Not much to write about!! - 12 Dec 2013
Sorry for the lack of updates but the reality is that there hasn’t been much to report on!!
By now we should be full on into the new racing season but as we sit here today the 1nza modified has only hit the track once in anger this season and that was at Huntly a few weeks ago as part of their anniversary celebrations. With only 6 cars fronting, and that reducing to only 2 mobile cars after the first last of the feature, there was hardly much to get excited about.
Since then we have endured rain outs and stand downs. Mod numbers running in the North Island are dismal so far this season so that hasn’t helped too get us on the program at Waikaraka in any regularity. The two times mods have run at home we have had prior commitments (dates were not part of the original calendar we were given so we have missed them).
This Saturday we are supposed to be heading down to Baypark for the modifieds annual skid in the Bay. Weather forecast for Saturday at this stage is not flash for Saturday afternoon so who knows if this will happen or not. Last car count I heard was a miserable 10 cars, which again is nothing to write home about, but the reality is we need some track time! Big thanks need to go to Luke in the 1nzc mod who is making the big trip up from Christchurch for the meeting.
We are only 4 weeks out from the NZ Champs in Christchurch and racing opportunities between now and then are minimal due to the silly season. If this weekends meeting gets rained off, it is highly likely that we will head into the biggest meeting of the year having only raced once in a field of 6 cars. As you can imagine this is less than ideal!
I have no idea what the issue in the North Island is this season, for some reason the class just feels lethargic. Numbers are low over the whole Island. The most Auckland have been able to front with is about 7-8 cars and this was opening night. Two cars were lost for the season by the end of the night with major engine problems so since then we just haven’t been able to muster the numbers to convince the promoters to run the class. Numbers may increase after Xmas but the question needs to be asked “Why can’t guys be ready at the start of the season?” They have a good 6 months from one season to the next so surely you would think this was ample time?
To be fair this isn’t just an issue in Auckland. Numbers are down in Stratty as well but not by as much. Wellington hasn’t been able to muster more than 1 mobile car if the information I am hearing is correct and we are heading into Xmas!!
The one shining star in the class at the moment is the South Island numbers. I believe that 17 cars fronted last weekend for the Canterbury Champs and I would expect that this number of cars would have been unheard of in previous years for this event. There are a lot of good young guys coming through down on the mainland and the investments have been made. The racing is competitive and due to the strong numbers the promoters and sponsors are getting right in behind the class to support it. There is an air of excitement around and you get the feeling that there is a confidence building in their ability to not only have one of their guys win the NZ title down at the Glen in January for the first time, but go a step further and completely dominate the podium. Given the lack of numbers that look to be heading down form the North this season, and the leaps and bounds the local guys have taken in the last 12 months, this is a real possibility.
As we sit here today it looks like we are the only Auckland car heading down to the title. A NZ title with only 1 Auckland registered car is unheard of in my time in the sport and is a pretty sad indictment of where we are at. Numbers heading down from Stratty are not much better with only 2 guys making the effort so far. Thanks need to go to Farron, Bunter and Willy from Eagle Automotive for making the commitment; hopefully a few more will follow. So far this is it!! Not 1 Wellington car entered (the way things are looking they couldn’t get a meeting in to qualify even if they get ready!). This leaves a field dominated by SI cars.
I get the distinct feeling that the modified class in the North Island is at a crossroads. What direction it takes will become evident next season. Auckland has the NZ title next season and if this can’t excite the competitors in the upper North Island to get out on the track then nothing will. Auckland use to be able to front with 12-15 cars on a regular basis and at the moment I think we would struggle to front with half this number. To be fair it isn’t just the mod competitors that need to lift their games, it is the promoters as well. When Waikaraka race calendar was put out prior to the start of the season it showed the mods having only 2-3 runs from the start of the season to early February. Hardly something to encourage guys to get their cars ready! The Auckland club is mounting a massive push to get Superstock numbers up as they are the promoters passion and fair dues to him but what works at other tracks may not necessarily work everywhere (I think crowd numbers this year at meetings other than the always successfully Fireworks night would support this). Good money is on offer on a weekly basis for the superstocks regardless of numbers and they are also scheduled for every meeting. This has resulted in more Auckland superstocks fronting but how many are actually new competitors? The corresponding side is that car numbers are down dramatically in the mods, the saloons and super saloons. The super saloon numbers are a real worry with them having the NZ title this season. If they can’t muster the local numbers for this year with the chance to run it at home, when will they?!
Seems to me we have a bit of a chicken and egg situation; Promoter wants guaranteed numbers to run the classes and the classes want guaranteed meetings and fair prizemoney to make the commitment. Who blinks first! The promoter did with the superstocks; will he do it for the other classes as well?? Time will tell I suppose.
Anyway enough for now. Hopefully Team Fox will see you at the Mount this weekend, weather permitting, and then it will be Christchurch here we come (who would have thought that we would be 3 months into the season and would be running at a South Island track before running at home!). First meeting for us at Waikaraka for the season looks to be the Dirt Cup on Feb 22nd. Not many sleeps until that one! Ha!
We wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe and keep the racing to the track.