By Jack Biddle.
Piloting his all-new V8 powered super saloon speedway car, local Whitianga driver, Bodie Abrahamson, claimed the South Pacific Super Saloon Championship held at the Baypark Speedway complex in Mount Manganui recently.
That achievement was followed up last Saturday night with a third place in the Taranaki Championship held at the Stratford Speedway track.
Now into his sixteenth season of racing speedway cars of some description, Bodie has upped his game big time this year, piloting a newly built machine based around the successful American dirt track late model race car design.
Professionally built in Christchurch, Bodie’s car runs a kiwi designed Stealth chassis, using the latest American design concepts and technology but specifically altered to suit the different race tracks around New Zealand. The biggest change from a more traditional super saloon car set-up is the ability to point or steer the rear wheels on the race car which allow for much more traction and grip, especially when entering or exiting corners. “The set-up is adjustable and when we get it right, the car is an absolute rocket ship to drive but when we get it wrong, it can become an absolute nightmare. The margins between both scenarios are very fine so our biggest learning curve currently is making the right adjustments to suit the constant changes in track conditions over the course of a meeting. That’s why at this level of racing it takes a great team to help prepare the car, make those necessary adjustments on the run come race day and generally sort out all the chaos to get the car back on the track for the next race which is all part of speedway racing,” says Bodie.
Former top speedway driver and Whitianga local, Craig Richards, heads up the support crew which also includes former open wheel driver Darren Hartley and Craig’s son Jordan. “Having a top crew who know their specific roles within the team has been vital to our success so far this year. Our standards of preparation and presentation are very high and whatever results are achieved, it’s very much a team effort,” adds Bodie.
Travelling around New Zealand to chase national honours and various championships also takes a lot or organising, with the Whitianga based team one of the most travelled on the busy nationwide speedway circuit. The closest Speedway New Zealand sanctioned track is currently Mount Manganui, but this season the sought-after championship venues are as far afield as Cromwell in the South Island where the coveted New Zealand title will be run in early January next year. Cromwell just happens to be one of Bodie’s favourite tracks so he is hoping to improve on his previous best finish of 4th in the super saloon class.
The Bodie Abrahamson Motorsport team (BAM) has also set up a YouTube channel for those who would like to follow their progress. Like the race car and team overall, this is a very professional look into the big picture of speedway racing at the elite level and provides a heads-up of what goes into the preparation of the race car. It also includes highlights of each race meeting. The channel is updated weekly. Go to YouTube and simply search for Bodie Abrahamson Motorsport.
Caption: Bodie Abrahamson on his way to winning the South Pacific Super Saloon title