| Auckland champs night 2.
12 cars of the starting 18 from night 1 fronted for night 2 of the champs on Saturday night. I think it is fair to say that the idea to make the champs a two night affair hasn't really worked out that well as we have lost guys between meetings and had others, who could have run on night 2, excluded from competing as they missed night 1. Not an ideal situation and one that hopefully won't be repeated next year.
With a pit full of super saloons in attendance on the night as well as the mods it was obvious the track was going to take a pounding. Surprisingly it actually held up pretty well apart from a large rut in turns ?. With the Auckland weather of last week I think the guys did a pretty good job to give us as good a track as we got.
The format for the night was a standard 3 race (front/ middle / back) affair. The points from the last race on night 1 were carried over to night 2. This would then give you 4 races to obtain points and everyone had the luxury of dropping one of their races. With a win in the first points race on night 1 in the bank we had a bit of an advantage over the rest of the field.
Foxy drew grid 6 for the first race and he knew it would go along way to winning the title if he was able to pass 77s Craig Ward (leaving from grid 2) and take the win. Foxy made short work of the guys in front and it wasn't long before he was chasing down Craig for the lead. Craig seemed to be down a tad on race pace and Foxy was able to cleanly drive around the outside of him and streak away for the win. Craig did enough to hold onto 2nd and he was followed home by a hard charging Paul Blakeley who made his way thru to 3rd from his grid 9 start.
Heat 2 was Foxy's run off the rear (grid 12). We knew he was going to be off grid 2 in the last heat and with that in mind (and 2 race wins from 2 starts so far) we suggested he just take it easy in this race and avoid any unnecessary damage that he may incur if he was trying to get to the front. We decided that this race would be our drop. At the green Foxy let the guy's sort themselves out in front of him and then started making his way thru the field. 77s Craig Ward caused us a few anxious minutes at about half distance when he appeared to have a few handling and power issues that nearly resulted in sending Foxy into the wall a few times when he was attempting the pass. This slowed us up for a few laps and by the time Foxy had been able to work his way past Craig the guys running 1,2 3 and 4 were a fair way in front. The 12 laps seemed to whiz by pretty quick and although Foxy was chasing hard and making in roads in to catching them, time ran out and he came home 5th.
Heat 3 has us, as mentioned, off grid 2. Foxy headed into this race (taking a drop into account) with a 2-point advantage over Craig Ward, with a further point back to 55s and 99a in 3rd. All these guys were to start behind Foxy. Foxy led from start to finish and finished with a perfect score of 54 points with his 3 wins counting as his best 3 places. Paul Ward in 55s had another strong race to come home 2nd from his grid 3 start. This was enough to give him 2nd overall with 50 points. A 3 way tie for 3rd required a 3 way runoff to find the podium finisher and an unlucky Craig Ward choose his marble 1st and pulled grid 3. 99a pulled his marble next and left from 1 leaving Paul Blakeley on the prized grid 2 start.
The runoff was one of the better ones seen at the park for the mods and Nathan Robertson in the 99a machine did very well to hold Paul out into the first turn. A slight mistake entering turn 3 for the first time gave Paul the opportunity to attempt an inside pass on Nathan that paid off. The next 3 laps the 3 cars were bumper to bumper waiting for any small mistake to try and capitalise on but there were none and they finished in the order of 56a, 99a and 77s.
Thanks to the visitors who made the effort to support both nights. As well as both Ward boys we had 18r Dennis Hanson and 15r Andrew Pash make the journey up from Rotorua and Matt Ferguson in the 96h (93r) car as well…. Thanks guys.
This week we expect to be at the Park on the Saturday night in support of the Stockcar teams event but this is yet to be confirmed. If the mods don't run at this meeting then they will not be seen again until the last meeting of the season, that being the King of the Park event. Mods are not part of the John Webster memorial meeting so this will give us the opportunity to give the car a good going over before heading down to Christchurch for the Modified Invasion at Easter weekend. Watching the mods at the battle of the Stocks meeting on TV Sunday night I think it is fair to say that we will have our hands full trying to keep up with Glen Leech in the 29c car as he looks to be flying. Rest assured it will be a great meeting.
See ya at the track