Round 1, MG Classic, Manfield, Nov 2018


The MG Classic in Manfield was host to our first round of the NZ SportsCar Championship.


The challenges of winter upgrades meant that a number of our regulars did not make the first round. Nevertheless, there were a number of Formula Libre cars, which resulted in a field of 14 cars.


Mark Galvin was confident that he would be able to repeat the form that he had shown at the end of last season.


Robert Hulme was downplaying his chances by telling anyone who would listen, that he was down on power and his tyres were 2 years old (on re-reading last year’s race report, I had noted that he was on new super soft tyres.  Anyway, the tyres looked almost new).


Nick Barker was driving the Reynard Inverter this year. The car had been through a major refit with a re-aligned rear suspension and a new diff mounting.


Richard Kelly had been testing and was ready to roll.


Anthony Barker was driving ARES, which had a service and a few minor tweaks.


Steve Sharp had his Tiga in fine form with an undertray at the back to catch any starter motor parts, which might fall off! They looked more like diffusers to me.


James Coup rejoined us after an absence of a few years in his immaculately prepared Fraser. It had a Toyota 4AGE 20 valve head mounted on a 7A bottom end to make some very good power. It also had a Geartronics pneumatic paddle shift system on a sequential gearbox.


Colin Grant was entered in his very rapid Beattie Clubman.


John Mines was running his JRM2 and so ran with the Historic Formula Fords and Formula Juniors. He ran very competitively at the front of the field.


Gary Rush had entered his Swift Formula Pacific, which had received a full rebuild.


Geoff Harriman was driving his Ralt RT20.


Tony Roberts had his McLaren M10B entered.


Tim Sillay was driving his Swift FF2000 as his Mallock wasn’t ready. Grant Rivers joined him in a similar car.


Leo Francis was having his first drive in a Formula Suzuki after a break from motor racing.









Richard Kelly, Nick and Anthony Barker used practice to tune in their cars and themselves.


Mark Galvin who was intending to run found that the Terra FX had lost oil pressure. So he went back to Wellington for repairs. Rumour has it that he had the car upside down in order to affect the repair as quickly as possible. So how did he keep all the fluids in?




Qualifying for the entire meeting was over in less than 2 hours. So the sessions were brief.


Robert Hulme came out on pole, closely followed by Nick Barker and Gary Rush.


Mark Galvin missed practice so he would be starting of the back of the grid.



Race 1


Robert, followed by Nick, led the field away from the start.


 Meanwhile, Mark, who had started from the back of the field, set about chasing Robert with a spirited drive. On the last lap he passed Robert and Nick to cross the line first.


Richard and Geoff were never far apart during the race and crossed the finish line next.


Gary Rush who was late joining the field, also worked his way through the field to finish seventh.


Colin Grant had the better of Steve Sharp until the fifth lap when Steve slipped through.


Anthony slipped down the field to spin on lap 4, whereupon he recovered to pass James Coup.




Race 2


Mark made a strong start to lead the field until the fifth lap when his ECU went into limp mode.


Nick led Tony Roberts until the back straight where Tony used his superior straight line speed to pass. Nick then spent the remainder of the race probing for a way past.


Anthony made a strong start to go around the outside of Geoff at turn 1 whereupon Geoff took his place back in turn 2. Richard and Anthony diced until Richard made a pass on Anthony stick out of Higgins.


Tim Sillay and Grant Rivers swapped places on lap 2  for Tim to lead at the finish.


Colin Grant and Steve Sharp changed places a number of times to finish less than a second apart. Steve was lucky to finish with a broken fourth gear.


Race 3


Mark sure that this race was his, leading from start to finish.


Nick made a bold move at the start in attempting to drive around Robert in turn 1.  However, Robert was able to keep second place by having more drive out of the corner.


Going into the hairpin, Nick ran wide which allowed Gary to gain a place.


Richard made a good start to head off Geoff and Anthony. He was fortunate to finish as on entering the pits he found that the oil pump drive was shredded.


Geoff then spun on lap 5 to allow Anthony and Tim through.


Steve Sharp made sure that he led this race from Colin Grant from the start to finish.


Race 4


Gary was determined to have a good result and passed Robert on the opening lap to take second place.


Robert held out Nick until lap 3. Nick then set out after Gary but was unable to close the gap.


Anthony held off a strong challenge from Geoff until he spun at the hairpin on lap 5.


Tim and Grant had another close race. James finished less than 5 seconds behind Colin Grant who in turn was some 7 seconds behind Steve Sharp.




We appreciated the presence of the Formula Libre guys thereby ensuring that we had a reasonable field and some good racing.


No doubt there will be a much stronger field at Hampton Downs.


Thank you to the Galvin family for hosting the barbecue at their home. Thank you also to Beulah, Cheree and Anthony for their help and the contributions from Richard, Geoff, Gary and many others.


See you all at Hampton.