2017 6ty0 Youngblood Challenge

Monday 5 June 2017

Tasracing has selected the 10 participants for the 2017 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge.

The series for young drivers will be conducted at Devonport on 9 June, Hobart 11 June and Launceston on 18 June.

The drivers selected are Nicholas Brockman, Dylan Ford, Taylor Ford, Samantha Freeman, Samantha Gangell, Justin Howlett, Matthew Howlett, Jack Laugher, Wade Rattray (emergency), Hannah Vandongen and Brady Woods.

They are the top five drivers from last season and the current season’s top five in the Tasmanian Junior Drivers Premiership.

Hannah Vandongen is the newcomer to the series and she is a racing all-rounder – the 21-year-old from Kings Meadows rides trackwork for gallops trainers Tanya Hanson, Ken Hanson and Cameron Thompson.

Vandongen obtained her harness driver’s licence in August last year. She has two wins and five placings from 26 race drives.

Meanwhile, Matthew Howlett will be striving to equal the most wins in the 33 year history of the youngbloods.

The 20-year-old from Broadmarsh has won the series twice (2013 and 2016)

A third win in the series will equal the performances of Tammy Mollross (1991, 1992 and 1993) and Nathan Garwood (1999, 2000 and 2001).

Tasracing chief executive officer Vaughn Lynch said the 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge was the annual showcase for young drivers in Tasmania.

“All eligible drivers look forward to this event, and the random draw for drives provides an opportunity for the young participants to expand their links with trainers and owners,” he said.

“Tasmania has a long history of producing quality young drivers and participation in the 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge is an important part of their development.”

6tyo’s Chester Bullock said he had supported the series for 18 consecutive years.

“6tyo is proud to be associated with the series,” he said.

“It allows our emerging young drivers to compete against each other in quality races,” he said.

“They have earned the right to participate and with all races being non penalty for the winning horses, I anticipate good support for the series from owners and trainers,’’ said Bullock.

The series will comprise six heats with 10 starters and an emergency.

Rotated barrier draws, similar to the system used for the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, will apply for the first five heats with a random barrier draw for the sixth.