Turning back the clock! - 15 Dec 2012
Saturday night had the mods at Baypark Speedway for the second ever time. This time we would actually be running for a title, the inaugural Baypark Modified Champs.
16 cars fronted which is the biggest field assembled so far this season. Most of the top runners from the North Island were present and hats must go off to 4c Mike Gourley who made the massive effort of coming up all the way from Christchurch for this meeting. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him after the meeting but I would be surprised if he hadn’t enjoyed the experience! Cars in attendance were 1nz, 4c, 6s, 11a, 13a, 19a, 21a, 31s, 36a, 55s, 71s, 72s, 77s, 78a, 105a and 226s.
The racing on the night was superb, if you came away from Saturday night’s meeting nonplussed with the modified racing then you must be hard to please, it was some of the best mod racing I have seen for a very long time.
The track was drier and slicker than our first outing last year and this made the racing a tad slower. Fastest lap of the night in the mods was Foxy with a pretty average 16.01 effort in heat 1. This is over half a second slower than last year. Format was simple, 2 x 12 lap point racers (marbledraw and reverse). Highest points had lane choice off the front for a 20 lap, winner take all, final title race.
Foxy dominated heat 1 coming home 2nd from a grid 11 start. Along the way he passed some top contenders including 4c, 226s, 31s, 1nz and 72s amongst others. By the end of the race Foxy was closing in rapidly on race leader Jacko in the 71s machine but the laps ran out before he was close enough to mount a challenge, still a great result from our rear start. Heat 2 had us starting from grid 6 and we still had a bit of work to do if we wanted to be top qualifier. Guys in front of us were 21a on pole, 55s on 2, 19a on 3 and 77s on 4. 21a failed to show which gave Scotty in the 19a a bit of an advantage at the start (in effect giving him a grid 1 start when we got underway). As expected he used this to his advantage and shot out to the lead. As the race settled down, Foxy was able to pass the 77s machine on lap 2 and the 55s machine on lap 4, moving into 2nd. Scotty had built up a bit of a lead out front and Foxy gave chase. With laps running down Foxy got close enough to have a wee dive down the inside in turn 3 but Scotty had the momentum out wide and was able to retain his lead coming off the turn, once Scotty knew Foxy was there he effectively did enough to keep ahead and take the win. Foxy came home 2nd.
On totaling up the points, Foxy was a clear 3 point winner from Jacko in the 71s (2 x 2nds vs 1 x 1st and 1 x 6th). This gave us lane choice, problem is no one told the person doing the griddraws! As the guys were getting ready to head out the grids came out and they showed Foxy leaving from 1. We wanted lane 2 so when this was explained to the official they said no problem, we will change it. They did so and advised Jacko of the change and that he would now leave from grid 1. Problem is they didn’t tell the others so on entering the track there was confusion about where the guys on row 2 were supposed to start. Scotty who was supposed to start from grid 3 obviously believed he could start behind Foxy as this is what was on the board so he was determined he was going to start from grid 4. This caused confusion through the front of the field because Mike Gourley in the 4c was doing all he could to get into his grid 4 position but Scotty was there! This caused confusion on the row behind with Farron and Bunter as well. Instead of stopping the race and telling Scotty to grid up in position 3 they just decided to start the race and Scotty took full advantage by pushing his way in between Jacko and Foxy entering turn 1. Coming off turn 2 they were 3 wide and Foxy run out of room hitting the wall, Scotty hit the front. What ensued from here on were 17 laps of all out war between Scotty and Foxy. Both these guys pulled away from Jacko who was running 3rd and entered into their own private battle. Scotty was running the outside line where we had set our car up to run and this meant Foxy had to run the low line, for 17 laps these guys were side by side lap after lap. Scotty had the advantage of momentum through the turns where as Foxy had the advantage of drive coming off the turns. These guys have had battles on and off for years but not for a while, this one was a throw back to years gone by and was proving to be a doozey with both respecting each others position, racing clean but also with neither one backing off in the slightest. As the laps counted down it was looking more and more like Foxy was getting the upper hand and this proved to be the case when with 3 to run Foxy finally cleared Scotty and started to eek out a lead, by race end Foxy had it by a handful of car lengths, What a race! To be honest it didn’t matter who won, both were given warm applause for their efforts and both had smiles on their faces that stayed put for a fair few hours after the race end. This was one of those races you witness on very few occasions and is the reason we are still in the sport.
I think it is fair to say that very few guys have been able to run wheel to wheel with Foxy for a long time, this is even more obvious amongst the Auckland cars but Scotty drove like he did seasons ago and really made Foxy work the hardest he has had to for a very long time. If this continues it is great for the Auckland modified class as it means that Auckland has more than 1 real contender come SNZ titles time.
Saturday was by far and away the hardest regional title we have won for a number of years and therefore it is one of the most satisfying ones. We would have held our heads high coming away with 2nd on the night such was the way Scotty raced but we were are very happy to have claimed the first Baypark Modified title. Thanks to Roger from CSL Containers who made the effort to haul on down to watch the event (and shout the team a few cold ones after the meeting), without the support from Roger at CSL Containers and Brian from BDC Engineering we wouldn’t be racing it is plain and simple. I know Roger had a great night and enjoyed the show so thanks to Baypark for putting it on.
Next meeting for Team Fox is the North Island Champs in Rotorua, form at Baypark will mean absolutely nothing when we front in a couple of weeks in Vegas and if we are being honest it is fair to say that the guy with the most luck will most likely win this event, not necessarily the fastest or best car. After this event our next outing is for the NZ title in Stratty, this too has the potential to be a bit of a lottery but nothing new either! We are heading into both these meeting pretty confident in the way we are going. We know we have a fast car and a driver who is in the zone and feeling confident. If this will end up being enough to stand on top of the podium in the coming weeks time will tell, at least we can put our hand on hearts and say we have done everything we can and what happens from here is in the hands of the racing god, hopefully he smiles on us!!
Good luck to the guys heading up to Whangarei this weekend for the annual 30 lapper. This event is now apparently doubling up as the CTRA NZ Mod champs so come Sunday there will be a new NZ champ of some sorts! Sorry we can’t make it but timing can’t be helped.
Have a great Xmas and be careful out there. Thanks for your support and we will see you all in the New Year somewhere around the traps.