NZ SPORTS CAR SERIES, 2017/2018 - Round 3
Round 3, NZ Motor Cup, Hampton Downs,

27-28 Jan 2018
 
 
We enjoyed another massive field for the second Hampton Downs meeting which was held on the National Circuit.
 
The Sports Car and Formula Libre races again provided to have some of the best racing of the weekend with some very entertaining racing throughout the field.
 
A massive thank you to Matos – John Ryall, Atomise – Richard Kelly and GDR Plasterboard – Gary Rush, who very generously sponsored our races once again.
 
Despite the best efforts of Peter Zivkovic, Dean McCarroll and Alan Barker’s Juno’s could not be made race ready in time for this meeting. As a consequence, it was looking like David Glasson was the only Sports Car race-winning contender.
 
Elton Goonan took the opportunity to enter Pete De Joux’s Mission T5 and demonstrated how fast the T5 could get around the track, while also providing valuable setup suggestions and feedback to Pete.
 
Robert Hulme and Richard Kelly were set to continue their challenge for the Prosport Championship, and Nick Rae returned from abroad to run his Radical Clubsport.
 
 
Qualifying
 
David Glasson set the pace for the field, heading off Tony Quinn in his Formula Reynard followed by Robert Hulme.
 
Closely grouped behind were, James Watson and Geoff Harriman in the Formula cars with Anthony Barker close behind in the Reynard.
 
Richard Kelly had his work cut out for him and had to work hard to keep ahead of Adam Julian in his Formula Renault and Nick Barker in his Sports Car.
 
 
Race 1
 
The race started with some serious jostling for position with the similar paced cars of David Glasson, James Watson and Tony Quinn all charging hard, possibly trying to put some space between themselves and Ken Smith who started further down the field.
 
Unfortunately, Geoff Harriman and Anthony Barker made contact at the dipper and went off at the exit, with both cars unable to rejoin the race. 
Richard Kelly also got caught up at the dipper and dropped five places allowing Nick Barker, Anton Aalders and Steve Sharp to slip through.
 
It was frustrating that the ensuing laps were held behind the safety car until the penultimate lap while Geoff’s car was removed from the track, which put paid to most of the racing.
 
On the restart, Ken Smith showed his skill and displaced both Tony Quinn and David Glasson. Richard Kelly did very well to take back three places, finishing behind Nick Barker and Anton Aalders. Nick Barker was lucky to finish the race as he had a suspension failure on the slowdown lap.
 
Sadly, Elton Goonan was a non-starter with brake and overheating problems. 
 
Race 2
 
Nick and Anthony Barker and Robert Hulme were all non-starters through accident and mechanical problems.
 
The leading group got away cleanly from the start. Richard Kelly quickly passed Adam Julian who spun on turn 1 and then took an opportunity to get by Anton Aalders who slowed as a consequence of the spin.
 
Richard then set about chasing the flying Elton Goonan who had the Mission T5 twitching and bucking as he pushed the car to its limits. Despite Elton’s best efforts, Richard passed him on lap 5. In turn, Geoff Harriman came through on the last lap to take 5th place.
 
Meanwhile, a hard-charging David Glasson passed Tony Quinn on lap 1, then James Watson on lap 3, to finally take the lead from Ken Smith on the last lap in a very commendable drive.
 
Anton Aalders and Andy Drummond finished in close order after swapping places mid-race. Steve Sharp was a short distance behind.
 
Race 3
 
Robert Hulme, in an effort to keep racing and to stay ahead of Richard in the Prosports Class, arranged to have his Clubman’s car brought to the track. Starting from the back of the field Robert showed great commitment.
 
Nick Barker with the generous assistance from John Ryall, returned with some temporary repairs to his car, and he too started from the back of the field.
 
Ken Smith took the lead at the start but was quickly passed by David Glasson. Apart from Tony Quinn passing James Watson on lap 2, this group lapped in close proximity for the next 5 laps. Each driver was seeking any opportunity to challenge and pass. As they started to lap the slower cars, David Glasson was clipped by a back marker and was forced to retire with a destroyed rear wheel.
Richard Kelly who made a good start, ran wide on turn 2 to allow 5 cars through. Geoff Harriman and Gary Rush used this opportunity to pull clear. Richard then set about regaining the lost places which set the stage for another epic chase to catch Elton Goonan. The Mission T5 darted and dived as it was driven to its limits and perhaps even a little beyond…
 
Anton Aalders and Steve Sharp had another close finish. Nick Barker who had started from the back of the field finished some 6 seconds further back.
 
Robert Hulme brought the Hulson across the line behind Tony Carruthers.
 
Summary
 
There were a number of comments that these races provided the best racing of the weekend. There was undoubtedly some excellent racing throughout the field.
 
David Glasson was awarded the Ken Wharton Trophy for winning the Sports Car class of the Formula Libre series. It was a very well-deserved reward for the effort that David had put in with a well-prepared car, consistency and impeccable driving.
 
Robert Hulme showed some ingenuity when he brought his second car to the track to keep his Prosport chances alive. Rumour has it that the Hulson’s slow lap times are not a reflection of his test driver’s abilities and that there really is a lack of power.
 
You may not be aware that Elton Goonan has an extensive history in racing cars, in NZ and abroad which has been reflected in his efforts this weekend. He also knows the circuit very well as he is the Hampton Downs track manager.
 
John Ryall’s help to get Nick Barker back on the track showed that the camaraderie between sports car drivers is alive and well.
 
Many thanks to Beulah, Mike and Richard’s team for the barbecue.
 
Don’t forget there a number of videos of the racing from FastFiles, Richard Kelly, etc. on Youtube.

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