Season 29 done and dusted!!
Well folks that is it for us this year. Season # 29 laid to rest and I think we need to rate it as a pretty successful one.
Fourteen meetings was our lot for the year with 9 of these being at home.
Season low lights:
1/ Bad 2nd heat at Huntly prior to Xmas that ended up costing us the opportunity to take our 6th Waikato Champs title in a row. Run ended on 5 as Bunter took the honors and we had to settle for 2nd.
2/ NZ title race has to rate as both a lowlight and a highlight. After dominating the final race for all but the last 2 laps we had to settle for 2nd. A combination of a faulty right rear bleedoff, late yellow and, to be fair, a bad decision by Foxy to try to protect the pole line in the last few laps gave Luke an opportunity he shouldn’t have been given and he made the most of it.
3/ Not being in a position to put on a better show at Stratty for the Rusty Memorial. This event was a late addition to our race calendar and things simply didn’t pan out. An unnecessary protest from another competitor for an incident that no official witnessed but resulted in a penalty for us anyway, coupled with damage in the last heat made the night a forgettable one and reminded us why Stratty wasn’t originally on our schedule this year.
4/ Not being able to claim the KOP title at Waikaraka’s last meeting of the year. Sure we made the call to leave from the rear for the title race and handicap ourselves but we had plenty of laps to get to the front and couldn’t pull it off having to settle for 2nd.
5/ Late season engine gremlins that have seen us slip off the pace a little since Wellington. Still haven’t figured out what is going on but the car has lacked pace and punch. This didn’t help us at KOP meeting, Stratty or at Huntly in the weekend just gone.
Now for the season highlights:
1/ Taking out the first ever Kihikihi Modified title run just before Xmas. First title for the season.
2/ Finishing as top qualifier for NZ title after night 1 and coming away with 2nz at the end of night 2, another few laps and we would have had a flat right rear and been out of the race so you could argue luck was on our side. This was Foxy’s 8th podium finish at the NZ title putting him only 1 behind the great RB.
3/ Taking back “our” Dirt Cup title. This was title #7 for us and this record will take some beating by anyone else in the years ahead. Next best still running at the moment is Luke with 2 titles. Foxy completely dominated this event by winning the shootout and leading for all 30 laps of the final. Even a late yellow where lapped cars were not put back into position between Foxy and Luke didn’t help the chasing pack and with no deflating right rear tyre in play we deserved top spot on the podium.
4/ Winning North Island title # 6 (3rd in a row) at Wellington. We overtook Murray Gordge as the driver with the most NI titles with this win so it was special. Only downside is that we need to keep the ugliest trophy in NZ sport for another year!! This win also gave us our 29th podium finish across all 3 SNZ title events, that is an average on 1 per season!! This also takes us to the top of the pile in this stat and moves us 2 clear of RB who finished with 27.
5/ Winning Auckland modified Champs tile #9. This event has proven to be pretty hard over the earlier years as most of the leading cars in the North Island tended to support it. The last few years have been lean on visitors but the event has still been no walk in the park. This event always seems to coincide with Teams Nationals weekend so good to get a win in front of what is normally the biggest crowd of the season. We are proud to be Auckland Champs for another year.
6/ Finishing the season with the Speedfest crown last Saturday night. First ever time the mods have been invited and it is nice to come away as the first winner. We seem to make a habit of these things as we have also been the first to win at Baypark on the first night out for the mods and also at Kihikihi earlier this season. Having Hayden and Mike up from Christchurch gave the event a national feel and was a great way to finish the season.
7/ Taking out the clubs season points across all clubnights. Even with me really hammering Foxy with rear starts in pretty much every singe race at home this season he has walked away dominating the points table, often winning all 3 heats on any given night. Next year I expect this will not be as easy!!
8/ Most importantly the highlight for us this season even over all these wins on the track has been able to witness a new generation of young blood coming into the class both here in Auckland and around the country. Young Jacob Free running out of Wellington looks impressive and is learning his craft by staying out of trouble and running smooth lines after only a few meetings. He looks good and extremely competent. He will make an impression in the years ahead. Christchurch has all number of new guys heading into the sport although most have either raced in other classes before or are slightly older than the young blood entering into the class up North. They still lead the way in quantity and quality of cars. Up in Auckland there is no doubt that the guy who has really stuck his hand up this year is Brad Lane. He lives under the pretty huge shadow of his old man Scotty Lane who is a modified legend (not done yet either hopefully!) but Brad is making his own way and really stepped up to the plate not only keeping the experienced mod competitors honest this season but beating them!! Foxy included! This boy has a huge future in the sport and I expect big things from him next season and beyond. Both PJ Fergusson and Luke Brown will keep Brad honest in the coming seasons as well. Both I believe are getting brand new competitive cars for next season so keep an eye out for these 2 young guys as well. These guys and a few more like them are the future of Auckland modified racing for the next decade and a changing of the guard is underway!!
Thanks to Roger at CSL Containers and Brian form BDC Engineering for their on going support. These guys are just brilliant and have been behind us for so many years I lose track. Thanks to Bruce Robertson and the team at Waikaraka Park who have supported the modified class this year, next years numbers are looking even stronger with new machinery galore hitting the track!! We will need to be on top of our game to stay near the top and that is fantastic for the class.
Have a great off season and see you next season!