was great how the competition was so tightly contested.

“I had two scratchings, so I only had four drives, but I was still able to get up for the win,” she said.

“A different driver won each heat, so it wasn’t overly dominated by anyone.”

It was Tomlinson’s first time competing in the series this year and she said she owes a lot to employer Brad Williamson.

“This is my second season and my first time in the junior champs,” she said.

“The best thing has been going down south to Oamaru where the Williamson’s have helped me out so much.

“I am getting a lot more opportunities after going south.”

As the Championship victor, Tomlinson secured her ticket, courtesy of trainer Tim Butt, to fly to Australia to watch the Miracle Mile, if travel restrictions allow.

“I am really excited to be going over there, so a big thanks to Tim Butt and the team over there for putting up that prize,” Tomlinson said.

“I’m also grateful to everyone else who has sponsored the competition and put up prizes.”

Tomlinson’s uncle Clint Ford also donated a service fee for new season sire Marcoola, and Tomlinson said she is now on the hunt for a mare to send to the family favourite.

“I’m just going to have to find a mare that is not related to him. I have got to try and see if Phil has any of his good ones that he is not using,” she quipped.

Cambridge drivers Luke Whittaker and Alicia Harrison finished second and third respectively in the series, while the North Island took out the team competition. –

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