Speedway racer Campbell Stewart is raring to begin his next career milestone when he hits the dirt for the first time in the United States.
Stewart, who hails from Taranaki, will be spending the next three months racing in the Now600 Micro Sprint championship in America.
The opportunity will be the first time Stewart has raced competitively outside New Zealand.
The 20-year-old kicked off his speedway career at his home circuit in Stratford driving Youth Mini Stocks.
Stewart then moved into racing Midgets before switching codes to the Best Bars Toyota 86 championship for two seasons.
This year, Stewart returned to the speedway scene to race Mini Sprints, where he won 11 of the 13 events he entered – including the New Zealand Mini Sprint Grand Prix.
Stewart is currently in Oklahoma City ahead of his first Micro Sprint round this weekend. He says he is living out a lifelong ambition.
“Racing in America has been a goal of mine for a long time,” Stewart told Velocity News. “It is something I have been working towards.
“After having a cool year in the Mini Sprint, winning lots of races, I jumped at the opportunity to have a go overseas.
“A crew chief involved in the Micro programme who is also a Kiwi helped give me a chance.
“Now I can’t wait. It is the dream of a lifetime.”
Stewart says some events he is set to enter can have up to 1000 competitors across different classes, with the Micro Sprint class boasting packed-out grids.
“The competition is going to be really tough,” he said.
“The guys over there are doing several races week in week out.
“Last season, I did 13 races, and the guys I am up against did about 90.
“So, I will be up against some of the best drivers there are. I’m excited for the challenge.”
Micro Sprint cars are slightly different to the Mini Sprints Stewart is accustomed to.
The motorbike engine the cars use is offset to the left on a Micro Sprint, altering how Stewart sits in the seat.
He says he is ready to take on the challenge of learning a new car and continue to learn as a driver.
“I want to learn as much as I can during my time over in the United States,” he said.
“For sure I want to do well, but the main thing for me is to develop as a driver.
“The Micro cars are a bit different to drive than what I am used to.
“You lay down in the seat a lot more, a bit like a normal race car. Whereas in the Mini Sprint cars, you are sitting up like you’re driving a truck.
“So, integrating into my new team and getting up to speed with everything will also be important over the first few weeks.”
Stewart will be racing in Oklahoma, Illinois and Indianapolis over the next few months, with the first round at Port City Raceway this weekend.