Eight time National Sprintcar Champion Kerry Jones and 5 time Midget Champion Brett Horrobin were among those added to an esteemed list of traditional Speedway greats.
The 2020 Induction Evening for the Bruce Drinkrow Memorial New Zealand Speedway Hall of Fame was held on Saturday at the Remuera Club in Remuera, Auckland. The NZSHoF was started in 2003 to honour outstanding people within the traditional Speedway classes of Solos Motorcycles Sidechairs, Three Quarter Midgets, Midgets, Sprintcars and Super Modifieds.
Speedway and Motorsports commentator Phil Dark played host to the Covid-19 restricted crowd of less than 100 dress for the occasion. Plaques of inductees achievements and contributions to their sport adorned the walls. A vintage solo bike and Horrobins’ former Midget were both on display.
The 1st inductee was Solo rider of the 1940’s and 50’s Bruce Abernethy. The Wellington born thrill seeker on his 1st bike by age 18 and by age 20 was in England riding for the Wembley Lions Speedway Riders Club, eventually part of three consecutive English teams Club Championships before returning to New Zealand.
Abernethy returned to New Zealand going on to win many races and titles including National Championships in 1950 & 1951.
Abernethy’s family warmly accepted the honour on his behalf posthumously.
The 2nd Inductee of the evening was Midget Car driver Brett ‘The Jett’ Horrobin. A former crew member for 2012 inductee Ted Tracey, Horrobin started in Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets in the early 1980’s then moved into the Midgets when his brother, Phil, won 2015 Inductee, Owen Shaw’s Midget in a raffle.
After winning numerous series and titles including 3 Speedway New Zealand sanctioned Titles and a National CTRA Midget Car Title Horrobin headed to the USA to compete and earned ESPN Midget Rookie of the Year honours. He returned home and won the 1993-1994 Midget Title.
The former NZ Midget test team captain was on hand and thanked his Family, team and reminisced about how his enthusiasm as a child-fan grew into his passion for both Speedway and the camaraderie it fosters.
During his racing he amassed 24 Midget Feature wins and 2 TQ wins.
The evenings other posthumous recipient was TQ and Midget driver Lindsay McKillop. The Auckland’s racers 26 TQ Feature race wins include 2 Auckland, 2 North Island and 2 National Championships.
McKillop was one of 8 TQ drivers to race in New Caledonia in 1972. He moved to the Midget class in 1978 and won the North Island title that season.
“The banter that would go back and forth [in the workshop] between Dad and some of the old guys. I really think those were the good days” said McKillop’s son Darren of the socialising between the racing.
The final Inductee was Sprintcar Champion Kerry Jones. After graduating from motocross and off-roading Jones found a keen interest in Sprintcars. At age 24 Jones started out with several series wins in his rookie season with his 1st National title coming on only his 2nd season along with a North Island Title. Four of his 8 National titles coming consecutively from 1992-1993 to 1995-1996 season.
Four Sprintcar Grand Prix wins and 6 North Island titles add to his list or achievements over two decades.
While caught up in the emotion of the event Jones paid tribute to his crew and team members throughout the years and the love and support of his family including his Mother who was in attendance.