February 24 / 25, 2018 - Round 5 BMW Race Driver Series, Pukekohe Park Raceway

This meeting was always going to be a challenge, as Pukekohe is a racetrack that needs plenty of power, something we don’t have in the Mini. The weather didn’t turn bad so Thomas was faced with having to drive the wheels off the car if he had any chance of being competitive. Turning up to qualify, Thomas drove really well and recorded the 11th fastest time out of 23 cars and set a new personal best time. Race 1 saw a good race and a 12th place finish, but contact with another driver took the shine off the race. There was some discussion about the contact in Turn 2, but was deemed a “racing incident” by the officials. This did not, however, stop the BMW Race Driver Series deducting 50 series points from Thomas for his part in the incident, which was really unfair. Undeterred, Thomas turned up to the Sunday races with the same level of commitment as ever! Race 1 on the Sunday saw a 13th place start, a very harsh time penalty which resulted in a 16th place finish. The irony of the handicap is Thomas needed to make up 30 seconds on a group of cars that were only 2s per lap slower...and the race was only 8 laps long? Race 3 was another big handicap start, but prior to the race it was discovered the RF engine mount was broken, probably due to the contact the day before so the car could not start the race. Disappointed, the team returned to New Plymouth and is now looking forward to the final round at Hampton Downs on 17/18 March in the hope of a good finish to the season. Thanks to Scotty Balsom for his work as Crew Chief and keeping Thomas focussed on driving well. Thanks also to TKR for their on-going support. Thomas has slipped down the Championship standings, so a good result is needed at Hampton Downs. If it rains Thomas could be back on the podium.

March 3, 2018 - Youth Ministock Taranaki Championships, Stratford International Speedway

So far Thomas had experienced a very consistent season behind the wheel of the Collingwood Traffic Management Ministock, and this meeting was the major event of the year. Confidence was high and things were looking good. After a good start in Race 1 from the rear of the field, Thomas managed to bring the car home in 5th, banking good points. Race 2 was a great race to watch, Thomas ripped the field up and won the race by over 5s. Heading into Race 3, all Thomas had to do was finish the race in the top 6 and in front of one other competitor. Starting off 14 and his rival starting two rows behind, things were looking good. During the race there was a red flag for an incident which brought Thomas and the other driver close together, after the rival passed two cars when stopping to gain an advantage on Thomas. Undeterred, Thomas drove the wheels off the car and brought it home in 5th place, one spot in front of the other driver and winner of the Championship! While being congratulated in the pits by everybody, it became apparent that the other driver protested Thomas for passing him on the grass to finish in front of him? Following a trip to the stewards room, it was clear that the competitor completely fabricated a rubbish story, an extremely unprofessional and biased official agreed with him and Thomas was relegated behind this competitor. The upshot is...Thomas was robbed of his deserved victory by a lying driver and a corrupt official. We tried to appeal, but were told that the officials “just wanted to go home as it was late” and the officials would not look at the video footage which clearly showed Thomas never came close to the pole line during the whole race. Absolutely devastated by this travesty of fairness, Robert wrote to the club and Speedway NZ to try and get a better decision from someone who was not swayed by a cheat who was awarded a championship title. Following a lot of discussion...nothing was done so the wrong person won the Taranaki Youth Ministock Champs. Disgusted, the Ministock was sold and we were totally disillusioned by the whole process...DISGUSTING! All we can say is, “Enjoy that trophy you did not deserve...shame you can’t win anything on the track!”

March 17 / 18, 2018 - Round 6 BMW Race Driver Series, Pukekohe Park Raceway

The weather once again was fine so it meant another weekend of hard competition to be competitive. There were 23 other drivers in the class, but Thomas managed to put the TKR BMW Mini on P12 for the scratch race. We suspect some techniques to qualify poorly, then turn it on during the races was at play because Thomas out-qualified a number of cars who were faster during the races? However, Thomas drove well in Race 1 to bring the car home in 10th, setting a new Personal Best again. Again, this disadvantaged Thomas with his handicap for Sunday, making the mountain to climb almost impossible. Race 1 on Sunday was difficult, with very fast cars swamping the field at the end of the race creating havoc. Thomas managed to avoid the chaos, but slipped down to 15th across the stripe. The 2nd race saw another chaotic race, pushing Thomas even further down the order finally finishing in 19th spot which was a disappointment to him. The final championship points have not been released, but the last two meetings and severe handicaps have cost him valuable placings. Scotty Balsom has been fantastic this year in helping Thomas improve on and off the track, so thanks to him for everything. Thank you to David John for taking us all on a roller-coaster ride for the past two years, opening doors and creating networks and profile for Thomas. The next step in his professional career is being looked into now, and details will be released once things are finalised. Thomas is excited to see what the future holds as he embraces the challenges to become a professional racing driver.

March 25, 2018 - KartSport Taranaki Round 2 Summer Series

The kart was quickly prepped prior to this meeting after a disastrous meeting last month, Thomas struggled with a serious misfire and had to withdraw with a poor engine and a damaged thumb following some heavy training at Jiu Jitsu a few weeks earlier, for which he wears a cast to support it. The misfire had improved, but was still slowing the kart down. There was real hope the track record may have been lowered, but the engine power wasn’t sufficient to do so. He won 5 races from 5, and then won the GP as well, ending up only 1/10th of his own lap record. A new wiring loom has been ordered and will be fitted to eliminate this issue for the future meetings. An engine service is also planned at IKS.

March 29, 2018 - School visit to meet Frankley students

On 29 March 2018, Thomas went to talk to the Year 3 and 4’s (7 & 8 years old) at Frankley School in New Plymouth. His message to them was ‘Work hard and never give up’ and to talk about how his career has been going so far. He met some very enthusiastic students up close and personal. One boy, William, is even wanting to become the next Lewis Hamilton! The message to him was to keep on dreaming and never give up on that dream. William and another lad, Jacob, got to try on Thomas’s race suits and others looked at some of the memorabilia that has been collected over the last few years. Thomas enjoyed his time at Frankley School. The students asked really good questions, and were really interested in what he spoke to them about. This was a truly inspiring experience for Thomas and if you would like him to come to you in Taranaki, flick him an email at htbauto@xtra.co.nz, Tbomber67@gmail.com or thomas.boniface@npbhs.school.nz and he’d be happy to come to your school. Thanks to Bonnie Mills and Wendy Parkes from Frankley School for giving Thomas this opportunity, he will never forget it. Thomas got some great feedback from the teachers involved, which can be viewed here and felt very special with the messages from the children in the class as well.

April 7, 2018 - Youth Ministock Club meeting, Stratford International Speedway

The following report was written by Tony Bennett, father of William Bennett. William and his dad came along to Stratford Speedway and chose to write the following, which was brilliant.

Race 1 you had in the bag, moving up from the middle of the pack you were 2nd and chasing down the orange leader until something happened on the outside of turn 3. It seemed like a skid or someone nudged you, it was hard to tell from our angle. What we thought was really different was how you were taking a wider line on the corners when most of the racers kept it tight on the inside to force others to pass outside. That didn't matter to you as you took them on the outside anyway! So back in 5th after the corner incident you still clawed your way back to 2nd at the end - which was awesome to see as there were only a few laps left at that point. We all agreed #67 had that race won easily without the bad corner.

Race 2 you started near the back with your orange rival and you made easy work of the field and stormed up to the front pack in no time. What we really noticed is how some of them seemed to make it a little hard for you to pass, one or two almost working in a pair to cover any gaps to close the door on you. But patience pays off and you wore them down, going into the final lap you were closing down the leader but time was running out. What a final corner that was! It had to be perfect and the window opened just enough to burst through and take the chequered flag. That was magnificent.....the boys and I were high fiving and shouting out!

Race 3, well what can we say? You might fault something watching back on the video but from what we could see you ran the perfect race. Maybe this was how Race 1 would have turned out? Maybe it's good to have a small something to aim for next time - 3 wins. You ripped up the field and left them seeing dust.

I said to William this reminded me of Senna running off into the distance with no competition. He's seen the Senna documentary and we remember Monaco when he totally destroyed Prost and was so far in front, driving like a man possessed and the team had to tell him to calm down - only to crash into a barrier with just a few laps to go (Senna wanted to teach Prost a lesson and show how much better he was in their early McLaren rivalry).

Great racing Thomas - it was awesome to see #67 out there!”

 

Fantastic report Tony & William. Thank you so much for making Thomas feel like a superstar!

April 22, 2018 - KartSport Taranaki Round 3 Summer Series

With a kart going like a rocket following a new wiring loom being fitted, Thomas hit the track and won every race on offer for the day. He finished the day off by winning the GP by over 7s, so this was a great meeting and Thomas drove very well all day.

May 19 and 20, 2018 - Speedsport Formula First Scholarship - Sabre Motorsport, Manfeild

After a great effort on 2016, Thomas decided he needed to try again to win the Sabre Motorsport scholarship. With high expectations, we heading to Feilding and lined up alongside some very worthy opposition. Thomas drove well both days in the very changeable weather, with rain and greasy conditions to deal with. The Saturday session had two judged sessions to evaluate who would be taken through into the Finals Day. Thomas was fortunate to be considered for Day 2 so things were looking good.

Again the weather was a bit average, making parity between runs and drivers quite a challenge. Thomas again drove well and was judged highly for his efforts. Feedback from the judges was really positive, they were all impressed with his level of maturity. However, Thomas did not place in the Scholarship, with the win going to Ronan Murphy, son of V8 Supercar driver Greg Murphy. A little surprised, we headed home to work out what to do next? We wish Ronan well for the Winter Series and then the 2018/19 Formula First Championship.

May 27, 2018 - KartSport Taranaki Round 4 Summer Series

Following the disappointment of not placing at the Speedsport Scholarship last weekend, Thomas got back into the kart for club day and Round 4 of the Summer Series. Things went well, Thomas ran himself for the day so Robert could go and race-prep the Formula First race car!! Thomas clean-swept the kart meeting, winning the five races and the GP, so a great series of results and this means he has wrapped up the Summer Series as well.

June 2 and 3, 2018 - FAE Formula First Winter Series Round 1, Manfeild Raceway

After receiving a phone call from a very generous and dedicated supporter of Thomas, the team was able to purchase the ex-Kaleb Ngatoa Formula First race car and the first round of the Winter Series was upon us. Having never been to Manfeild to race, there was no expectation to score results, but rather to focus on getting to know the track and the car. Thomas did a fabulous job, putting the car on P4 in qualifying. In Race 1, he drove well to finish in 3rd in his very first race in the car and at a new track. He also managed to set the fastest lap time which gave him P1 for Race 2! The race was going great until the last corner where Thomas locked up a wheel and ended up in the gravel trap, stuck! A good learning curve about the braking limits of the car! Race 3 was a start from P2 and another good race. Unfortunately, in the last lap, there was slight contact with another car which slowed Thomas down for the run home and he brought the car home in 4th place. A great debut, the car has plenty of pace, so we are optimistic of a good season ahead? Thanks to all our supporters! A full report of the meeting can be found here.

June 24, 2018 - KartSport Taranaki Round 1 Winter Series

The first round of the Winter Series rolled around pretty quickly, and the kart was fast in the first half of the day. The track was wet which made driving and setup a challenge. Thomas won the first three races and then the misfiring gremlins raised their head again! A number of things were tried, but then it was discovered the new wiring loom had failed at the coil again. Luckily, the kart was limped home for two 4th place finishes as well, which still gave enough points for the round win. Thomas had to sit out the GP as the engine would not fire up. Frustrated, the new wiring loom was returned to be repaired or replaced before the August meeting.

July 7 and 8, 2018 - FAE Formula First Winter Series Round 2, Manfeild Raceway

The team travelled to Feilding full of confidence with the Formula First race car for the 2nd round of the FAE Winter Series. The weather was greasy, but Thomas was focussed and ready to do his best. In Qualifying, Thomas positioned himself in a great place, making the most of the draft to record the fastest time, placing the car on P1 for Race 1. This was a great race to watch, with strategy coming into play and Thomas just dipping out by 0.081s for the win. Race 2 was another beauty, from P3, Blake Evans and Thomas battled at the front of the field with Blake again coming out of top for the race win by 2/10ths of a second. Thomas again set the fastest lap time and started Race 3 from P1. Another good battle with Blake until the last lap, when Thomas went too deep into the braking area on the last lap at “Dunlop”, dropping his LR wheel off the circuit and spinning the car around. He recovered to finish 7th across the line, but some more important learning about the required race-craft needed to succeed in this category. The team were very happy with the car speed so retuned to New Plymouth itching to get back to Manfeild for Round 3 on August 4 & 5. Thank you to all the supporters and Supporters Club members for the constant messages of support all weekend. A full report of the meeting can be found here.

August 4 and 5, 2018 - FAE Formula First Winter Series Round 3, Manfeild Raceway

The weather was pretty wet and the track greasy, which was great for some more learning at Rd 3 of the Winter Series. Thomas was keen to improve on his last outing, still looking for that elusive maiden win. Qualifying went well, Thomas managed to avoid a couple of spinning cars in front of him which unfortunately meant he had no one to draft. Although some great lap times, even without a draft put him on P2. Race 1 was good, a great start put Thomas into the lead and a good battle ensued, with Thomas coming home in second by a small margin. Race 2 was drier and a great spectacle, Thomas hanging on to another second placing. Having set the fastest time in Race 2 gave Thomas pole position for Race 3. Another really good battle with Blake Evans and Callum Crawley set up a photo finish across the line, all three cars separated by 0.089s! Thomas ended up third, but he was really buzzing when he got out of the car as the race was exhilarating for him. Very happy with his performance, we returned to New Plymouth pretty satisfied. Confident that a race win is just around the corner, we are now looking forward to getting the new graphics package on the car for the last round. A full report of the meeting can be found here. Thank you to all supporters and Supporters Club members for your messages all weekend.

September 1 and 2, 2018 - FAE Formula First Winter Series Round 4, Manfeild Raceway

Round 4 of the FAE Winter Series was hopefully the round where Thomas would secure his first race win? The previous rounds had taught him a lot about patience and driving the car as accurate as possible. The weather forecast was for rain, although it was fine on Saturday fro practice. The car had a couple of minor gremlins and we took the opportunity to try a couple of setup combinations which taught us a lot. Sunday qualifying started well, with Thomas earning his 6th pole position to date. Race 1 was a great battle with Blake Evans, the two of them slicing and dicing each other the whole race, with Blake coming out on top by just under 1s. Race 2 was a gamble with tyres as rain was threatening. Ultimately the wrong choice was made by us and the rest of the field, except 1. We couldn’t match the pace of Blake, so had to settle for 3rd. The heavens opened for Race 3 so a wet setup was definitely the right call. Thomas got a great start and was very fast for the first 4 laps of the race, growing a 3s lead. However, a couple of small mistakes in the closing laps allowed Blake to catch him and sneak across the line to win by 0.059s. Frustrated, Thomas set about trying to understand what went wrong, but had to put it all down to experience. A full report of the meeting can be found here. Thank you to all supporters and Supporters Club members for your messages all weekend. He wrapped up the Rookie title and was second overall, so a great performance and one to be very proud of.

October 14, 2018 - Team Boniface Racing Formula First livery unveiling and Supporters Club Function, Egmont Village

Thomas invited all his Supporters Club members and other supporters to a function at Tarurutangi Hall on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A great turnout of people was a fitting way to show off the new paint and colour scheme for the 2018/19 Hi-Q Components Formula First Championship. Following a speech from Thomas, thanking all those who have helped him to date, Roydon Collingwood helped Thomas unveil the new colour scheme. The new livery drew a round of applause from the audience and much interest in the car. Thomas answered many questions about the car, the upcoming season and his dreams an aspirations as a driver. Vicki Pierce from Goodies for Giving provided a great lunch and refreshments and the event was a hit for all who attended. Bryan Vickery from Hokonui Radio was on site to film the unveiling and invited Thomas to the studio on Monday 15 October to discuss how it all went! It was a great day and a perfect warm-up to the Championship. Thank you to all who attended! Now, bring on the Championship. A link to the Hokonui Radio Facebook page and the interview with Thomas and Donna is here

October 20 to 21, 2018 - Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship Round 1, Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild Raceway

The Winter Series provided great testing to learn the car and how to try and get the best out of it. After a good series, we were optimistic things were going to be great. However….this was a weekend to forget! Right from the mess-up during qualifying, when Thomas’s transponder was mixed up with another competitors, things didn’t really recover. The officials decided to allocate the slowest time from both transponders to Thomas, putting him in P11 for Race 1. Disappointed, but not deterred, Thomas drove the car very well and within a handful of laps was in second place, chasing down the leader. However, the following competitors decided to fight for second rather than work together which allowed the leader to increase his lead and then create a battle pack of 5 cars. The nett result was Thomas shuffled back to 5th across the line but was 2nd fastest on track so got to start the rest of the weekend from P2. Sunday started off well, with a great start and chasing the leader again. Once again though, the cars behind decided to fight and the same happened. With two laps to go, Thomas suffered a brake failure into the hairpin and collected the car in front, turning them both around unfortunately. This was a real shame as the car had great pace. The brakes were repaired following the DNF and apologies to the other driver. Race 3 was hopefully when a good result was expected. Another blinding start, and after leading for the first lap, the crankshaft broke in the engine going into Turn 1, and the car limped back to the pits. Disappointed with the whole day, we loaded up and headed back to Robbie and Tracey’s to lick our wounds. The engine was removed and dropped to Steve King to get rebuilt and we headed back to New Plymouth. Hoping to get the engine rebuilt in a couple of weeks so ready to be assembled and raced at Pukekohe in December.

Some special people helped all weekend, including Robbie Ngatoa, Tracey Toulmin, Kaleb Ngatoa, Jared Lawson (drove from Auckland to help!), Steve King and Grandad Barney. Thanks to our sponsors, Collingwood Civil, Tricky Tree Specialists, Brand-X and Motomuck. Thanks to Donna for keeping things calm in the pits, and for driving to collect the new battery. We’ll be back!

December 7 to 9, 2018 - Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship Round 2, Pukekohe Park Raceway

Since Rd 1, the engine has had a full ground-up rebuild by Steve King at Daytona Indoor Raceway in Palmerston North. We briefly ran the engine at Taupo to get some valuable time on it and it seemed to be as good as the previous one. After a long drive to Auckland, Thomas was ready to hit the track on Friday for the two practice sessions. The first session was a good shake-down ready for a full race-pace run. The engine was wicked and very fast so we packed up really happy and ready for qualifying. The weather was awesome on Saturday, sunny and 26° and qualifying was set for 10am. Thomas did a fantastic job, placing the car on P5 with a 1:13.848. Race 1 was scheduled for 2:30 and it was a cracker! The pace up front was intense, the lead changed hands many times as the drivers all drafted each other. On the last lap, Thomas was in P3 until there was contact between him and the car behind, which caused a big crash. The officials felt Thomas played a part in the crash, so penalised him 30s and this relegated him from P3 to P10. This was severely frustrating, as far as we were concerned this was a racing incident that the car behind could have avoided? Nevertheless, the penalty stuck so we had to accept it. Sunday morning brought a fresh start and a focus to make up the lost points from Saturday. Thomas started Race 2 from P4 at 10am. He got a great start and some more intense driving followed. More contact ensued, luckily not with us, but between the same driver from yesterday and the championship leader. This time however, the officials did nothing! Thomas crossed the line in P1...he did it! His first race win under his belt! The team were elated with his effort. Race 3 rolled around and another fantastic battle between the top drivers unfolded. Thomas was in 3rd place with two laps to go when another driver had a major engine failure which dumped oil on the track, forcing the race to finish under Safety Car...so a 3rd place. Thomas finished 2nd for the weekend and has moved from 17th to 8th in the Championship and is within 26 points for the Rookie of the Year title! Thank you to Jared Lawson, Steve King and Donna for keeping things calm in the pits. Thanks to our sponsors, Collingwood Civil, Tricky Tree Specialists, Brand-X and Motomuck. Rd 3 here we come!

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January 20, 2018 - Youth Ministock Club meeting, Stratford International Speedway

A quick turnaround from last week saw the Collingwood Traffic Management ministock line up at Stratford again. After the previous week’s outstanding results, expectations were high for another great meeting. Thomas started well, securing 2nd place from a rear draw. The car seemed fast and H2 brought a 5th after a couple of minor mistakes cost Thomas placings. H3 was a great display, with Thomas winning the race but suffered a relegation to 2nd following a referee decision. Having this win taken away was a bit tough, but that’s motor racing as they say. A month off now until we run again on 24 February. Thanks as always to Collingwood Traffic Management, Top Tune NZ, Corson Tyres and AutoCity for your ongoing support.

February 3 / 4, 2018 - Round 4 BMW Race Driver Series, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo

The last time Thomas raced the TKR BMW Mini at Taupo he came away with a race win and a 5th placing which gave him great points for the Championship, even after missing Rd2 while competing in the UK in October 2017. So the scene was set for a good weekend. Qualifying was held in greasy conditions which seemed great as he qualified 7th fastest in the field of 26 cars. This was fine until the sun came out for H1, and the level playing field we had in Qualifying was now back to uneven, favouring the big horsepower cars. Undeterred, Thomas drove really well to bring the TKR Mini home in 11th spot. A mammoth achievement! Happy with the days’ work, we prepped the car for Sundays racing.

The rain dance did not pay dividends for Thomas on Sunday, the weather was dry and hot. Added on to this was the fact he was given a huge handicap due to good qualifying and results in H1 the day before. He started H2 from P20 and 50 seconds from the first car. Try as he might, the little Mini just could not pass enough cars to get right up front. Although he made up 7 places to end up 13th, still a fantastic effort!. The last race was a start from P19 and this race was marred with a number of fellow competitors “roughing” Thomas up and crashing into him. This meant a worse finish than he deserved, ultimately finishing where he started, P19. Frustrating, but satisfying as well, as Thomas bettered his own PB by over 1s which is great. Thanks to Scotty Balsom for his work as Crew Chief and keeping Thomas focussed on driving well. Thanks also to TKR for their on-going support. Next stop is Pukekohe on 24/25 February for the last round of the Championship. Going into the last round, Thomas is sitting in 6th overall (even with missing an entire meeting!) which is simply stunning. If we have rain at Pukekohe, who knows what could happen and where he could end up in the Championship? Wish us luck…..!

January 13, 2018 - Youth Ministock Club meeting, Stratford International Speedway

Again, the gap between race meetings is very hard to understand. To gain experience, the driver needs to compete but there are never any meetings on. Stratford Speedway need to address this before competitors get disillusioned by the lack of racing and turn to other forms of motorsport? H1 was a fantastic display from Thomas, racing away to record a race win by over 2s to 2nd place and being fastest on-track. Buzzing, the next race was also a race win by 1.7s over 2nd place and again fastest on-track. Three wins from three starts seemed impossible, but this was all going to plan before another competitor crashed into Thomas and he was left at the rear of the field. Undeterred, he drove very hard, recording another fastest lap on-track and climbing back up to 5th place. A great effort and some minor damage to fix but a brilliant nights racing in the Collingwood Traffic Management ministock.