By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Canterbury reinsman Blair Wilmott made the perfect start in the NZ Amateur Drivers Championship when taking out Heat 1 with Ticking Over at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
Wilmott took his charge straight to the lead off the gate where he was able to dictate terms throughout and score a comfortable 1-1/4 length victory.
“We have got a pretty big weekend ahead of us with the five heats and to get a leg up tonight was pretty nice,” Wilmott said.
“He is a pretty nice horse and Scott (Dickson, trainer) was pretty confident.
“We got away with murder upfront. He was fresh-up and we wanted to look after him a little bit. That was as slow as I probably could have gone, he was keen to roll.
“He did it pretty easily and they couldn’t catch us.”
While Wilmott was in the north for just the one drive, he said he has enjoyed the comradeship amongst the group.
“We quite enjoy coming up here and having a few beers and seeing the North Island guys,” he said.
“We have got a pretty exciting weekend ahead, including the three heats on Sunday, which is pretty rare for the amateurs.”
Wilmott will be looking to keep his lead in the series when he drives Glitz And Glam in Heat 2 at Addington Raceway on Friday night.
“Apparently, she tied up two starts back and then in the amateur race she pulled a flat tyre,” he said.
“We have drawn wide (7), so we will need a bit of luck, but he is as good as anything else in that field if we get the right trip.
“All the rest of my drives are good eachway chances, so with the win on the board we should be thereabouts.”
Wilmott said he loves being out on the track on race night and owes his passion for the sport to his father.
“My old man was heavily involved with a syndicate with our local rugby club down in Christchurch,” he said.
“I used to follow them and got interested and I have always wanted to sit behind one.
“I got to know Brent Weaver and Robbie Holmes really well and they put me through my paces to the point where I could work a watch, get to the trials and workouts, and then get my license, which took five years to do.”