Round 3, NZ Motor Cup, Hampton Downs, Jan. 2019
 

For the second meeting at Hampton Downs, we moved to the more familiar national circuit. We again enjoyed a good field with a number of different drivers.

 

The three challenge for the lead of the sports car series continued between Robert Hulme, Richard Kelly and Nick Barker.

 

Grant Dalton made his first appearance in the brand new Radical SR8 which sported a striking livery.

 

Tom Alexander took over the Swift of Ken Smith.

 

Anton Aalders joined us driving ARES IV.

 

Robert Hulme only just made race day after a marathon effort to replace his gearbox only to find some problems with the gears.

 

Jeff Sharp made his first appearance of the season and Leo Francis rejoined the series in their Suzuki single seaters.

 

Practice

 

James Watson quickly set the pace with lap times in the 1m 2s range and was followed by Gary Rush driving a Swift.

 

Richard Kelly was the fastest sports car and was followed by Anton a second or so behind.

 

Steve Sharp was running in the 1m 11s range to head Nick Rae and Jaake Haag.

 

Nick Barker only completed 2 laps when the Reynard had a fire due the battery overheating.

 

Qualifying

 

Single seaters filled the first four places. Tom Alexander set a lap time despite not having driven a single seater for over 2 years.

 

Richard Kelly was the first sports car and Set a new personal best time. Grant Dalton was less than .5s behind.

 

Anton was further back as he felt the car was not handling well. It turned out that an engine suspension mount had broken which put a stop to his weekend’s racing.

 

Steve Sharp set his best ever lap time of 1m 10.577s to stay ahead of Nick Rae. Jakke hag also posted a new best lap time.

 

Race 1

 

The race started early just as Nick Barker was returning to the track and prevented him from competing. With the assistance of Luke and John Dobbs and Kevin Sanderson, Nick had repaired the damage to the wiring following the fire.

 

Robert Hulme joined at the back of the field as he was a late arrival following his repairs.

 

Richard Kelly discovered fuel leak on the dummy grid and was a non-starter.

 

Tom led the field away and was followed by James Watson and Gary Rush.

 

Grant Dalton put a pass on Geoff Harriman on lap1 to become the first sports car.

 

Steve Sharp made a strong start to hold eighth place until the finish.

 

Robert Hulme stormed up the field to seventh place by the end of lap1. On the penultimate lap he caught and passed Jeff Sharp.

 

Nick Rae held off a challenge from two single seaters until  late in the race and was closely followed by Jaake.

 

Race 2

 

Nick Barker joined the back of the grid and was eager to score a good result.

 

Tom Alexander was once again held the lead to the finish line ahead of James Watson and Gary Rush and in the process set the fastest lap of 1m 1.57s.

 

Richard made a good start to stay ahead of Grant for 2 laps when Grant made a pass to lead the sports cars. On the last lap Grant passed Geoff Harriman to finish fourth.

 

Meanwhile, Robert also caught and passed Richard until the last lap when Richard regained his position ahead of Robert.

 

Nick Barker had made a fast start to be ninth across the line on lap 1 and he just failed to to catch a faltering Robert.

 

Steve Sharp further reduced his best lap time to 1m 10.395s as he sought to stay ahead of Nick Rae. Unfortunately Nick broke an axle on the ripple strip which prevented the challenge from continuing.

 

Jakke’s lap times also kept dropping as he sought to catch the competition.

 

 

Race 3

 

Tom once again led from start to finish.

 

James Watson did not start and Gary Rush pulled into the pits on the warm up lap due to an engine problem.

 

Robert held second place from the start until Nick Barker made a move on lap 3. Richard passed Robert who was suffering engine problems, a lap later as did Grant Dalton.

 

Geoff Harriman made a slow start as he grappled with cold tyres to allow Richard and to pass.

 

 

Summary

 

The challenge between Nick, Richard and Robert for the series continued. Nick used his first get out of jail card and Richard used his second to remain in contention.

 

Grant enjoyed a good result for a first time in a new car.

 

Steve, Nick Rae and Jakke, all progressively lowered their best lap times during the course of the event. We look forward to seeing some more competition between these drivers.

 

For Team Barker, it was another hard weekend in the office as we sought to stay in contention for the series lead.

 

Robert was rewarded with 3 finishes after a busy fortnight. Although it appears that he may have more work to do after this meeting.

 

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