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|Lockwood heads home a hero|
|22 Feb 2012 11:48|
Hometown hero Matt Lockwood returns home to Manfeild this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2011/12 IRC Race Series, leading the points standings in the Mazda Pro 7 Plus Championship.
The 23-year old has a busy schedule in front of him this season, juggling the Pro 7 racing with the newly formed V8 ChallengeCup, run as the primary support category to the exciting new V8 SuperTourer championship which had its inauguration at Hampton Downs last weekend.
Lockwood made the best possible start to his V8 ChallengeCup campaign, taking a clean sweep of qualifying and all three races against far more experienced V8 and Porsche GT3 competitors, signalling his talent as he targets a professional career in motorsport.
That being said, his campaign isn't set in stone. Lockwood has committed to the first three rounds of the five round championship with support from Placemakers in the ex-Craig Baird NZV8, but is still seeking valuable support to complete the full championship.
If Lockwood were to win the V8 ChallengeCup, he would receive a $50,000 scholarship prize and V8 SuperTourer test incentive that has been put up to encourage young drivers to compete in the series.
Looking ahead to this weekend's IRC event at Manfeild, the two-time Mazda Pro 7 Plus Champion is seeking another clean sweep on home turf as his national profile continues to grow from strength to strength.
Just six years ago Lockwood's only competitive race experience was in Streetcar and Ministock speedway racing.
After purchasing an HQ Holden to begin the progression into circuit racing, Lockwood's talents were realised and quickly moved into the Pro 7 Plus Series as well as the BMW Mini Challenge.
Soon after, he found his preferred niche with V8 power, winning the 2008/09 NZ V8 Ute Racing title and competing in selected Australian V8 Ute rounds, as well as selected events in the NZV8 Touring Cars in 2010.
But with all his experience, Lockwood still has a clear fondness for the rotary powered 'Bat' and the camaraderie and competitive environment of the Mazda Pro 7 Racing fraternity.
His main competition this weekend looks likely to come from fellow Pro 7 Plus stalwart Dean McMillan from Napier.
Also in action at Manfeild are the mighty GT1, GT2 and NZGT classes, the nimble Formula Firsts and NZ Sports Cars; and races within races in the SS2000, NZ Six, Pre 65, Mini Challenge and Bridgestone Porsches.
The Manfeild round is the sixth of a seven round calendar for the 2011/12 IRC Series, which travels from Manfeild to Taupo, and up to Pukekohe and Hampton Downs.
The action kicks off at 09:00am each day; each class with a qualifying session and one race on Saturday, and two races on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and children under 12 are free.
Photo: Matt Lockwood Motorsport
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