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Dirt Cup #5 for Foxy.

After last week's rainout, and some lousey weather all week, the weather broke enough on Saturday to allow the running of this years Jenkins Group Modified Dirt Cup.

20 cars fronted with the 55s car of Paul Ward and the 4h car of Bruce Watt being the only guys who couldn't make the rescheduled date. Guys in attendance were 1nz, 3nz, 4s, 6a, 7a, 8h, 10s, 11a, 18a, 18r, 19a, 29a, 31h, 36a, 41a, 56a, 64a, 78h, 99a and 121s.

Format was marble draw heat 1, reverse heat 2, 20 laps. Top 6 points scorers from these 2 heats would contest the pole shuffle with the winner getting to choose his starting position for the 25 lap Dirt Cup Trophy Race.

All the rain over the week had found its way deep into the race surface and although it looked reasonable dry on top, there was plenty of moisture underneath. It was obvious to all that it was going to be a drivey track and with that, sometimes comes ruts. Ruts we had!

Race 1 had Foxy leaving from grid 10 and right from the start it was a “seat of your pants” style of race. Cars were bouncing everywhere and there were changes of position happening everywhere. 20 cars going wheel to wheel is great to watch at the best of times, but when the guys have limited directional control it makes for one hell of a spectacle. The down side to this type of surface is that there are casualties and this race had its share, the main one being the 19a car of Scotty Lane who ended up rolling for the 4th time in as many meetings…. This guy must have a wing factory as he keeps destroying at least 1 a meeting! Scotty is having one of those runs that I am sure he hopes will end pretty soon. By race end Foxy had moved his way up to finish 3rd behind the 10s car of Willy Noonan and the 6a car of Brian Jesen. Biggest movers were Brian, up from a grid 13 start, the 4s machine of Mark Dixon and 1nz machines of John “Jacko” Jackson, both of who finished in the top 6 from their rear of the field starts.

Race 2 had us leaving from grid 11. To finish at the top of the points Foxy would have to pass Brian in the 6a machine who was leaving from 8 and try to get up to at least 3rd to negate Jacko's start from the front of the field…. He didn't. The car was not good enough and although we come home in 6th place it only gave us enough points to take 5th place in the top 6 pole shuffle. This turned into a top 7 shuffle as the 121s car of Stuart Rose and 18r car of Dennis Hanson were tied on points.

On coming back to the pits we decided to make a few changes to the car. There was a lot of work to do if we wanted to start off the front row for the feature race, and a lot of good cars to beat one on one to get the result we needed. First shuffle was between the 121s car of Stuart and the 18r car of Dennis. A good clean start was won by Stuart and he held on to lead the 2 laps and take the win. Foxy came out for shuffle number 2 and looked comfortable taking the win from the outside start. Next up was the 4s car of Mark Dixon, Mark chose pole for the shootout but again Foxy won the start and held the lead to the finish…. Good start. Next one out was the 3nz machine of Bunter Pierce. Bunter chose grid 2 for the start and did a nice job of shutting the door on Foxy straight away. A tight entry into turn 1 cost him when he hit a bit of a wet patch which upset the car. Foxy took the opportunity provided and shot up the inside before Bunter could close the gap. Foxy went on to win. This win effectively moved Foxy from a starting position of 5 to a starting position of 3. A grid 3 start in the feature is not ideal so we knew he needed one more shuffle win to guarantee a front row start. Standing between Foxy and the front row start was 1nz John “Jacko” Jackson. Jacko chose grid 1 and Foxy lined up on the outside.
A good clean start again ensued with Foxy getting that much drive that the whole front lifted off the ground, he knew if he backed off to let the front down Jacko was gone so he decided just to go with it. A drag race down the main straight had Foxy come out in front and lead into turn 1. Jacko never got an opportunity to challenge and Foxy held on to win to take shuffle # 5. The last pole shuffle to decide the winner was Foxy and 6a Brian Jesen. Brian had choice of grid as highest point's scorer and choose grid 2. Foxy missed the start a bit on this one and Brian shot to the lead with Foxy giving chase. Foxy remained close enough to take advantage if Brian made any mistakes but he drove a good tidy race and held on to the win. It was no surprise that Brian chose a grid 2 start for the 25 lap feature race.

Dirt Cup – 25 laps.
Minor changes were made to the car but we felt the car was pretty close so nothing to drastic was considered. Starting from grid 1 was better than it could have been thanks to the pole shuffle and it was important Foxy controlled the race from the start, he could not let Brian take the lead. A good clean start ensued with Foxy and Brian side by side down the front straight. Foxy got his nose in front and although he was a bit untidy in turn one due to going in so hot he was able to keep the car low enough to stop anyone getting under him and he led off turn 2. This was pretty much the race for us. The car had good speed and Foxy quickly started pulling away from Brian and the chasing pack. Lapped traffic only really came into play once due to the frequency of the cautions for various incidents and Brian used this as an opportunity to close in, once Foxy was clear he opened up the lead once again. The last 10 or so laps went without incident and Foxy ended up winning by nearly half a lap from Brian and an elated Bunter Pierce in the 3nz machine who had managed to pass Jacko in the 1nz machine.

We would like to thank all the Stratty boys and Dennis from Rotorua for coming up 2 weeks in a row to get this meeting in. The Dirt Cup event is viewed by most, if not all, of the modified drivers as the biggest event on the calendar next to the NZ title and the support the drivers have shown it proves that. All will be back to give it another shot next season, as will we. With a bit more effort put into the promotion of the event it has the potential to be one of the bigger events on the Waikaraka calendar as the racing is second to none. Let's hope the club realise the importance of the event and strive to do it justice in the years ahead.

The team would like to thank Craig McLeish for all his efforts to get this event run this season with very little real support from the rest of the club committee… good job Craig and the mod boys owe you a beer!

Thanks to Roger from CSL Containers for his continued support and it was great to have you there to see where you financial support goes! Also to Brian from BDC Engineering, whose support is instrumental in having us on the track, thanks mate.

Next event for Team Fox is a run at Waikaraka this weekend in support of the North Island Superstock champs. At time of writing it has not been confirmed what night we are running but I am sure they will let us know!

Saturday 7th March will see the team back at Stratty to support the boys in their King of the Mountain event, least we can do after they supported our event.

Saturday 15th March we plan to be in Wellington for the NZGP event, assuming it is still on!

See you at the track

Team Fox

Thanks to PallMall for the Images



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