Season #26 underway for Foxy.
Hi folks and welcome to the home of Team Fox for the start of another racing season. Lets all hope the weather gods are friendlier this season than they were last year!
Foxy decided on a bit of a new (all be it, old!) look this year and thanks need to go to Paul Vazey for the hard work he put into creating the new body we are running. Opinion has been mixed about how people feel about it with the older generation positive about the change while some of the newer generation is not sure (some of them have probably never heard of an Anglia let alone know what it should look like!). Hopefully we will be able to add some photos later but at the moment we don't have any!! Rest assured the body is here to stay for the season so you people who don't like it better get use to seeing it around!
We want to welcome back, and thank, our sponsors right from the start. All bar none are back on board again this season with most having been with us since day dot. Hopefully we will not disappoint them this season and we aim to once again be at the pointy end of the field. Please remember these people if you are ever in the market for the types of services they offer. I am sure that Roger from CSL Containers, Brian from BDC Engineering, Ron from Salter's cartage, Robbie from STL Linehaul and the team here at Fastening Solutions will be more than willing to help you with the services they offer if they are able to. Without these companies we wouldn't be in the sport we are in.
The off season has thrown up some positives and negatives for our class. I think a positive is the appointment of Bruce Robertson and his team from Palmerston North Speedway to a promotion type role at Waikaraka. I have no doubt he will have challenges over the season, as Auckland is not Palmerston North, but given the right support from the competitors and club members I think it is a smart move. The track has been screaming out for years for someone to come in with the right skill set to push this business along to where it has the potential to go. Let's not kid ourselves, speedway in general, and Waikaraka in particular, is a business and it needs to be run like one, to not just grow but to survive. Team Fox wish them well this year and rest assured we will do what we can to make sure we contribute to the show that gets put on week after week.
I can confirm that Fastening Solutions has agreed to stand by its deal with regard sponsorship of the Modified Dirt Cup for the season and that Bruce and his team are on board with the intention of making it a night to remember for the modified class. It is up to the drivers now to support it and make sure we show our class in a positive light. A $15k travel/prizemoney pool is available for the event which makes it the richest modified event of the season. After last years dramas and non events with trying to get the thing run we hope for better luck this season in crowning a new champion. The date of this event has still to be confirmed with initial planned dates having to be changed due to other tracks decisions on dates for their events. Watch this space!
A negative for the class is the decision by Huntly to drop the class from their calendar this season, instead opting for the Sprintcars. This is disappointing but in some ways not surprising. This will be the first season that I can remember where we will not run at a Huntly track and also means that we do not get the opportunity to go for 5 Waikato Mod Champ titles in a row….bummer!
On the flipside to the Huntly decision, it is great to see that the new promotion at Baypark have scheduled a Modified invitation meeting in this season. The first year Baypark opened the mods ventured down for an invitation run but the skies opened up prior to us getting on the track and the meeting was canned. This is as close as the mods have got to having a skid. This season we are invited back in February and we are looking forward to it.
The plan at this stage is to compete at the major title events. This will mean trips to Wellington for the NZ title and Stratford for the North Island title. We are committed to Rotorua for the BOP Champs, tentatively set down for December, and also their annual Easter event. Lets again hope that the weather plays the game, unlike last season. Whangarei is another track we will visit this year, again in December, for their 30 lap event. We are looking forward to it. At this stage this is pretty much it for us with meetings at Waikaraka filling up the rest of our schedule, these meetings include the Auckland Champs, New Zealand GP and of coarse the Dirt Cup. A decision on other events like Stratford's King of the Mountain meeting and the Taranaki Champs / Ginge Heywood memorial are still to be decided on as we are waiting on information from the Stratford club, we would love to support these meetings like we have always done but the decision on if we do will be driven by decisions the club themselves make.
On to opening night, Saturday had us at Waikaraka for Auckland's grand opening. The weather looked dodgy all day but we were lucky and we got the meeting in. 8 mods were in attendance: 3nz, 6a, 25a, 29a, 36a, 78a, 81a, 105a. This isn't bad for opening night. 36a and 105a chose to start from the rear in the first 2 races and with a marbledraw and reverse in play we had grid 1 for heat 1 and grid 6 for heat 2. Foxy got the jump on 78a in the first heat and streaked away for a comfortable win. Heat 2 had the only drama of the night when Ray in 78a and Foxy came together which unfortunately resulted in Ray ending up on his roof after a vicious roll. Purely a racing incident but not one you like to see at any meeting, let alone the first one of the season! Ray walked away ok but the 78a machine will need a bit of work to get back out on the track. On the restart the leading 29a machine was black flagged for excessive smoke, the officials had decided that the smoking problem had contributed to the crash but I am not so sure, anyway with Wadey on the infield this left BJ in front in the 6a machine. This didn't last long as Foxy executed a great pass in cemetery bend and then pulled away for another comfortable win.
To make things interesting for the feature it was decided that they would handicap Foxy behind the rest of the field. We didn't realise by how much until they put the grid board out and we found ourselves starting a full lap down! We were expecting maybe ½ a lap but to try and catch and pass these guys starting a full lap down in a 12 lap race was going to be challenging. Foxy would need to be about 1-1/2 seconds quicker than them per lap which in our class is a lot. After a couple of restarts we got underway and Foxy was making steady progress. At about 1/3rd distance Foxy was about ½ lap behind when the caution lights were thrown. Foxy kept the distance to the leaders the same under the caution and then once again gave chase when we went green. With about 2 laps to run Foxy caught the leaders and made the passes he needed to. Once in front we once again pulled away. This gave us 3 from 3 for the night and a positive start for the season.
Hopefully over the next few weeks a few more cars will front up with the likes of 64a, 21a, 99a, 33a, 7a, 19a and 72a still to make it. This would give us 15 Auckland cars which would be fantastic.
The next meeting for Team Fox is not known at the moment. Auckland is running again this weekend but we are not sure if mods are on the program or not. This will become clearer later tonight and if they are then we will be there.
See you at the track!