Two drivers head into this weekend with a realistic chance of sealing the 2015 UDC V8 Utes title, one of the most closely fought in the eight year history of the category.
Sam ‘Bazza’ Barry, the fastest young gun and up and coming racer in the V8 Ute field, will try to hold off Brett ‘The Scud’ Rudd, who represents the other side of the V8 ute field, the fast and enthusiastic gentleman racers.
During an epic season that stretches back to the first two South Island rounds at the start of the year, Barry has led all the way, but it is only in the past couple of rounds that Rudd has emerged from a closely fought out top ten to be the leading challenger to the Bel Group Ford Falcon.
Barry did not benefit from the category’s late call up to the recent Supercar event and whilst he was fast, Barry was also right on the edge in his efforts to take points in a much bigger and more competitive field than the category had at the start of the season.
With the likes of Andy Booth, Paul Manuell, Mark Gibson and Aussie champ Kris Walton back in the field, a huge haul of points for either of the championship contenders was unlikely and the race for points was about consistency. This was an area in which Rudd excelled and by the end of the weekend he had reduced Barry’s series lead by 11 points to just 22, with one round to go and everything to play for.
Rudd has driven the immaculate Pallet Supplies Holden with great maturity this season, winning races and scoring consistently and it has been that consistency which has been the key to the quiet racer being in the frame at the Hampton Downs finale. Barry has the speed and the pace to win races and always goes well at Hampton Downs, but the youngster cannot afford a non-finish during the weekend if Rudd scores in all three encounters.
Outside of the epic ‘down to the wire’ championship scrap, there is plenty to watch within the UDC V8 Ute field as it continues its rejuvenation. At Pukekohe there were 16 cars on the grid and the season finale will see at least 15 take to the track. Talk is of up to 18 cars or more in the three round sprint series that will take place from January to bring the series back into line with the summer season racing calendars.