King of the Mountain meeting
For once the weather man was bang on with his predictions of the weekend's weather. Rain Friday and clearing Saturday for Stratty and that is what we got.
The boys headed away Saturday morning not knowing if we would get the car dirty or not but on arriving to fine weather in Stratford we knew we would be racing for sure.
Numbers seemed to drop away as the week went on. Of the original 6 out of towners expected only 2 actually showed up, us and Crumpe. Good on Crumpe I reckon as the poor bugger has no crew and has to do everything himself. Hard enough racing at home with no crew let alone running all around the country so well done for making the effort mate, pity a few other Aucklanders didn't! If there are any Auckland based fans out there wanting to learn about mod racing and willing to get involved get hold of Phil by way of his website and put your hands up to crew for the poor bugger!!
Right to the racing, even though there were only 2 visitors, it was a 10 car field with 8 locals. 1nz, 3nz, 4s, 10s, 11a, 11s, 12s, 36a, 55s and 121s. The 3 race championship format was used with the winner being the guy with the most points after the 3 heats.
Race 1 - Foxy was off 6. Stratty is known as being a track where passing opportunities are limited once everyone gets up to speed, Saturday night was no different. The racing was hard, fast and, most importantly, clean. 55s Paul Ward shot out to an early lead from his front row start followed by 10s Willy Noonan. Mark Dixon in the 4s machine started attacking them from his grid 3 start with the 11s of Merv Julian moving into 4th. Foxy made his way into 5th. As the laps ran down Dicko made some good passes on both the 10s and 55s cars and took the lead. Both Merv and Foxy were able to get past Willy in the 10s machine, pushing Willy back to 5th. That is the way they finished. 4s (grid 3), 55s (grid 2), 11s (grid 5), 11a (grid 6), 10s (grid 1), 1nz (grid 9). This made Jacko in the 1nz machine the biggest mover in the race, up 3 places. Foxy set the fastest lap.
Race 2 - Foxy was off 1. 121 Stuart Rose had grid 2. Dicko was off 8. Paul Ward was off grid 7. Merv was leaving from 10. Bunter in the 3nz machine went from 3 and Jacko from 4. Stuart and Foxy were side by side all the way down the straight at the start with Foxy just getting his nose in front at the corner. Foxy slowly started pulling out a bit of a gap from the field. Mid race Jacko found a way past Stuart and started to give chase to Foxy. The gap slowly started to close but the race ended before Jacko got close enough to attempt a pass. Dicko made a late pass on Willy to come home in 5th. Finishing order 11a (grid 1), 1nz (4), 121s (2), 3nz (3), 4s (8), 10s (6).
With one heat to go the points were close. Foxy led with 17 points but a grid 9 start. Dicko was 2nd on points with 16 and a grid 6 start. Jacko was 3rd on 14 points and grid 3 start. Simple task for us, just pass Dicko and get within 2 places of Jacko to win! Pretty big ask on a track offering very few opportunities.
The racing in the 3rd heat was great to watch with battles everywhere. Bunter in the 3nz machine got a great start from his grid 5 start and took the lead. Jacko was holding down 2nd comfortably. All the action was further back in the pack. Foxy, Paul Ward, Dicko, Willy and Merv were having a battle royal for track position with Foxy coming out on top. By mid race Foxy had moved his way past the other guys and was running in 4th, just behind Stuart in the 121s machine. What was most important was that he had got past Dicko and could see that Jacko was running just in front of Stuart. This meant Foxy could afford to just cruise and take no risks. Knowing the event was won he just backed off the bumper of Stuart and bought the car home in 4th. Finishing order 3nz (5), 1nz (3), 121s (7), 11a (9).
This gave Foxy the title with 24 points, 1 ahead of Jacko with the 121s machine of Stuart rounding out the top 3. The result was very satisfying for our team as it showed the car is starting to get more competitive. Beating the current 1nz and 3nz in both Auckland and Stratford in the last 2 outings is great and shows we are on the right track.
Thanks to Cheezel, Ricky and the Stratford club for arranging the event and with the plan to make this an annual event we intend to be back. The class needs more of these promotions to keep interest in the class. Stratford have shown they are serious about supporting the class and, if the plans to revamp the racing surface in the off season pan out as they hope, Stratty could be home to some of the best mod racing next season. Good luck boys!
Team Fox track down to Wellington this coming weekend for the NZGP event. With no damage incurred at Stratty we gratefully accepted the offer to leave the racecar at a lockup in Hawera for the week to make next weeks travel a little easier. Thanks to the boys for arranging it for us.
Unfortunately we have finished racing at our local track this season with the last 2 nights of mod racing scheduled at the park clashing with commitments elsewhere (running against the NZGP in Wgtn this weekend for one!). This has meant we have only raced at home 3 times this season which is far from ideal. We are big on quality meets vs quantity of meets but to be honest this season at Waikaraka we believe we have had neither. The only event of any substance for the class at home this season was the Dirt Cup and this was only really saved from being a total shambles by the drivers themselves raising some extra funds to allow for a barely acceptable travel and prizemoney payout. If this situation looks like being repeated next season we will really need to question the benefits of registering at the park.
Remaining dates for Team Fox.
See you at the track.