Kiwi duo Andrew Aldridge and Grant Tregoning have been named as track reserves for the New Zealand FIM Speedway Grand Prix (NZSGP) at Auckland’s Western Springs on April 5.
The Christchurch-based pair earned their spots at the opening round of the world championship FIM Speedway Grand Prix series (SGP) after reaching the last four in the New Zealand Championship Final at Invercargill’s Oreti Park on February 8.
Tregoning, who dons the No.18 race jacket, led NZSGP wild card Jason Bunyan until the last bend of the final, before the British-born racer stormed around the outside to equal Larry Ross’ record of nine New Zealand titles.
Racing domestically for the Southland Outlaws on the South Island, Tregoning is a 2011 New Zealand champion and boasts European experience having competed in Britain for Buxton and Newport.
The 26-year-old sign writer was one of the two reserve riders at the 2012 NZSGP in Auckland and he is relishing taking up the position for a second time.
Tregoning, who has been working hard on his fitness over the past few months with gruelling mountain biking sessions, said: “It was mind-blowing to be around the world's best riders in 2012 and I can't wait for the experience again. It was definitely a goal of mine to make a reserve rider spot and I'm pleased to have been picked.”
He is joined by No.17 Aldridge, who finished fourth behind Sean Mason at Oreti Park. The triple NZ Under-21 champion, who rides for the Canterbury Comets, was scheduled to race in the 2012 New Zealand SGP, but was ruled out after breaking his neck in an horrific crash at Auckland’s Rosebank Circuit a month before the Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old apprentice engineer came within a millimetre of paralysis in the spill, but was back on track within 10 months and will be determined to make up for his missed opportunity this year.
He said: “It's pretty amazing to be called up as a reserve rider, especially after the accident of two years ago.
“Last year I felt a little cautious in racing, which may have been because of the crash, but this year I feel as if I'm riding and racing really well. Should the opportunity arise to compete at the Grand Prix, I believe I will be ready.”
Like Tregoning, he also has European experience, having raced for Rye House and Bournemouth in the British National League.
The NZSGP gets underway at 6pm local time on April 5 and tickets available online via http://www.ticketmaster.co.nz/New-Zealand-FIM-Speedway-Grand-Prix-tickets/artist/1658968?camefrom=CFC_NZ_IMG_WebEventPage.