GP and Dirt Cup
Another double header report and still no luck!
GP was raced at Rotorua on the 2nd Feb and 16 cars fronted for the event. All the guys were from the North Island and not 1 visitor from the mighty South Island so the meeting lacked a little fizz that might otherwise be expected of a SNZ title event.
The week leading up to the event was a busy one for Team Fox as all the damage incurred at the NZ's the week before had to be fixed to even make the starting line. We went down in an optimistic mood, knowing we had a car good enough to win, while still remaining realistic in that Rotorua, more than anywhere else, is a track where you need some luck.
The format changed from the one indicated on the entry form due to lack of numbers and this was only going to make the event more of a lottery as all cars would compete in the points races together instead of splitting into 2 smaller groups. Unfortunate, but a fair decision by the club.
Heat 1 and Foxy drew grid 11. This would mean a grid 6 start for heat 2. 16 cars on the tight Rotorua track is always going to be hard work and that proved to be the case with very few passing opportunities existing once the cars sorted themselves out in the first few laps. Foxy was able to make reasonable progress and came home in 5th place, just behind Tama in the 1nz mod who started from grid 10. Scotty Lane came home in 6th from his grid 12 start and was showing good pace. Mark Dixon drove a great race to take the win from his front row start. This race showed how important it was going to be to make sure you had a front row start for the title race.
Heat 2 and Foxy made an excellent start moving past both Scotty and Craig Ward to sit 3rd behind the 3nz of Paul Blakeley (grid 2 start) and 41a (the old foxy machine now piloted by Hayden Scheffer who started from grid 4). This gave Foxy a good cushion on Tama who was unable to get past both Scotty and Craig. Hayden had the old car hooking up nicely and Foxy was happy to protect the inside line and stay with him until lapped traffic came into play before he tried to make a pass. Sure enough with about 12 laps of the race run the leaders got into the traffic and foxy made a nice move on the inside of the 41a car into 2nd. This ended up being short-lived tho as a rather large obstacle in the form of the 16r modified was blocking the track with steering damage. Foxy tried to swerve to the outside to avoid contact but Wayne moved up on him as he tried to squeeze past, spinning Foxy out. Carnage ensued with Craig Ward having no where to go and climbing into the side of our car causing extensive damage to the body, Jacobs ladder, front suspension and tearing a hold in the brand spanking new left rear tyre. Race over once more with feeling. To say we were gutted is slightly under exaggerating how we felt. Two weeks in a row now our chances in a major title have been destroyed thru no fault of our own…. That's racing I suppose but you certainly get sick of hearing that!
Suffice to say we started the feature event well back in the pack from grid 8. A minor miracle would be needed to be in a position to fight for the title as the track was now a one lane deal. Inside passes were the only option and if the guys in front kept the door closed you had no chance. The race nearly didn't even start for us when on the first attempt to start the race Scotty got turned around right in front of us again thru turn 4 resulting in another pileup with us right in the middle. Scotty was able to drive away but both Jacko and Foxy had to have their cars separated and although we were able to make the restart with more front end damage the car was not a patch on what we had in the 2nd heat. Jacko faired worse than us with damage meaning he couldn't even take the restart.
History will show that the 20 lap final was a follow the leader event with places 1 thru 5 being taken by the cars that started in those positions. Foxy was the biggest mover in the top 6 up a staggering 2 places (one of those inherited when Jacko didn't start from grid 7!). Weather we would have had a car good enough to challenge Tama is unknown but if not for the 2nd heat incident there is no doubt Foxy would have started from grid 1 and the crowd would have seen a great battle. Hopefully the Dirt Cup will be the catalyst for a change of luck and the crowd will get to see if we do have the car to foot it with the 1nz and 2nz Gordge machines (assuming they front for the meeting).
Congrats to Tama for taking his second SNZ title in 2 weeks (who said the color green was unlucky!!). Brian Jesen in the 6a mod did a great job all night to take 2nd as did Mark Dixon in the 4s car to take 3rd. Well done guys!
Well what can you say! A miserable run in the last 3 weeks continued on Saturday at the Dirt cup. It was over before it began for us on Saturday when a split fuel tank sidelined us after heat 1. Not a great run!
Congrats to Scotty for taking the win, Mark for picking up 2nd and Brian for holding down 3rd.
We will take a break for a while and decide if we want to carry on running this season or not. Looking at Waikaraka's website mods run this weekend (must have been added today as up to last week nothing was on there) and then have one more meeting on the 12th April (no idea when Auckland Champs are??). This will give the mods are grand total of 4 meetings from the 5th January to the 12th April… makes you wonder why you bother spending the money doesn't it?? (Sprintcars are looking mighty attractive at the moment)
Huntly is a possibility on the 1st March for the Waikato Champs, depending on what we decide, and the team have accommodation booked for Easter weekend at Rotorua but this will be reassessed in a few weeks.
See ya at the track (maybe!)
The next bit is my venting and my venting only. They are not necessarily Foxy's views and should not be taken as such. If you are not interested in my mutterings no problem and you should stop reading now. As I pay for the site I have no problem in having a rave once and a while lol!
Jamos personal opinion:
The club dropped the ball with the promotion and organizing of this event this year and because of this only a mediocre field of 17 cars fronted, hardly a great spectacle as the “richest modified event in the country” (words taken from the programme and, based on the prizepool for the night, an out and out mis-representation). This years running took the event to a new low and the idea of running it along side the NZ Minisprint champs showed little respect to either class. The catch cry all season was 95 winged wonders! Sounds like a Tui add to me!!
The key people responsible for this disaster are the track promoter and the class rep. Both of these people are identifiable by looking at the club website. Neither did their jobs properly, and in fact have failed to do so all season with not just this event, but also others run at the track this season.
Now before I hear all the cries of “they are only volunteers blah blah blah” stop right there. My understanding is that the promoter at Waikaraka Park is a paid position, to what level I have no idea, or in fact care. The person responsible accepted the job and the remuneration to do the job….. it isn't being done!
As for the class rep, well he gets paid for one of his other duties so is on the payroll of the club. If he didn't have the time, or whatever, he should not have taken on the job as class rep. No one twisted his arm! By all accounts no out of town drivers where contacted by the class rep and asked to attend. If you stick your hand up to do a job, paid or not, do the bloody job and take responsibility to make sure it is done properly. Auckland's reputation has taken a battering with regard this event by the modified drivers I have spoken to and it piss's me off that all the hard work that was put in to rebuild this event in the previous years has been negated by bullshit last year and lack of effort this year.
For Waikaraka Park to survive there had better be a mindset change and real quick! Poor crowds, poor food, poor commentary, poor communication with drivers and public are not the recipe for a profitable enterprise. If I was a club member (which thank god I am not!) I would be concerned about the long term viability of this club. It is getting left behind big time and is in the hands of some people who have very little idea of what they are doing. Sitting in the crowd on Saturday was an eye-opener, and boy are they in trouble!