Photo Credit: @Matt Smith

Words: Glenn Churches


The V8 Utes championship is on a knife edge heading into the conclusionof a season that has seen some of the closest racing to date. As a full fieldof twelve V8 Utes do battle at the season decider over the weekend of May 18-19that Hampton Downs, there are potentially four serious contenders for the title.

Top of the pile is Brad Kroef - the reigning champion and the mostconsistent performer all season. Brad has pushed his P & I Pascoe-backedFord Falcon FG ute to one pole, three wins and seven podiums putting him on topof the driver standings. Brad’s cool, relaxed demeanour off-track is at oddswith his killer instinct on-track that sees him clinically and relentlessly overtakehis way to the front, outpacing even the more-experienced drivers.  

Yet just a few championship points behind in a similar Ford FG ishis father Greg Kroef – a standout performer who’s notched up one race win andfive podiums. Clearly crew-chief Vince Gee - who has an uncanny ability to readthe conditions and make the right calls - has been a contributing factor in theKroefs’ success.

Enjoying his first full-time season and just a few points back isAlex Fougere driving the Ward Demolition championship-winning Holden VF ute.Alex has managed two wins, 5 podiums with only minor electrical issuespreventing him from amassing even more points.

Also within striking distance of the title is Phill Ross who’sthrashed the C & R Construction Holden ute to one race win, one round winand three podiums. Electrical issues were also a thorn in his side early in theseason, but with these gremlins now behind him, expect a big showing from Phillin the final round.

After suffering a bruising shunt at Hampton Downs in March, SimonUssher is back with a score to settle. His Ford FD has received cosmeticsurgery in the form of a new bonnet, right front guard, bumper and radiator, sohis ute is now looking sharp and ready to rumble.

In a season where qualifying times have often been separated by amere two seconds from first to tenth, we can expect to see more super-closeracing as the V8 Utes race alongside the Super V8s.

Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning 18thMay with Race One that afternoon. Sunday morning’s Race Two will be a reversegrid affair – a format that sees rampant overtaking, while Race Three andpotentially the championship decider will be mid-afternoon. There’ll be no livetelevision coverage – but of course nothing comes close to the adrenalin rushof watching the V8 Utes trackside at Hampton Downs.