Flashback Friday: GB’s First Ever Team Champs

2018 marks the 10th time the British Lions team has entered the New Zealand Super stocks teams’ championship at Palmerston North. Flashback Friday this week takes a look back to the first time the GB Lions entered the competition back in 2009.

The first ever Team GB, the British Lions: Mick Harris, Frankie Wainman Jnr, Tom Harris, Stuart Smith Jnr, Mark Taylor

The Teams Champs is not just about the on track action, it’s about the social side as well – and it is a chance for the fans from each region of New Zealand to cheer on their local drivers. This is the Rotorua Rebels making their entrance onto the Palmerston North Speedway

The Otego Cougars travelled up from Dunedin in the South Island to compete

The Nelson Tigers from the South Island were among the most formidable teams during the late 2000s

The Manawatu Mustangs are team consisting mainly of drivers who race regularly at Palmerston North. Palmerston is in the Manawatu region of NZ

The GB Lions’ mascot rides on the back of the Lintern engineering F1 that was built in NZ and later shipped over to the UK

The Nelson Tigers team in matching bodies!

There are plenty of banners and partisan support, which all adds to the atmosphere

The fans get involved with the parade, making it an tremendous atmosphere, more akin to a football match than a stock car meeting

The Waikato teams line up and rev their engines in front of the huge back straight grandstand where many of their fans sit (you can spot them in the striped jerseys!). Waikato is a region of New Zealand, and the drivers from this team race at Huntley Speedway.

Damage can be considerable, even for the NZ cars which are built tough!

The aim of the game in team racing is to eliminate the opposition’s cars. Driving them up the wall is the number one tactical move.

These cars are known as “Tanks”, a real weapon in teams racing

Hit, and hit hard. Rotorua Rebels Vs. Wanganui Warriors

More action from Rebels v Warriors, and a Tank doing what a Tank is built for!

The GB Lions take to the track for the first time. Each team is given a few warm up laps before the race commences.

The Palmerston North team is the team to beat, and they were the GB Lions first opponents! The Palmerston North Panthers wait patiently for the GB team to complete their hot laps. Peter Rees, well known to UK fans, is in the car closest to the camera.

Peter Bengsten, another NZ driver to have raced over here, looks on as two of the GB team pass by during warm ups.

The GB team park up ready for their first ever Teams race.

Stuart Smith Jr, along with the rest of the GB team, waits to be called to the starting line

Team GB V Manawatu Mustangs. Cars line up nose to tail, one car from each team in each row

Team GB at the end of the night. Their effort was appreciated by the fans and promoters and they have become a staple of the Teams Champs ever since!

More hard-hitting NZ style

Kev Smith won one of the support races

Words and photos: Colin Casserley

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