Round 1, MG Classic, Manfield, Nov 2017

 

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

It was evident that there had been much preparation during the offseason for many members, a new car here and there, some sneaky little mods elsewhere, all looking for that competitive advantage.

David Glasson returned with his wonderfully presented Juno V6 and was looking fast even just parked in the garage.

Mark Galvin made a fantastic effort to be at the meeting having only arrived back in the country from Europe the previous day. A significant change for Mark was switching to Formula 3 tyres like many others in the field.

Robert Hulme had put on a set of super soft boots, which he was hoping would offset a small loss of power he encountered as a result of his rebuilt engine.

Anthony Barker was driving the Reynard Inverter for one half of Team Barker, while Nick was taking care of business in the ARES IV for the season.

Richard Kelly had upgraded to the ex-Dean McCarroll Juno and was taking the first meeting as an opportunity to get comfortable with the car.

Dean McCarroll intended to drive his new Juno which didn’t arrive in time. Craig Sawyer stepped up and offered his Juno for the meeting (as did Mike Limbrick) very generous of both these men.

John Mines was ready with his JRM 3, running a revised gearing setup.

Tim Sillay had installed a new engine, which was coupled to a 5-speed sequential dog box.

Sam McNeill was driving Tim O’Connors Caterham.

Steve Sharp had ventured south to Manfeild for the first time and was looking forward to learning the lines, etc.

To round off the field we had two Formula Libre cars and our international visitor, Tony Carruthers joined us.

We had a few regular hangers on/helpers in the likes of Paul Rasmussen, big Kev, Bazza and Anthony Moult to name a few.

 

Practice

Thankfully it hardly ever rains at Manfield, typically only at least once. As a result, we had a wet track for the first two sessions and track times were very tentative. The track had dried out by afternoon to allow some serious testing to get underway.

Unfortunately, Robert ended practice with a broken rod end. Peter Zivkovic was able to supply a replacement part, and with John Mines assistance they managed to extract the broken rod end to get him ready for the main event.

 

Qualifying

Qualifying was a very short affair with David being penalized 3 positions after coming off at Splash. It appeared that the track was a little slower and still a little damp. With only a small number of laps driven, the times weren’t necessarily indicative of true performance. Some drivers felt that the wind had helped speed while reducing downforce on the following corner.


Race 1

Sam led the field away from a very aggressively packed rolling start grid, Robert made one of his lightning starts to be placed 4th as the pack barreled into the first turn. Unfortunately, Anthony spun coming out of turn 1 allowing Robert past with Dean hot on his diffuser.

Further back, John Mines had also made to good start to gain two places and showed some impressive pace.

David regained the front on lap 2 to maintain the lead to the finish line. Meanwhile, Sam and Mark swapped places in some close and exciting racing while all the time maintaining close contact with David.

Robert had made damper changes and reduced the rear wing to gain some much-improved pace. Consequently, he and Dean had a close race with Dean taking the lead on lap 3 coming onto the main straight after running side by side for a good half a lap, showing that there is room for two around the corners!

Geoff Harriman passed Nick on lap 2 and Anthony had regained 2 places by the end of the race.


Race 2

David led the field for the race and was closely followed by Sam in the Caterham.

Dean was in hot pursuit of Robert until lap 3 when he retired with electrical problems.

Anthony made a slow start after race 1 to re-pass John and Richard by lap 3.

Mark had electrical problems, which prevented him from making a challenge to the leaders.

Steve stepped up his pace and led Colin Grant across the finish line.


Race 3

With the race order established, David lead away from Sam, Robert and Dean.

However, on lap 3 Dean spun out of turn 1 and retired. A communication problem with the pace car resulted in the race being red flagged. On the restart, the pace car led away to complete the final lap with a slightly frustrated field tagging behind.

 

Race 4

A wet track resulted in somewhat slower lap times. A lack of wet weather tyres for some drivers contributed to the reduced field.

Sam led to the finish line with Anthony 7 seconds behind. Richard, Tim and Steve followed.


Summary

A great start to the season with more competition at the front of the field from Sam and Mark. Mark showed his pace with the fastest lap in the first race.

The speed of the midfield had increased significantly to run much closer to the race leaders, only a few seconds behind, providing some great battles for drivers and spectators alike.

Alan Barker and Dean McCarroll are expected to join the field for the next meeting in their current spec Juno’s, along with many regulars that weren’t able to attend the first round. Namely Anton Aalders, Chris Prout, Kevin Addington, John Ryall, Pete Du Joux and Nick Rae. We should be in for a fascinating summer of racing with some outstanding sized fields.

The support provided by Peter Zivkovic, Mike Limbrick, John Mines and Craig Sawyer (and others) is much appreciated and indeed shows the great camaraderie in our club.

Beulah and the boys, Richard, Mike, and Olivia Sharp put on an incredible Sunday cooked breakfast for everyone which was genuinely appreciated by as all, thank you! The contributions of Tony Caruthers and Tim O’Connor towards the barbecue are also appreciated.

 

Can’t wait for Hampton Downs!

 
 
 

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