Rowan Shepherd has walked away from round three of the Best Bars Toyota 86 championship with his tail up, claiming a hat-trick of wins at Manfeild.
In doing so, Shepherd now takes over from Simon Evans as the new championship points leader.
Shepherd’s first win of the weekend followed a hotly fought Saturday afternoon affair. Polesitter Ryan Wood spun on the opening lap after contact with the eventual race winner.
The incident allowed Evans to inherit the lead, with Shepherd and Ronan Murphy in tow.
A lunge into turn one gave Shepherd a brief hold of the lead, though he would have to sit it out until the penultimate lap to make a move stick.
With Evans demoted to second, he fended off Murphy for the remaining two tours, leading the Dayle ITM racer home for his first podium finish of the season.
Brock Gilchrist led home Christina Orr-West in fourth and fifth, while Wood managed to salvage seventh after charging back from his lap one mistake.
Wood looked to have amends in race two on Sunday morning, scoring a win in the reverse top-ten race. Seizing the lead from Alexandra Whitley at the final corner of the opening lap, Wood fronted the field all the way to the chequered flag.
However, a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to second, gifting Shepherd the victory.
Wood’s chances of being able to pull out a margin to overcome the penalty were diminished due to a mid-race safety car to recover a stricken Murphy.
Claiming her best result of the season the day before, Orr-West would better Saturday’s effort with a third-place finish.
Championship challenger Evans struggled to work his way through the pack following the restart and crossed the line down in eighth.
Shepherd rounded out his Manfeild masterclass with a steady final race win. Only temporarily falling behind Wood on lap six, Shepherd was otherwise unrivalled en route to victory.
His win now means that he, Evans, and Wood all have three wins apiece from the opening nine events.
Brock Gilchrist had been nipping away at the heels of the front-runners all weekend, and he ended the round with a fourth-place.
Murphy bounced back after his incident in race two to round out the top-five, ahead of teammate Orr-West and Marco Giltrap.
There are two more rounds to play out in this year’s championship. Pukekohe Park will host round four over March 3-5, while Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo will close out the season on March 26-28.