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Title-winning Dodge out of retirement for Herne return

NATHAN Herne is back – and so too is a trusty old ally.

After spending a season in American Trans Am, Herne has announced his return to the Australian series which he has already twice conquered.

Only this time, it will come in a full privateer effort – as opposed to competing for Dream Racing Australia in 2021 and Garry Rogers Motorsport in ’22 – using the Dodge Challenger with which he won in ’21.

That car had resided at the National Motor Racing Museum in Bathurst ever since, until Herne retrieved it last month to drag it out of retirement.

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“It’s been a rushed couple of weeks, we collected the car from Bathurst and haven’t stopped since then,” said the 21-year-old.

“When it rolled into the museum in 2021, it was straight off the track and hadn’t even gone up on the jacks. I even pulled my data from the burnout and the final race while it was sat in the museum.”

Herne will rejoin the Trico Trans Am Series from Round 2 at Symmons Plains on March 15-17. Last year’s champion James Moffat swept the Sandown season-opener.

“I know the championship is a long shot, but I definitely want to come back and go straight to the top,” said Herne.

“The stuff I’ve learnt over the last year, the cars were quite different but there’s plenty of things I can relate in theory.

“The competition in Trans Am has stepped up to an extent, which is good, there’s more of those professional benchmarks – guys like Moffat, (James) Golding, (Todd) Hazelwood and (Tim) Slade.

Nathan Herne. Pic: Joel Hanks Media

“I’ll do a shakedown at Winton just to make sure everything works how it should, but then we’re straight into the deep end in Tassie.

“A lot of people say Symmons Plains is a drivers’ track, but I believe a lot of it also comes down to the setup of the car, if it’s just one percent off it’s very hard to make that up.”

GRM has dominated the past two seasons, something which Herne is going to almost singlehandedly put an end to.

“I’ll be the crew chief, engineer, and mechanic in the garage at home. I have some guys coming to help out at the track which will take the load off but it’s very much a self-run effort,” he said.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to try and test myself off the track as well as on it.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially more so recently, as I think taking responsibility is pretty important to moving forward, and unfortunately for myself, if things go backwards there won’t be many others to blame!”

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