Mixed Bag - 22 Jan 2014
Gidday folks, Happy New Year!
Brief update this time as pretty busy.
Pre Xmas we had our normal annual run at Baypark. We were going for 3 in a row but dipped out to a very fast 1nzc Luke Keegan. A few things didn’t go our way but no excuses as we were beaten by a better car on the night. We left happy with 2nd.
Next run out was at Huntly the week before Xmas for the Waikato Champs. We were going for 5 in a row in this event and a smallish field of 8 cars fronted. Auckland and Stratty cars made up the bulk of the field and we were lucky enough to come away with the title in the final point’s wash-up.
Next up was the big trip down South to try and defend our NZ title. Most expected a two way shoot out between Foxy and Luke but we knew going down we would be up against it given the minimal track time we have had this year. We also knew that Luke would not be the only fast local car on the track! This all proved to be correct, and although we failed to finish due to a mechanical issue at the start of heat 2, the truth is we were shown up a bit by a few very strong and very fast South Island cars. The local field running down there at the moment is the envy of the class and the competitive racing week in and week out is having huge benefits for all drivers concerned. Congrats to Luke for taking it out on his home track, we know the pressure around these titles at home is huge so he deserves the accolades. Although his points haul would point to an easy victory. I think he will be the first to admit it wasn’t as easy as it looked. A challenging track and strong runs from 4-5 other locals kept him honest and things could have been different given an ounce of luck to a few of the other guys. Mike Gourley impressed and is the new 2nz and Hayden McKay also shone out winning the 3nz number after a great runoff with 88T Jason Scott. Well done guys.
The other meeting we have attended is the BOP Modified Champs held last weekend at Rotorua. We were a support class to the World 240 event and a huge crowd and good racing made the event a good one. 11 mods made the trip over with most of the faster North Island guys all in attendance. Standard 3 heat deal and we drew grids 6, 1 and 11. A bit of luck in heat 1 resulted in us hitting the lead early and we held that to the finish while others seem to be struggling on the track. Heat 2 and we had Bunter starting on the outside. Winning the start from grid 1 is never easy but Foxy managed too and started to pull out a small lead from Scotty who had worked his way past Bunter at the start as well. The lead looked comfortable until back markers came in to play and this allowed Scotty to pull us in. From then on it was a lottery. Foxy had to make a call on which way to go to pass a car and this ended up being the wrong way with Scotty getting the benefit and slipping by us while we got held up on the outside. It was the right move by Foxy but sometimes these things happen. Scotty held on for the win with Foxy 2nd. Heading into the last heat we held a comfortable 4 point lead over the next best placed car. The other main contenders, being Bunter, Farron and Scotty, were further back on the points. Of these Farron in the 31s mod looked to be the best placed being 5 points back and starting from grid 4. If he won the race we would need to finish better than 5th from our grid 11 start to win the title. The race ended up being the best of the night with Bunter and Foxy both attempting to run the highline around Paradise Valley, believe me this is not easy and most that try end up eating concrete. Both had moments where they brushed the wall but slowly they made passes stick. A moment by Bunter allowed Foxy to run through on the inside and put him into 6th and seeing Scotty and Farron just in front of him he knew he didn’t have to do anything silly to take out the title so apart from a huge wheel stand down the entire back straight while trying to work his way past 18r he settled for where he was.. Passing cars (any cars!) at Rotorua is not easy and the NZGP event in March could be a meeting not to be missed. There will be action!
It is fair to say we still feel under done this season and lacking that little bit extra we need to be at the top of our game. We think the limited program we are running along with few opportunities to run in competitive, reasonably sized fields is starting to hurt us. We have made suspension changes to the car that we haven’t really come to grips with and these need to be fine tuned. To that end we have decided to run a few more shows in the coming weeks leading up to the Dirt Cup. We need to get more competitive if we want to keep the travelling South Island cars that are coming to that event honest. We want to give ourselves the best possible chance in this event so we will be running at the 30 lapper event at Whangarei on Feb 1st and then at Waikaraka on Feb 15th. We have some changes to try and we feel that these 2 opportunities could make all the difference come Feb 22nd which is Dirt Cup night. As defending title holders we are not willing just to roll over and let this go without a fight. The pride of the North Island Modified guys is at stake!! Hopefully all 3 of the NZ title podium guys from the South Island venture up for a play in our sandpit but time will tell.
See you at Whangarei on Feb 1st