| Saturday 17th Nov - Waikaraka Gold Cup
The weather up here has really started to pick up over the last few weeks and another warm balmy night was had for the running of the very first Modified Gold Cup meeting.
14 cars were listed as being starters but we lost one on the Saturday as time ran out for 18a Brian Campbell to get his car finished in time. This left 13 starters with the locals consisting of 1nz, 3nz, 6a, 7a, 29a, 56a, 78a, 86a and 99a joined by 4 visitors, 18r, 71s, 77s and 97h. Thanks guys for making the effort.
The format consisted of a marble draw for heat 1, and then reversed grid for heat 2, both of which were 15 laps. The plan then was to have the top 6 point scorers take part in a pole shootout series to find the grid for the final 25 lap Gold Cup race. Unfortunately mechanical (not on track contact) gremlins came into play and by the time we had run the 2 heat races we had lost 4 cars! It was decided to reduce the pole shootout from 6 cars to 4 and reduce the final race from 25 laps to 20 laps. You couldn't really argue.
Heat 1 had Foxy starting from grid 7 with 71s (Jacko) 6a (Brian Jesen) and 56a (Paul Blakeley) in front of us. Foxy was soon into his work and after a couple of laps dicing it up with Paul Blakeley, in his new J&J modified, he was able to break away from the pack and start chasing down Jacko who had moved out to a handy lead. It wasn't long before Foxy was on Jacko's bumper and it bought back memories from the week before in Stratford as a few laps went past with Foxy unable to find a way past. These fears went away when entering turn 3 Jacko left the door open enough for Foxy to streak thru on the inside and maintain the track position thru the turn. Exiting turn 4 Foxy was able to come off the turn tight and slowly but surely pull away to win the race by an extremely comfortable margin. Jacko came home in a well deserved 2nd place followed by 77s (who made good inroads from his rear starting position), 6a, 56a and 1nz (from grid 13).
Heat 2 had us off grid 8 and this time we had 77s Craig Ward and 1nz Allan Haigh in front of us. Again Foxy had a good duel, with Craig this time, but eventually he was able to break away. By this time Allan had made the most of his grid 2 start and led by the length of the straight. Surprisingly it didn't take long for Foxy to catch up to Allan and again he put a nice move on entering turn 3. Allan wasn't able to match the speed of Foxy once he got to the front and again he pulled away for a comfortable win. Allan held on for 2nd followed by 77s, 56a and 6a.
Once the points were tallied we had a top 5 not top 4. Foxy was a clear top of the heap with a perfect 26 points from 2 wins. Craig was a clear 2nd with 22 points from 2 thirds and Allan held 3rd with 20 points from a 6th and a 2nd. Tied on 19 points we had the two Leisurerite Spa Pool cars of Brian and Paul who had both scored a 4th and a 5th each. A coin toss was done to see who would contest the pole shootout and this was won by Paul.
The first 2 lap shootout had Paul against Allan with Allan enjoying the favored grid 2 starting position seeing as he had the most points. Grid 2 is favoured as it makes you the pacesetter and also gives you the best line into the first turn. Allan duly won the start but Paul was all over him like a dog on heat. A small mistake entering turn 3 gave Paul the opportunity he was waiting for and he powered thru on the inside to take the win. This was a great little battle and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. This result sent Allan to the infield and left Paul on the track to take on 77s Craig Ward. Craig enjoyed the favored grid 2 position and made full use of it winning the start and holding Paul out for the 2 laps. With Paul returning to the infield, Foxy entered the battle and took his grid 2 position. The big drag race into the first turn ensued with Foxy getting the edge and holding Craig out to take the pole shootout event to go with his two heat wins…. A successful night so far.
Now this is where the event took a bit of a twist. Normally the winner of the pole shootout would get to choose their starting position (normally grid 2 for the above reasons) but it was decided that the pole shootout winner had to start from grid 1. By now the track was pretty slick but there was enough out there to run a couple of different lines. The start was going to be pretty important as you needed to be the first one into turn 1, if you weren't the rest of the race could be pretty tough. Anyway, the boys got a good clean start and luckily for us Foxy was able to keep his nose in front into the first turn. Craig tucked in behind, all be it about 2-3 cars lengths behind, and Paul moved into 3rd. The race was pretty uneventful and the 20 laps flew past without incident. By race end Foxy was clear by about ? a lap and was on Jacko's bumper to put him a lap down. The laps ran out before this came into play and Foxy made it 4 from 4 for the night. Seeing as he was full of the flu he did a great job and although pretty tired by the end of it all he was pretty happy.
Congrats to Craig for taking out 2nd and Paul for holding on to 3rd. These guys will be in the frame later in the season so all bodes well for another year of hard, fast racing.