2003 Winner - GARETH RATTRAY (TAS)
17, showed his older and more experienced rivals a thing or two in winning the
Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in New Zealand.
From six drives
in the series, Rattray showed his consistency with a win, a second, three thirds
and a fourth. Victorian Shayne Cramp was an unlucky second, with Queensland's
Shane Graham third to give Australia a clean-sweep in the championship.
Rattray is a son
of Barrie Rattray. Barrie won the Inter Dominion Junior Drivers Championship in
Queensland in 1984. After winning numerous Tasmanian premierships, Barrie
went on to represent Australia at a World Drivers’ Championship. Gareth’s
grandfather, Wayne Rattray, a champion footballer in his day and a prominent
tennis player, also was a premiership winning trainer in the Apple Isle.
generation of the family in harness only began driving in races 18 months
before, but had long been a helper around the stables, along with his twin
brother James. “You have to have luck in a series like this because of it being
a random draw for horses. I was fortunate enough to have drawn some handy
horses, and I was pleased with how I drove them all during the series," he said.
With no trotting
races in Tasmania, Rattray was provided with a couple of trotters to drive
trackwork during the series. “I was also lucky in the final heat because the
horse I had drawn was scratched, having finished a 100 metres last at its
previous start. I was put on the emergency, and we finished third.”
Final points: Gareth
Rattray (Tas) 63, Shayne Cramp (Vic) 50, Shane Graham (Qld) 49, Nicole Thorn
(North Island) 47, Andrew Armour (South Island) 46, Gary Hall Jnr (WA) 36, Blake
Fitzpatrick (NSW) 35, David Harding (SA) 33, Craig Jamieson (NZ) 19, Michael
Bellman (defending champion) 18.