South Auckland’s Rex McCutcheon made trans-Tasman history by winning the first ever Australian Swift Racing Series race at Mallala, South Australia, on Saturday 14 May
The first of seven rounds based on the successful New Zealand Suzuki Swift Sport Cup, 17-year-old McCutcheon was the stand-out performer in a field of Australian ranked up-comers. Having set fastest time in qualifying he got to the chequered flag two seconds before the rest of the chasing pack in the afternoon race.
Fresh from completing his rookie race season in the New Zealand based one-make Suzuki series, McCutcheon says it was a sweet moment to take his first race win, on Australian soil.
“To get pole and then get the win, we had to pinch ourselves - it was very exciting. So it’s great to be in the history books to have pole and my first race win – in Australia,” said the Waiuku based teen.
“We know the Suzuki series is going to take off over here, just like the New Zealand series; it can’t help but do that. We have felt the Aussie-Kiwi them-and-us rivalry so winning will really help the series.”
The weekend’s second race seeds McCutcheon to the back of the field based on the race one results reversed. “I have to work through to at least third to start from the front for the final race,” added McCutcheon.
“Then I’ve got a stronger chance at winning the weekend in the Sunday afternoon final race; the goal is to bring that Australian trophy home.”
Suzuki New Zealand’s motorsport manager Darren Stevens says the result was a great boost to the rivalry fostered by the two opposing countries.
“It was always hoped the competition would grow strong enough to support a trans-Tasman series and with the Australian chapter now underway we’re one step closer. So to have Rex not only fly the Kiwi flag in Australia, win their first race and be so dominant is testimony to the strength of our own series. For his first ever season of racing he did very well against some exceptional talent – so for him to be such a high benchmark in Australia is a great acknowledgement of his achievements.”
Sporting co-ordinator for the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup series Paul Burborough says: “Rex is racing against competitors highly regarded by the Australian motorsport governing body CAMS; Brooke Leech is one product of their driver development programme. It also reinforces the Suzuki series as the perfect development path for drivers wanting to migrate to higher-level car racing formulas. Plus having a Kiwi beat the Aussies on their soil is good on any day.”
The series uses standard production 1600cc road-going Swifts, with the addition of a roll-cage and other safety equipment to make them race-safe compliant.
Each race weekend has three races, with the calendar crossing four of Australia’s states during the six competition events.
New Zealand’s fifth edition of the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup series is provisionally scheduled to begin on 4 November at Pukekohe.