By Pete McNae

Don’t give up on the Nelson Tigers – there’s activity behind the scenes that should see the Nelson superstock team continue a proud tradition of performing at the ENZED Superstock Teams Championships in Palmerston North next month.

Earlier this week, Tigers fans saw the news that Nelson was relinquishing motel bookings in Palmerston North for the iconic two-day meeting on February 3-4, confirming what had been feared for some time, that with depleted numbers and the loss of experienced teams racers in the offseason, 2018 might be a bridge too far.

But there are moves underway to ensure that the Tigers are in the grand parade in front of 18,000 people in a fortnight’s time. Although the time frame is tight and final confirmation can’t come until after this weekend’s World 240s meeting in Rotorua, it is now thought likely Nelson will take its place in the teams champs field.

Earlier this season, the Tigers regained the Challenge Cup from the Palmerston North Panthers with three local drivers; Trevor Lineham, Alex Bright and Ants McKenzie, buddying up with one-off recruits Peter and Ethan Rees for the win. The Rees duo are committed to the Gisborne Giants for Palmerston North and will not race with Nelson next month.

Tigers officials are reluctant to announce the five cars and six drivers at this point, especially with the possibility that a rugged meeting in Rotorua could see some changes, but have gone as far as contacting a signwriter to prepare five team bodies and getting the Palmerston North entry form – significant steps considering where the team was just two days ago.

One thing that is certain is that there will be an urgent push for sponsor support as soon as the plan is confirmed on this site next week. The team has loyal and long term backing from Rodz, Ridez and Restorationz, Foot Print Signs, Thomason Contracting and the Nelson Speedway Association but will need to top up the kitty to help meet the costs of teams racing. There is some talk around a $1000 club to help smaller companies and even individuals get involved, with anyone keen to step up urged to contact Kirsty Nicholls, Shane Harwood or the Nelson Speedway Association.

Full details of Nelson’s participation will follow early next week but for now, it’s a teaser for what local superstock fans had been hoping – the orange and black is back.

Tigers photo by Tom Laney,