CHEQUER OR WRECK ‘ER
By Pete McNae
It seems a stay in hospital is the only way to slow a Miers. Because, assuming all their limbs are attached, the various members of one of superstock racing’s first families will have a phone to their ear, a spreadsheet open, a steering wheel in hand and a passport, barbecue tongs or a torque wrench within reach at any given moment.
The pair with the speedway profile are father, Scott, and 25-year-old son Jack but the Miers dynasty behind PTS Transport and PTS Logistics, some of the Palmerston North Panthers’ finest teams racing moments and a long stint promoting speedway in the city includes mum Vicki and the sprawling branches of the Miers family tree. They maintain a hectic schedule, too, with PTS bases from Whangarei to Invercargill — including a new yard in Nelson — and something approaching 270 trucks on the road.
Jack still isn’t sure how he ended up as a desk jockey. He started his working life as an engineer, then drove PTS rigs for a while until a member of the management team left and he was shoulder-tapped to fill in.
“It was meant to be for a couple of weeks until Scott found someone else but I’m still in the job about two years later,” Jack says. “I feel like, having not long turned 25, I’m still too young to be inside but things are busy all the time so I guess I’m it for a while.”
Why is the name PTS familiar? Take a look at the top of the page. The haulage company is also the principal sponsor of the PTS Nelson Superstock Stampede, this Saturday’s big show at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway. When Shane Harwood, Kerry Hill and the Nelson club were putting the big money, high quality superstock promotion together, Scott Miers hopped onboard as the main name in a family of event sponsors.
With the new yard open locally, Jack says the family can always pass off a visit to Nelson (where Vicki has family) as a work trip.
“We always try to bring in some of our clients and customers and show them how we spend our weekends,” Jack says. “There are a lot of people who support us, so speedway is a chance to offer something back.”
Followers of the event since it was first proposed back in late June might have noticed that neither the 8P of Scott Miers nor Jack’s 88P were on the entry list until recently. Jack says that was no accident or omission, they legitimately weren’t sure what role the family would have at the event.
“When I first heard about it, I hadn’t raced for a year, Scott’s Tank was for sale and the parents were thinking about going down to watch and maybe host a few people,” Jack says. “Then I get back from a trip and Dad hasn’t sold his car, in fact he has bought another one, I get back to racing with a couple of meetings at home and it looks like we are all going to be in the country at the same time so I’m going to run and, hopefully, Scott’s calendar will line up and he will be there, too.”
*UPDATE: Unfortunately, Scott will not be racing this weekend, although Jack’s entry is confirmed.
Jack’s year-long layoff wasn’t by choice. A big mountain bike prang in Queenstown with a dozen mates (“Who’d imagine anything could possibly go wrong when you say it like that,” he asks) ended with Miers suffering a broken collarbone, broken shoulder blade, broken sternum and three broken vertebrae. Queenstown flew him by helicopter to Invercargill for scans and assessment, then it was a fixed wing flight to Christchurch, spinal fusion and a lengthy recovery period. It was an enforced lesson in slowing down and assessing priorities for the young man who had first driven a superstock Tank in a grand parade when he was 8 or 9 …”from the time I could touch the pedals and the steering wheel at the same time”.
“I could have pushed it and tried to race at the end of last season but the injury and recovery gave me time to step back,” Miers says. “I’d been in ministocks from the first meeting I could get as a 12-year-old until the referees suggested that maybe that class wasn’t for me anymore. Then I jumped straight across into a superstock that was sitting round home, swapped around a few cars, an older Tank and a new one, then this current car with lots of teams racing and lots of travel. Suddenly, I was forced to wind back and consider an extended break.
“The medical people always try to scare you off but I wasn’t going to be stupid about going back to racing. I decided that speedway is a hobby and I have a whole life ahead of me and, if it wasn’t going to be safe, then I’d pack it in.
“I look at Scott and the crashes and injuries he has had over the years and my uncle and cousin (stockcar drivers Rob and Luke Miers) and the hammering we have given our bodies — some days just going fishing looks like an option.”
Until the start of the new season in Palmerston North, of course. Scott was there on opening night and won a race in his recent purchase, the ex-Jake Baker, Joe Faram car, then Jack ran that car in week two and brought out his own Kelvin Gray-designed, Miers-built 88P the following week. “It was good to rub some concrete again,” he says. “There’s a teams race night coming up in Huntly and I’m dead keen to be a part of that, put my name back in that mix, and then the big championship meetings to come, which we want to have a good crack at.”
It’s a gap in the Miers family CV, neither father nor son has had a 1, 2 or 3NZ despite some close calls and bad luck. The Whanganui track that will host the New Zealand champs is only 50 minutes from Palmerston North but Jack says they haven’t been there a lot.
“We should race Nelson more often and Whanganui, they are different style tracks to home or Rotorua but life sometimes gets a bit full. This (Stampede) meeting will be a good early chance to test set-ups in a decent field, good on Nelson for trying to do something to keep the class going while their own numbers are down.
“We’re looking forward to it … it’s a cool track and I’m feeling pretty dangerous again.”
- Jack Miers has a long list of supporters and sponsors but saves special thanks for his parents, Scott and Vicki and PTS Transport and Logistics, Rob Ramsay of 0800 Rise Up and Double R Construction and Kelvin Gray Engineering. Crew guys who put in the long hours on the cars include Kelvin, Shane, Bob, Marvellous and RT.
- The PTS Superstock Stampede field has taken some hits since the early-season entry list was filled but the club has worked wonders to get 30-plus superstocks to Nelson. The field will race in three groups with crossover heats qualifying drivers for a final.
- Along with PTS, the Stampede is grateful for support from Vulcan Steel, Saxton Lodge, Ewing Poultry, Computer Networx, Waimea Drilling, Trinder Engineers, Brooks Auto Painters, Krammer Mechanical, AG Water, BMTT, Tasman Machinery Transporters, Richmond Vehicle Testing Station, Hi Reach Access Solutions, Broad Engineering, Tasman Partsworld, TWL Nelson, BOC Gases, Blacks Fasteners, Steel and Tube Nelson, Youngman Richardson and Co and meeting sponsor Barclay Engravers.
- Support racing will be led by a round of the Hydraulink War of the Wings for sprintcars, alongside midgets, production saloons and youth ministocks. Jason Gutteridge and the Pits Media crew will be in attendance to livestream the event.
Jack Miers photos kindly supplied by Pete Paltridge, Go Slideways, Palmerston North