Tomlinson wins drivers title
By Lindsay Beer
The Downbytheseaside Drivers Challenge supported by Woodlands Stud saw a competitive contest for both the Individual and Team titles at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Thursday.
Sheree Tomlinson from North Of The Waitaki won the Individual title after reining two winners across the four heats but the South Of The Waitaki Team banked solid points throughout the day to retain their Teams Title that they won last year.
Blair Orange had taken the early lead after winning the opening heat aboard Fanny Hill before his Northern team mate, Tomlinson, won the next two heats with Lawrence and Flash Party to take a nine-point lead into the final heat. Although she failed to add to her tally her twenty points were good enough to hold off Orange who scored five in the last to close to within four points. Craig Ferguson was the best of the South Of The Waitaki team in third with 13 points, one ahead of team mate Matty Williamson.
The Teams Title was a see-saw battle. The South took an early lead with Brent Barclay, Matty Williamson and Kirstin Barclay securing second third and fourth in the opening heat to lead the North team 15-11.
Tomlinson’s win in the next heat ably supported by John Morrison in second saw North gain a 29-23 lead and with Tomlinson winning the third heat the North Of The Waitaki Team took a 43-35 lead into the finale. However, brothers Brad and Matty Williamson, took the quinella with Ferguson also adding points to allow the South Of The Waitaki Team to retain the title they won last year 55 points to 49.
Tomlinson’s win was notable in that it was only the second time a female had taken the title since the competition was instigated in 1989, the other occasion being in 1995 when Jan Gould of Central Districts did so.
Sheree Tomlinson (North) - 20
Blair Orange (North) - 16
Craig Ferguson (South) - 13
Matty Williamson (South) - 12
Brad Williamson (South) - 10
Kirstin Barclay (South) -10
Brent Barclay (South) - 10
John Morrison (North) - 7
Ricky May (North) - 4
Mark Hurrell (North) - 2
Samantha Ottley (North) - 0
Nathan Williamson (South) - 0
SOUTH OF THE WAITAKI – 55
NORTH OF THE WAITAKI – 49
Photographs: Please credit Wild Range Photography
DSC 9173 Kirstin Barclay accepts the Downbytheseaside Drivers Challenge Teams Trophy on behalf of the South Of The Waitaki Team from Southern Harness Racing General Manager Jason Broad
DSC 9182 Sheree Tomlinson with the Downbytheseaside Drivers Challenge Individual Trophy.