Up, up and away!!
Saturday had Team Fox at Waikaraka Parks opening night of the season and it was an ideal low key start for Foxys 25th year running a modified.
8 mods were on hand for night 1 and they were: 1nz, 6a, 19a, 25a, 29a, 33a, 36a and 64a. It was great to see Chris Drube back in the 33a machine after a year off last year and lets hope he has a decent run this year without the problems he had a couple of seasons back that resulted in him needing to take last year off. New blood was on show with young Bradley Lane strapping in to the 19a machine made famous around the tracks by his old man Scotty Lane. The word is that they will share the drives this season and Bradley did not look out of place in the first 2 heats (Scotty jumped in the seat for heat 3). I don't think it will take long until we see Bradley featuring at the pointy end of the field. Scotty on the other hand is one from one with regard the officials after being called up to race control in his first skid for doing his best crowd pleasing donut action on the burn out pad after the race had finished, apparently prior permission is required so naughty boy! LOL. The crowd loved it though!!
By the time we got on the track we were down to 7 with the #25a machine suffering clutch issues while out on the wheel pack. Being double points, it was decided we would run a standard 3 heat championship format with front/middle/back starts. Foxy drew grid 2 for the first heat on the outside of the 33a machine. This would leave us grid 6 in the 2nd heat and grid 6 again in the last heat.
Heat 1 was uneventful up until about ¾ distance. Foxy duly won the start and quickly moved out to about a half lap lead, back in the pack Crumpie in the 36a Red Cat machine was having a ding dong battle with Wadey in the 29a car when he rode Wadey's right rear entering cemetery bend and boy was it a case of up, up and away!! When he came to a stop the whole car was sitting up on the wall, luckily the safety fence did its job and kept the car out of the crowd but it was the best example of parallel parking I have seen for some time! It was great to see Phil climb out without a scratch but the same cannot be said for the 36a machine. Serious damage was evident to the chassis and Phil now has some work to do to get back out on the track. Not what the doctor ordered for the first race of the season!!
With Crumpie on the side line we were now down to 6 cars. The 25a car and the 36a car were supposed to start in grids 3 and 4 in heat 2 but with them out for the night there was a gap left when the guys gridded up. 29a and 6a left from 1 and 2 and 33a and 1nz left from 5 and 6. 19 left from the back. Chris and Foxy made sure they left the gap for the missing cars and we got underway. BJ shot to the lead in the 6a machine with Wadey giving chase. Foxy moved into 3rd and quickly rounded in Wadey. Once past he gave chase to the 6a machine. Being only 8 laps there was not much time but Foxy pulled him in and the last 3-4 laps were all about BJ trying to defend his position and Foxy trying to find a way past. BJ won the battle and was able to hold on for the win. Result: 6a, 1nz, 29a, 33a, 64, 19.
Heat 3 once again had us leaving from grid 6 but with the cars missing, the grid looked a little out of kilter. Cars were missing from grids 1 and 3 and with 19 going off the rear there was also no one on grid 4 as well. This left 64a running from grid 2, Foxy from grid 6 and the rest were behind us! Foxy got a great start and was able to pull in the 64a machine quickly, pulling off an impressive outside pass entering turn 1. Heading out of turn 2 Foxy was gone and he left the rest fighting over the minor placings. By race end Foxy nearly had a ¾'s of a lap lead and what was most pleasing was that his lap times were on par with heat 1 of the night, given the deteriorating track conditions, this was excellent to see. Result: 1nz, 64a, 6a, 33a, 29a, 19a.
There we have it, night 1 done and dusted. 3 starts for 2 wins and a 2nd. The car is looking good and we have potential to go better. We are still fine tuning the setup to accommodate for the changes we have made to the engine and the running gear during the off season so we think we still have enough improvements to make to consistently run in the high 14s / low 15s around the Park. Given that Foxy was the only car last year to run in the 14's at any meeting, we feel if we can get to this level and run there in all 3 races on any given night then the challengers will need to be on top of their game to beat us. Sounds like an easy plan, carrying it out may be the hard bit!!
Next outing for us is uncertain at this stage. Waikaraka do not run this weekend but we will be back there on November 13th for the Fireworks show. There is talk about the mods possibly fronting at Huntly this w eekend for their fireworks show and if this eventuates then we will be there.