Provincial Drivers Champ _ Sunday

J Scott Latest News



Another great line up, featuring many of New Zealand’s best harness racing reinsmen, has been assembled for the American Ideal Provincial Drivers Championship at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill this Sunday (November 20).


Each region is represented where possible by their top two drivers from the previous year’s premiership, a format that ensures a star studded line up each year.


Southland is the current champion, the duo of Nathan Williamson and Brent Barclay taking the title for the home team last year. This season Williamson returns with Jonny Cox to represent Southland as they look to defend the title.


Up against them are some strong teams. Canterbury will again be a tough combination to beat with the pairing of Dexter Dunn and Mark Jones, the team which won the title for the Cantabs in 2008. Dunn, the individual champion at this Championship for the past two years, became the first driver in New Zealand to record 200 wins in a season in 2009 at the age of 19, winning the New Zealand Drivers Premiership in the process.


That was his second Drivers’ Premiership and he has now won the Premiership four years in a row, lifting the bar yet again with 220 winners in New Zealand last season. Since that time he has raced in the USA, finishing fourth in the World Drivers Championship and driving 10 winners in the States. He also leads the current year’s Premiership in New Zealand. His team mate Mark Jones, the World Driving Champion in 2003, ensures the Canterbury team is a very formidable combination.


Waikato, as usual, will also field an all star combination. David Butcher was the first driver to surpass two million dollars of stakes in a season while Todd Mitchell has driven four New Zealand Cup winners among other successes.


Ricky May, the winner of five New Zealand Cups, and driver of over 2000 winners spearheads the Mid Canterbury challenge and is ably supported by Gerard O’Reilly. Zac Butcher and Brent Mangos will try and earn Auckland their first title since 2002 while Matthew Williamson and Andrew Faulks will carry the hopes of Otago as they try to take the title for the first time. Stephen Doody and Scott Dickson are familiar campaigners for the Central Districts team which has twice before taken the team honours.


Six of the top ten drivers from last year’s Premiership will be on show at Ascot Park Raceway on Sunday.



Zac Butcher, Brent Mangos


David Butcher, Todd Mitchell

Central Districts:

Stephen Doody, Scott Dickson


Dexter Dunn, Mark Jones

Mid Canterbury:

Ricky May, Gerard O’Reilly


Matthew Williamson, Andrew Faulks


Nathan Williamson, Jonny Cox


The drivers go into a ballot for their drives with points allocated over the five heats to find both the team and individual winners. First place in each of the heats is worth 10 points, second – 7 points, third – 5 points, fourth 3 points and fifth – 1 point.


The country’s leading Amateur Drivers will also race in their own series on Sunday with teams from Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury and Southland contesting a series of races.



Danny Blakemore, Glennis Ryan


Johnny Butcher, Stewart Ashworth


Gavin Cook, Mike Maynard


Michelle Caig, Derek Moore


There will also be Kidz Kartz races on the programme while the day will feature free children’s entertainment with a Merry Go Round and Bouncy Castles, free lollies plus a free McDonald’s Cheeseburger voucher for every child on course.


Racing starts at 12.36pm on Sunday and admission to the course on the day is free.


Prizegiving and an aftermatch function will take place at the Ascot Park Hotel Tavern at the conclusion of racing.



(Year) – Winning Individual / Winning Team

1990 – K Larsen / Southland Under 20

1991 – A Butt / Canterbury

1992 – A Butt / Waikato

1993 – K Barron / Southland

1994 – T Walsh / Mid Canterbury

1995 – J Gould / Central Districts

1996 – G Cowie / Mid Canterbury

1997 – A Malcolmson / Mid Canterbury

1998 – A Hunter / Southland

1999 – C De Fillipi / Canterbury

2000 – C De Fillipi / Canterbury

2001 – C Barron / Southland

2001 – S Doody / Southland

2002 – M McKendry / Auckland

2003 – P Ferguson / Waikato

2004 – C Barron / Southland

2005 – R May / Central Districts

2006 – B Barclay / Southland

2007 – M Jones / Waikato

2008 – R May / Canterbury

2009 – D Dunn / Canterbury

2010 – D Dunn / Southland


Courtesy of Lindsay Beer, Promotions Officer Southern Harness Racing Inc. (03 217 4288 021 351 499