Year in Review.
The season was one of two halves. The first half started well and things went pretty much according to plan up to December 31st. The new car was coming along nicely and this culminated in a dominating display at the North Island Champs in mid December when Foxy scored 2 wins and a 2nd to take out the title in an 18 car field. Little did we know that this meeting would be the highlight of the year for us and come December 31st our season would take a turn for the worse.
Looking back now we can mark that date down as the start of a run that would leave us scratching our heads wondering what the hell was going on. Had we betrayed the man upstairs? Had one of the crew broke a mirror or walked under a ladder or something?? Now people say you make your own luck but suffice to say we must have lost the recipe because, try as we did, luck deserted us for the rest of the season. Not one's to give up, we persevered, spending money like there was no tomorrow fixing damage. In hindsight we should have seen the writing on the wall after the Dirt Cup and just accepted that this was just not going to be our year and parked up…. We didn't.
The season really had a disjointed look to it after Christmas. We ran at Huntly New Years Eve where we broke the engine and even tho we did not race again until the New Zealand champs at Wellington at the end of January we only actually missed one meeting!! Qualifying went well in Wellington where Foxy topped his group, beating the guys who were to finish 1st and 2nd in the championship along the way. An added bonus was becoming the holder of the new lap record for mods at Te Marua. Finals night was a disaster. Foxy drew a rear grid, and after a promising first 15 laps of the race where he moved into 6th, everything turned pear shape. The car was hooking up nicely and Foxy was passing cars at will on the outside line. A spun car entering turn 3 destroyed our title hopes when Foxy collected him with no where to go. In hindsight Foxy should have pulled off but this was the NZ champs! He continued but the damage to the car resulted in Foxy spinning up in the same turn on the restart ending our hopes and unfortunately the hopes of Stuart Rose in the 121s car…. Sorry again Stuart. We got the car fixed for Race 2 but the damage to the chassis etc was significant and the car was not a patch on what we had. Foxy held his own until late in the race until he overcooked it entering turn 1 and spun out. Knowing he would have to go to the back of the field he wisely decided to head to the infield so as not to get in any ones way with an ill handling car. Title hopes gone.
Once the boys arrived back from Wellington we had about 3 days to get the car ready for the NZGP meet in Rotorua. The extensive damage was fixed once again by throwing more money at it (hey you can't take it with you!). We headed to Vegas to give it another shot. Different date, different event…. Unfortunately for us, same shit! Things looked ok early on, and in heat 2 we were running in a position that would have put us off the front of the field for the final. Few laps to go, another spun car…. Could we avoid?? Not likely! Back in the infield again. More damage. Made it out for the final but too far back in the field to be a factor in the outcome.
Last of the big 3 over 3 weeks was the Dirt Cup…. Surely our luck would change!! Nope… split fuel tank after heat 1 and out for the night without really firing a shot.
Another long break from racing ensued with no meetings on until March. Auckland champs was next and a tentative start in heat 1 where Foxy only got 4th cost him this event. Even with a more assured drive in heat 2 when he went off the rear to finish 2nd and a win in heat 3 were not enough to pull back the points on Scotty and we had to settle for 2nd….. At least we finished the meet!
Easter was next and this was another shocker (self inflicted this time though!). Foxy was running 4th in heat 1 from his rear start and even though he knew the outside of the track was a no go area he gave it a go to pass the 10s car of Willy Noonan…. Very bad idea and the result was massive damage, we even had to go back to the damaged wing from Wellington as this was in better shape than the one he has just written off. How we got the car going again for heats 2 and 3 still amazes me as we had run out of front beams, had damaged front torsion tubes and heaps of other damage. If not for the Superstock boys (“Big” Peter Helm from Neil McCoards crew and Ricky Mitchell) we would not have made it. Foxy won both of the remaining heats to finish 2nd in the championship only 2 points behind the winner even with a DNF!
Huntly and the Waikato Champs were next at the end of March and this ended up being our last meet of the year. The patched up car with its 3rd wing of the year hooked up pretty good and winning the champs in a runoff against Jacko was pleasing. I suppose we should be happy to end the season on a high.
So there you have it, a season from hell. We need to thank Roger from Container Sales and Leasing for his unyielding support, win or lose this guy sticks with us and I can honestly say that without his help this year we would have parked up months ago! Cheers Roger. Remember these guys if you need any type of containers folks, they are the salt of the earth and will look after you.
Also big ups to Brian Clark from BDC Engineering, even though he is a mate and we go way back, the sport lost its appeal to him years ago so the fact that he still dips into his pocket to help out the team is greatly appreciated… just wish he had shorter pockets and longer arms…. LOL!!!
Thanks also to Dan Haigh from Haigh Blocks who is the NZ agent for the J&J brand. We wouldn't be in the car without him and by all accounts there will be a few more chassis's running next year so that can't be a bad thing if we need to borrow spare parts (if this season is anything to go by anyway!)
Team Fox will have a break for a couple of weeks and then reassess where we are at. It looks like the mods are going to have a bit of a hard run over the next few years with guys leaving the class and in my opinion a lack of effort and emphasis from track promoters (Auckland included). Since Xmas you can count the amount of nights mods have been scheduled to race at Waikaraka by counting the fingers on 1 hand (could even use one missing a few fingers!!) Mods are supposed to be one of the premier classes of speedway …. You currently wouldn't think so by the antics of clubs and SNZ in general.
Team Fox will be re-assessing its position with regard class, track and even the sport in general.
Thanks for you support and have a great off season…. Who knows what next season will bring!