Happy (wet) New Year!!
We seem to have a repeat of this time last year with the crappy weather, one has to wonder if we are just going to have to realise that summer now starts in Feb and ends in March!!
To be fair, the mod class has escaped reasonably unscathed this year with no major events planned until late Jan initially then a mad panic from mid Feb on.
Of the 4 meetings planned for Team Fox over the extended Xmas period we have got only 2 of them run. Whangarei’s 30 lapper was rained off with us about ½ way up (was a nice drive anyway!) and Auckland’s attempt to run the Superstock GP was abandoned without a wheel being turned either night of the planned event. Mods were down to run on finals night. This event has been rescheduled to Feb with talk of the Whangarei meeting being put out to April due to a packed calendar. If the mods suffer any rain outs in Feb/March then we are in strife as major mod meetings are scheduled for every weekend already, bar none, from mid Feb to Easter!! There are simply no rain dates available. Fingers crossed the weather settles down before then.
Anyway, of the two meetings we did get in one was away and one was at home. The first of these was the BOP Modified Champs in Rotorua. This was held on the finals night of the NZ Stockcar champs. The weather was dodgy but we got it done. After some late withdrawals in the field we were left with only 9 starters. The guys in attendance were 3nz, 5s, 12s, 36a, 55s, 64a, 77s, 78a and 81a. Format was the standard 3 heat front / middle / back deal.
Racing for the most part was pretty tame (apart from the last heat which turned out to be a fight for survival) with Foxy taking the title by 2 points from 55s Paul Ward and the 12s machine of Jason Kalin rounding out the top 3. It was a pity that some of the other guys didn’t front to add a bit more interest to the meeting but these things happen I suppose.
The other meeting we got in was at home as support to the DHL Saloons. The track was absolutely stuffed. Nothing has been done to the surface at Waikaraka for a number of years and it is really starting to show. Right from the first race on the night dust was being thrown up and it didn’t get any better, the track ending up being a one lane, slick dustbowl. There is no doubt some serious work needs to be done to fix the track surface issues we have but I seriously doubt anything can be done this season. The mods events later in the season will no doubt be impacted by this. Anyway, it was pleasing to see 10 local cars front on the night which is our best turnout this season.
To spice things up a bit we had a change to the normal format. Two heat races for points (marble and reverse). Highest points would start off the rear for the feature and he would get to choose the car next to him. This guy would choose the next car and so on and so on. In effect the class would self handicap itself. This was the plan anyway! I have no idea what drugs some of our guys were smoking on the night but it is fair to say that they have no idea on how to handicap a race! Foxy was the highest point’s scorer with a 1st and a 2nd and he chose Brian Jesen in the 6a car to start next to him off the rear. BJ has started to show the form that has been missing so far this season and we believed he was going the best of the rest on the night. From here on in the self handicapping went to the pack with BJ picking the 36a machine of Crumpy to start next and Crumpy picked 29a Mark Wade. Somehow 64a Grant Harris was picked to leave from grid 5 and Ray Chatfield in the 78a machine got to leave from grid 1 even after he had won one of the earlier races!! Given form on the night both these guys should have been at the rear with BJ and us. What it has proven is that you can’t let the mods drivers self handicap a race, that is for sure!
As it happened it didn’t really make much of a difference to us. We had already decided to use the night as a testing night to try a radical set-up on the slick track that we had been given. Suffice to say our set-up did not work so we can throw that one away! Our times were nearly a full second slower than what we have been running at Waikaraka and that bought us back to the field. This set-up idea had been in our minds for a while so at least now we have tried it and proven it doesn’t work we can go back to refining what has been working for us knowing we are on the right path.
The next outing for us is the NZ Champs in Wellington. I really hope the weather plays the game as we can’t hang around after the Monday due to work commitments etc. If the meeting loses a day we are toast. It would be a real pity if weather dictated the result for this event, and not the drivers.
See you in a sunny Wellington on the 21st (hopefully!!)