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Club Spotlight: Alpha
Queensland Harness Racing wrap - June 21
By Jordan Gerrans
The Sunshine State’s up-and-coming drivers will enter this week’s 2021 BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Championships aiming to spread their wings around the industry.
Ten young drivers from around the state will compete in a series of six heats at Redcliffe this evening - and Albion Park later this week - with total prizemoney of $51,900 on offer for the six heats.
Reinsman who have competed in the Queensland Young Drivers Championships in years past believe the series is an excellent opportunity to network around different stables that they do not usually drive for.
Justin Elkins (pictured) described it as an “awesome" series, that includes plenty of banter between the youth of the sport, providing the younger drivers the chance to compete against their mates they grew up with.
“It allows us to get better opportunities with the bigger trainers as well, in a series like this you are getting drives and opportunities that you may not get during the week,” Elkins said.
“If you drive a few winners for a good trainer, that will leave you in good stead into the future to get more drives for them.
“I have got two really good drives to start off with at Redcliffe on Wednesday and then the draws fade away little bit into the series.
“I can start off well and that is what I need to do if I want to be in it.”
Elkins, who has competed in the series three times, finished third once overall and is hopeful of playing a major role in 2021.
He is optimistic of getting on the board this evening at “the Triangle” with two decent drives, Major Lester and Bondi Prince, while admitting he will be shooting for top five finishes later in the series to pick up a few extra points.
Teenager Zac Chappenden became the 2020 BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Champion last year and will be shooting to go back-to-back over the next week.
Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 6:54 PM
Jonah Hutchinson, who has driven in the series twice before, backed up Elkins’ thoughts.
“I think is a good opportunity for people to drive for stables that they may not usually drive for and pick up some more outside drives,” Hutchinson (pictured) said.
“In past years, I have got drives for people I have never driven for before and that helps.
“It is a good chance to show what you can do.”
Hutchinson trains a team of 11 pacers himself, down from as many as 18 he had recently, after deciding to go out and train in his own right around two years ago.
He spent time across the border in NSW to try and gain as much knowledge of the sport before jumping into his own stable.
“I went down there to learn a bit more before I went completely solo training, just so I can get as much experience as possible,” Hutchinson said.
“I have worked for people like Grant Dixon, Shane Graham and Vicki Rasmussen - the big stables - I wanted to see what they did similar to put together my own training operation.
“We have got a good couple of owners now that back us 100 per cent.
“I had a month there when we won 11 or 12 races over a month, which we were really pleased with from 18 starters - that was a great month.”
Hutchinson kicks off the 2021 series tonight with drives behind Bonnies Cam and Groovy Miss Annie.
The BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Championship sees 10 of the state’s best youngsters face off in a six-race series over three blockbuster days.
The Series commences at Redcliffe on June 2 and concludes at Albion Park on June 5.
Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 7:51 PM