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Dyer takes an emotional win at the Jason Richards Grand Prix


Tony Dyer and Jason Richards were best mates growing up in Nelson.

So it was entirely fitting that Dyer won Kartsport Nelson's Jason Richards Grand Prix at the weekend as the club remembered one of the greats of New Zealand motorsport.

Richards raced at Kartsport Nelson in his younger days and it's where he learned his race craft before he went on to race V8 Supercars.

The weekend's event was run over two days at The Hits Mike Pero Kart Raceway in Appleby and consisted of four heat races on the Saturday with a one-lap shootout and 40-lap grand prix race on the Sunday.

Not surprisingly, this event meant more to Dyer than any of the other 50-odd drivers that came from all around that country to compete for the JRGP trophy.

And it was an emotional win when Dyer crossed the line after the 40 lap Grand Prix race in the Briggs Light class. This is the one trophy what he really wanted to win and was very close to his heart.

"As cool as it is to win this trophy, what I'd really want is Jas to be here to have a beer with," said Dyer after his victory.

Ben Oliver came home second behind Dyer and Carey Burr made up the podium in third.

Canterbury driver Mark Roberts took out the Briggs Heavy Trophy ahead of Nelson's Nick Stilborn and Darren French.

Nelson's Brendon Gridley had his work cut out in the Rotax Light class with a lot of out of town and local drivers wanting to take the top spot. Gridley qualified on pole and went on to win ahead of Christchurch club mates Jarred Cleghorn and James Smith.

Matt Butchart of Nelson showed his class in the Rotax Heavy field as he broke the lap record on his way to winning the Jason Richards Trophy. Marlborough driver Daniel Bugler took second spot and Bryce Borlase of Nelson was third.

Among the biggest classes was the Open class and was dominated by Canterbury drivers. Chris Cox took the top step from Bailey Paterson and Brad Duff.

Wellington's Ryan Wood said the event was the highlight of his year and for good reason. Wood won last year in the Vortex Mini Rok class but backed it up this year with another win the the Rotax Junior class. Nelson's Pip Coakley and William Exton of Marlborough had a tie for second and third on points after the weekend.

Another tie involved Nelson's Bo Hill and Zac Christensen of Canterbury. Both drivers where tied for the win in the Vortex Mini Rok class with Liam Pink from Christchurch taking third.

A solid drive came from young Louis Sharp of Canterbury as he went on to win all of his races in the Cadet Rok class. Nelson's Ollie Workman was trying hard to chase him down for second with Canterbury's Johan Roberts home in third.

The Jason Richards Grand Prix is only in its second year of running and has already doubled in size from last year. Kartsport Nelson's club president Kevin Barker was delighted with the event's growing popularity.

"The word is starting to get out now, and that's fantastic," he said.

"Jason Richards was part of this club and we wanted to play our respects in the best way possible. He showed great sportsmanship throughout his career and that's what we have based this event around and some fun while we are at it, and I feel we have achieved that"

Article via The Nelson Mail, Photo Credit - Chris Hogan