| Plenty of luck ... Just all of it bad!!
What a month!
The decision was made to head to Huntly on New Years Eve for a skid so the break between meetings wasn't so long. Lucky we went because after taking 2 wins in the first two heats we had engine gremlins surface in the feature. This could easily have been qualifying night for the NZ's as our original plan was to bypass Huntly and not run again until the champs…. Good luck or bad???
The engine damage was severe and has been tracked down to a faulty magneto. The damage was one broken piston, 5 cracked pistons, 1 flogged out conrod, and a bent crank. Thanks to Craig Hyland for pulling out all stops getting the engine back together in time for the title and although it meant a mad panic in the week leading up to Wellington we made it. The fix we did is not ideal but with the timelines we had it was all we could do. We wanted to put a new crank and rods into the engine but these parts are made to order for us in the States and they could not guarantee we would have them in time. We had to revert to plan 2, which was to have the crank ground straight (crank company in the States confirmed that this was not major as the bend was so small), line bore the block, locate 1 new rod the same as we had to replace the damaged one and put a complete new set of pistons in. The engine was then re-dynoed and this is where the mag problem surfaced. 1 new magneto later and we were away running.
By now the results will be known for the NZ title and once again it was a meeting where things didn't go our way. Our luck in NZ titles over the last few seasons has been crap and the weekend just gone was the same. Foxy was the top qualifier on night 1 and set the fastest times on the night. He also accounted for both the guys who finished 1st and 2nd on night two as these guys were in the same group.
Finals night saw Foxy pull a rear of the field start in grid 16. No option but to go as hard as possible when this happens as you have no idea what will end up being good enough. Foxy was making great progress and with about 5 laps to run had moved into 6th place on the track (passing some very fast cars on the outside line along the way). Next in line was the 21a car of Gary Parker running 5th and Gary was doing a great job running the low line. Foxy stayed on the outside as the car was hooking up well out there and proceeded to drive around Gary entering turn 3. Unfortunately for us this is where our championship effectively ended as entering this turn on the outside Foxy ploughed in to the stationary 2nz car of Scotty Lane who had spun after slight contact with the 56a car of Paul Blakeley. After a vocal conversation with the officials Foxy was extracted from the mess and was allowed to restart in his position as he was not the cause of the incident. The damage to the car however was substantial and although Foxy again took to the highline to pass the 21a car the flat front wheel on the right hooked a rut and turned foxy around right in the way of oncoming cars. More damage!! This time he was unable to restart and the car was hauled off the track on the hook.
Entering the pits the damage became clear. Broken body, trashed wing, 2 x damaged front wheels and tyres, smashed front end, smashed headers, smashed rocker cover and ripped off breather from the engine bay etc etc. The boys made good time in repairing the damage as best we could and getting him out for heat 2 from grid 6. Right from the start we could tell the car was not right but Foxy did what he could and made his way up to 2nd. As the track went off the car got worse and with about 6 odd laps to go Foxy spun out in turn 2. Luckily no one was taken out but Foxy decided it was too dangerous to remain on the track and didn't want to ruin anyone's night by taking anyone out and retired to the infield… meeting over.
Big congrats to Tama for taking the title on his home track, he has been trying for years and kept his nose clean the entire night. He avoided the incidents and did what he had to do to take it out. Couldn't have gone to a nicer guy (Foxy excluded lol!). Also congrats to Jacko who came out with a brand new car and was quick off the blocks, if not for running out of gas in heat 1!! who knows what might have been. NZ's are in Stratty next year and it would come as no surprise if this was campaigned on a slick, black track, perfect for the Gordge cars and I am sure Jacko will be in the frame to go one better come next season. 3nz went to Paul Blakeley and it was well deserved. Paul finished all 3 heats and won a great runoff with 77s Craig Ward to take the #3 position. A great reward for a guy who has not been racing for long but has put more than his fair share of effort into the modified class over the last few years.
The plan at this stage is to run this weekend at the GP in Vegas if we can get all the damage repaired in time and then try to defend out Dirt cup title in Auckland the week after. After these 2 meets we will re-evaluate the season and make the decision on whether to carry on or park up for the rest of the season.
See ya at the GP.