Out and about.
Double header this week folks as I have been unable to get an update done since my last “rant”.
After the debacle that was the Auckland Champs, we headed down to Huntly on March 19th for the Waikato Champs. Unfortunately, due to all the rainouts, the Stratty boys who had planned to attend had to pull out to run at home. With no local guys fronting, this left an all Auckland cast to fight it out for the title. 10 guys ventured down state highway 1 and they were; 3nz, 6a, 21a, 22a, 25a, 29a, 36, 56a, 64a and 78a.
Mods were out first race and I will admit to being a bit concerned given the combination of a slippery track and the crazy driving some had showed the week before. Maybe my rant worked, I am not sure, but it was pleasing to see that everyone drove to the conditions and there were no incidents. Foxy didn't get a great start, finding every wet patch on the track that he could. This enabled the 6a and 22a machines to get past him before he was able to gain some sort of control. It took the better part of the race for the track to offer some of racing line and Foxy stayed out wide for the entire race. After a handful of laps he was able to get back past 22a and set his sights on chasing down Brian in the 6a mod who had shot out to a healthy lead. An element of luck came into play when Brian slowed heading into the back markers, this hesitation proved costly and Foxy simply drove around the outside of both Brian and Crumpy in the 36a to take the lead on the last lap. Finish order was 3nz, 6a, 22a, 64a, 56a, 78a and 25a. 21a did finish the race but was later disqualified from the event after heat 3 for running an illegal right rear tyre.
Heat 2 and it was our turn off the rear. We set the car up to make passes early knowing that as the track went off we would lose speed. This worked out well and Foxy was soon running 3rd on the track. Glen in 22a and Nathan in the 56a machine were both hauling along well and we were not able to really challenge them late in the race. Finish order; 22a, 56a, 3nz, 6a, 36a, 29a.
Heading into the deciding heat we were tied with 22a on points and with a front row start it was ours to lose. 22a was down to leave from the rear. A conservative setup approach was taken and Foxy won the start and left it to the rest to fight it out for the minor placings. Glen in the 22a mod was going well in this one and he was able to pass Brian in the 6a mod and temporarily move into 2nd. As the track slickened off, and on the last lap, he over cooked it entering turn 1-2 and both the 6a mod and 56a machine were able to get back past him. Finish order; 3nz, 6a, 56a, 22a, 29a.
In the final wash-up Foxy was a clear winner in taking out his 4th Waikato Mod champs title on the trot. After the fiasco the week previous, we were pretty happy. Glen Lloyd had a great night taking 2nd place followed by Brian Jesen in the 6a machine.
March 26th was supposed to the Dirt Cup….. 3rd time we tried!! Bugger!!
April 2nd had us venture down to Stratty for the 2nd attempt to run their Taranaki Champs / Ginge Heywood memorial meeting. The first attempt was back in December and this ended up being an expensive beer drinking trip and little else. We had our fingers crossed we would get to run this time. As it turns out the weather was fantastic and the meeting never looked in threat. 14 mods fronted for this one with 10 locals and 4 visitors from Auckland. Cars in attendance were; 1nz, 3nz, 4s, 5s, 8s, 12s, 22s, 25a, 44s, 56a, 64a, 67s, 72s and 226s. We had already had one successful trip down to Stratty this season when we took on 19 cars to win the King of the Mountain title; we planned to carry on this momentum.
Heat 1 and things didn't start well for us. Mods were 2nd out on the night and Foxy drew grid 14 for this one. Dead last! The track was a little too slippery for the mods really and being only 10 lap sprint races, it didn't leave much time for passing. In the wash-up the top 6 cars on the grid finished in the order that they started. Jacko in the 1nz machine was looking like he was going to finish about 8th from his grid 9 start until the 8s machine of Sean Rice had a moment on the last lap that buggered both him and the 56a machine of Nathan Robertson up and this allowed Jacko to squeak through. Foxy didn't get the opportunity to follow him and we came home in a lowly 9th place. This made Foxy the biggest mover in the race! We knew from here on in it was going to be difficult to retain our Taranaki Champs title. Finish order; 4s, 226s, 67s, 72s, 12s, 1nz, 8s, 56a, 3nz.
Heat 2 and we were down to leave from grid 7. Things didn't get much better for us in this one as a loose radiator hose caused a water/anti-freeze mixture to spray into Foxy's face the entire race! Foxy spent so much of the race keeping a close eye on the water temperature while trying to see where he was going with water spraying into his visor that he couldn't concentrate on the race. He was able to bring the car home in 5th spot.
Heading into heat 3 we knew we were well out of it. We could have sat in the pits and known we would get a front row spot for the Ginge Heywood but we have said it before and I will say it again, this isn't what we are about. Foxy took the start line in his grid 1 starting position and there was a gap on 2. At the first attempt to start the race he had a shocker, hitting a wet patch that allowed both the 8s and 67s mods to pass him. Luckily for us an incident back in the pack caused a restart and he didn't make the mistake twice! This race had a fair amount of stoppages and it wasn't long before the running order was 3nz, 67s, 1nz and 4s. There were a lot of laps left to run and we expected things to now get interesting! As it turned out Foxy was never really threatened and the car had good speed. On every start he was able to slowly creep away from Bunter in the 67s machine who in turn was able to do likewise to Jacko in the 1nz mod. Jacko too, was able to clear out from Dicko in the 4s machine.
The final wash-up was a very comfortable win the for title to Mark Dixon in the 4s machine. His 1st, 2nd and 4th results were easily enough to take the title and after 20 years of trying he has finally won a well deserved Taranaki Mod Champs title, good on ya mate! Jacko finished 2nd and Bunter rounded out the podium in 3rd. Foxy came home in 4th place and given how the night was going for us we were pleased with the result.
This left us with 1 final race on the night. The 15 lap Ginge Heywood Memorial. Now readers of this site will know what this memorial race means to us. We have been trying to win it since year 1 given Ginge was a great mate to Foxy and the team. We have been close a few times and just missed out last year finishing 2nd from the rear. As you all know the starting positions for this one are based on a reverse grid from the Taranaki Champs results. The grid this year looked a bit disjointed based on this scenario as 2 or 3 of the guys had been naughty during the night according to the referees and had been told, due to this, they had to start from the rear. This still lumped all the more favoured guys together but instead of them all leaving right off the rear, they were all more in the middle! Grid starts were; 5s, 56a, 226s, 8s, 12s, 3nz, 67s, 1nz, 4s.
To say Foxy was pleased to win this event is an understatement, it meant a hell of a lot to him and the emotion showed by both he and Nicky (Ginge's widow) at the prizegiving was evident in that. Nicky has been waiting for years to present this title to Foxy and Foxy has been waiting years to win it. A lengthy hug was the order of business and a few tears were evident in the speech. Smiles ensued all night and after a couple of cold ones we all went away happy.
I would like to take the opportunity to give the team at the Amity Court Motel a bit of a plug. David and the team here do the right thing by speedway folk. They understand the issues around rain outs and have an unwritten policy of making sure Speedway folk are not out of pocket if reservations have to be cancelled on the day due to rainout issues. All of us know how important this is given the costs to race out of town. It is pleasing to know that when you book with these guys and a rainout ensues they won't automatically charge you! Talk to them. I recommend all Speedway folks book with these guys when you head to Stratty, they are pretty much right across the street from the track, have very good facilities and fantastic showers (useful given the dust issues at the track!). Next time you are heading to Stratty and need a place to stay give David a ring on 06 765-4496 and say Team Fox recommended them, I am sure David will look after you.
This weekend we are going for attempt number 4 for the Dirt Cup!! Due to all the postponements we have lost a few guys from the original list we had but we still hope to have a 20 car field. The original plan to run only 4 classes on the night has had to be changed as well simply down to the amount of race nights left and the amount of events that still need to be run! Over $12.5k is up for the mods this weekend, making it once again the richest modified event on the race calendar. There is also over $8k up for grabs for the Superstocks as well who will now be racing for both the Auckland Superstock Champs and the Olly Browne Memorial. The plan is to run 3 heats for the Auckland title and then a one race, reverse grid race for the Olly Browne. Win the Auckland Champs and you leave from the rear in the Olly Browne. Winner of the Auckland title pockets a cool $1000.00 ($4550.00 total prizepool) while the winner of the 1 race Olly Browne pockets $1500.00 ($3800.00 total prizepool). As long as you start in both the Auckland Champs and the Olly Browne you are guaranteed $150.00. Not too bad so I hope the Superstock boys show up in numbers. Any one reading this who knows any drivers, let them know and if they are interested ring Vazey on 021 413084 to book your spot.
Also on the program for the night is the Bash for Cash for Stockcars and the Auckland champs for both the Saloon and Streetstock classes.
See you at the track Saturday………. Hopefully!!!!!!!!!