Carnage everywhere and this was just the mods!!
Saturday night had team Fox as Palmy for the Manawatu Modified Champs. The mods were filling the undercard for the hugely popular Palmy Teams champs.
We would like to start by thanking Geoff from Lucas Oil in Palmerston who allowed us to leave our trailer etc at their place all week and then gave us time on Saturday to work on the car and get it ready. We would have hated to be stuck outside working on the car on Saturday given the heat! Thanks mate it was greatly appreciated.
As a business owner it is common place to complete a Risk Management review before committing to any new opportunity and if I had to complete one before and/or after running at the weekend they both would have stated the same….. high risk / low reward.
The opportunity to race in front of such a huge crowd was something we were looking forward to though and it has been on our “bucket list” of things we wanted to accomplish before we give it all away so we ignored the risks side completely and went anyway.
In hindsight I should have found out in advance what the format was going to be on the night before committing us to attend. It is fair to say that if we had bought the car back up to Auckland after our trip to Wellington 2 weeks ago, instead of leaving it in Palmy; we would likely have pulled out of the event once we knew the format that was going to be used. Luckily only 16 cars fronted instead of the expected 19, but even this number of 16 is too many given the amount of laps we were to be given (10 lap heat races). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that the mods were present really as a program filler and that quite rightly the superstocks were the reason we were all there but I am making these comments solely with my mod hat on. It is fair to say that we would not front at any other track in the country for a title event knowing the car numbers and format being used would be what was used on Saturday, this is just a plain and simple fact.
The best chance to come out of this meeting at the pointy end was to draw a start in heat one somewhere near the front. We were down as race 2 on the night and the track was wet and slippery. The promised hot laps never eventuated and this in effect reduced the 10 lap first heat to a 3-4 lap sprint race after 6-7 laps of pretty much follow the leader stuff. If you had a rear start, bad luck. We had a rear start!
The grid draw was done by the officials on the night (no driver’s marbledraw) and this didn’t go well for us drawing grids 13, 5 and 7. Just what you didn’t want, 3 inside starts and 2nd row from the back in the all important heat 1 race.
Heading out for race 1 we pretty much knew we were going to be up against it and this proved to be the case. Foxy got a reasonable start given the conditions and was trying to find a way past an erratic 12s when he sustained huge damage from a hit by the 31s machine of Farron, ending our race. Farron came over after the race and apologised and although we were pretty grumpy initially, once we had time to reflect on it we couldn’t really blame him fully as the track really wasn’t good enough to have allowed the race to start anyway. As for Farron, well he was disqualified after the race by the officials as the cause of the incident so all it meant was that both his and our title aspirations were over after only a handful of laps.
At this point we really should have followed what our head said and that was to load the car up having no show of winning, but given we felt a little shortchanged we repaired the damage and went out in heat 2. Once again the first few laps were a waste of time given the water that was put down prior to getting underway and once again Foxy found himself trying to get past a 12s machine determined to use every inch of the track. The line Jason was running was interesting to say the least (some may consider it blocking), one minute he was mid track, next he was cutting down aggressively on pole and then he would move up the track as he went down the straight meaning there was no way around him (Foxy nudged the wall a few times early on trying to pass him but 9w got it even worse when he tried to pass him on the last lap!). Anyway, heading out of turn 2 a few laps in Foxy heard something break in the rear end while trying to get to the outside of Jason and this caused him to hit the wall hard on the back straight sustaining even more serious damage, race over. We are pretty sure that the damage incurred in heat 1 was the catalyst for the breakage in heat 2. It seems the right rear torsion arm twisted and stripped out causing the suspension to give way. This resulted in Foxy collecting the wall and sustaining diff, shock and Jacobs ladder damage. At this point we just looked at each other, had a little laugh and decided that it was obvious the racing gods were not on our side for the night so the smart thing to do was load the car up and go watch from the sidelines! All in all we completed 7 of the 20 scheduled laps of the first 2 heats, hardly something to get excited about.
There we have it folks, out worst meeting of the year where nothing went right and we trashed a lot of gear through no fault of our own. That’s racing but looking at it now I should have stuck to our original plans and given this meeting a miss. I knew that on paper it was a high risk meeting for possible damage but we went anyway so them’s the breaks.
Would we go down to the teams again? Hell yes! Would we go down to race again on teams weekend? Well…… probably not unless we knew we were running to a different format that lessened the risk of damage. 16 plus cars, 10 lap heat races, wet tracks and 3 heat formats do not a good, or fair, mix make!! Lesson learned.
Luckily we now have a month off to repair all the damage and our next scheduled meeting is March 9th for the Auckland modified champs. This is running on night 2 of Auckland’s teams champs and hopefully we get a better rub of the green for the format on the night otherwise we may have to give this meeting a miss and that would be unfortunate.
Our last event for the year will be the Modified Invasion in Christchurch. We have been able to get things in place that allow us to support this event and we are looking forward to it. It is highly unlikely we can win the event given we did not attend the first round in Wellington last week but we will venture down and try to have some fun regardless.
That’s it for now. I will confirm result of the SNZ appeal after we have had our hearing later this month and we will hopefully see you at Waikaraka on March 9th for the Auckland Modified Champs.