You sit there all alone.
It’s cramped and you’re surrounded by steel bars. The noise and the smells are intense.
No! You are not in jail but sitting in the driver’s seat of a bona fide stock car.
Fifteen hundred kilograms of box steel powered by a fire breathing straight six waiting for your command to deliver copious amounts of torque to power you into that first corner.
Around you, 20 other drivers are all focused on the same goal – winning the race to the first corner.
This is the world of stock cars, big boys’ dodgem cars, and one of the rising stars is Clydevale driver Zane Tuhura.
“That’s all I’m thinking about – getting to that first corner first,” Zane said.
“It’s exciting and fun. I’ve been doing it for so long now and yet I still want to get out there and win.”
The 19 year old apprentice engineer is no newcomer to the sport of full contact motor racing.
He started when he was just 12 years old in Invercargill.
“I watched my dad, Anaru Tuhura, race street stocks and said I would like to give it a go as it looked pretty cool.”
His dad bought a 1600cc Honda Integra, converted it into a youth saloon and he was off.
By the time he was 16, Zane had won just about every race he could, rising through the youth ranks to dominate the class, so he moved up to full stock cars in 2019.
“It was a bit of a jump and everything felt so different with the car.
“It was much more powerful, the frame is so rigid and strong and the racing so much more intense, it’s taken me a couple of years to figure it all out, but now I know I can win here too.”
A spectacular wall crash in his first heat a couple of weeks ago at Beachlands Speedway was followed up the next night by a strong win.
“Zane knows he can win on the night now and he can only get better at it,” Anaru Tuhura said.
The Tuhuras are a family that races together.
Anaru Tuhura is a well known classic street stock racer, Zane’s brother Nico (16) also races in stocks while younger sister Zara-Lee (15) campaigns in the youth grade.
The family pack up their cars in a big converted bus and attend meetings in Dunedin, Christchurch, Cromwell and Greymouth throughout the year.
“I have another four or so meetings to race in around the country before this season is finished and I’m looking forward to racing in the King of the Coast, in Greymouth, and the stock car challenge in Christchurch.
“They will be hard races there as everyone is chasing the flag.”