NZ SPORTS CAR SERIES, 2017/2018 - Round # 4

Round 4, Flat Foot Manfeild, 

24 & 25 February 2018


Our first trip to the beautiful Manawatu for 2018 was to be a meeting with a few surprises.
Dean McCarroll returned after an engine rebuild after a very successful 3rd place at the Leadfoot Festival against the fancied 770Hp 4 wheel drive Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo 8 silhouette cars.
David Glasson was as usual highly organized, and he and his Juno were running faultlessly.
Mark Galvin rejoined us at his home track in his Terra FX with the genuine potential of delivering some good times on a track he knows well.
Robert Hulme’s Nemesis had been on the dyno again and was delivering more horsepower. The details of the engine changes and the extra horsepower were a closely guarded secret. However, rumour has it that there is a genuine 240hp at the wheels.
Anthony Barker was driving the Reynard with a freshly repaired unpainted nose.
Brother Nick Barker had a new budget dash to replace the damaged Race-Technology unit along with some minor suspension changes.
Richard Kelly was looking for a good result at his home track to keep his Prosport Championship chances alive. Anton Aalders was a keen starter and was ready to show us the potential of his car also.
Elton Goonan joined us again with the Mission T5, adding some modifications to the crankcase venting system.
John Mines was set to provide another outstanding performance on and off the track helping many others with repairs. He was very ingenious in solving Mark Galvin’s stripped bolt on the manifold with vice grips and lock wire to ensure the grips remained closed and in place.
Nick Rae and Steve Sharp were ready to continue their battles on the track.
Chris Prout was looking very racy and also sporting some more horsepower (360hp, I hear) after another dyno tune.
It should by all accounts make for some fun racing.

Qualifying

Dean McCarroll missed qualifying due to a broken spark plug, which would make Race 1 interesting if suitable spark plugs could be found in time.
David Glasson set the fastest time, comfortably ahead of Mark Galvin.
Just behind was Robert Hulme, and a further second behind, was Anthony Barker.
Richard Kelly was next. Unfortunately, while pressing hard he slid off the track at turn 1 with a brake issue, hitting the tyre barrier heavily. We were pleased to see that Richard was unharmed other than feeling sore and with some whiplash.
While the damage was limited to the bodywork, it prevented him from participating further in the meeting. Just keep an eye out for some permanently embedded bodywork in the tyre wall!
Nick Barker was followed by Anton Aalders, Elton Goonan and John Mines.
Nick Rae and Steve Sharp were just a few tenths of a second apart setting the scene for some competitive racing to come.
Unfortunately, Chris Prout while utilising his newly found horsepower, broke a driveshaft in practice and despite his best efforts could not effect a repair, sadly ending his weekend.

Race 1

David Glasson made a clean start to lead the very tightly bunched, Mark Galvin, Robert Hulme, Anthony Barker and Anton Aalders into turn 1.
Meanwhile, Dean McCarroll had made a lightning start to be in 6th place by turn 1. He quickly passed Anton, Anthony and Robert on lap 1 and by lap 3 had taken the lead. On the penultimate lap, Dean set a new Prosport lap record. 
It wasn’t to be Anthony and Anton’s race with both of them retiring on lap 1, both with exhaust problems.
Mark Galvin followed David Glasson closely for the first few laps until some engine issues caused him to drop back.
Robert Hulme finished in a comfortable 4th place, easing back over the line allowing Nick Barker to draw close.
Nick Barker was hotly pursued by John Mines for the early laps until Nick managed to pull a gap.
Nick Rae took the lead from Steve Sharp and worked hard to keep it as he successively lowered his lap times to finish some 4 seconds ahead.

Race 2

We enjoyed an extended race in Race 2, with 10 laps on offer.
Dean McCarroll started from the front of the field and comfortably lead to the finish. He once again lowered the lap record, this time for Sports Cars with a 1m4.036s.
David Glasson held off a determined Mark Galvin who finished less than a second behind.
Meanwhile, Robert Hulme passed Anthony Barker out of turn 1 on the opening lap to then lead Anton Aalders and Anthony Barker in close order. On lap 3 Robert dropped out with a broken rod end, while Anthony retired with a slipping clutch.
Nick Barker and John Mines enjoyed some close racing, swapping places a number of times.
Steve Sharp headed off Nick Rae and proceeded to race with Elton Goonan until Elton had an engine failure.

Race 3

Mark Galvin pulled into the pits with a gear selection problem on the warm-up lap, so was a late starter.
David Glasson took the lead from the start to hold out Dean McCarroll until lap 2, when Dean was able to out brake him into turn 1.
Robert Hulme pulled an early lead on Anthony Barker until Anthony was able to pull the gap back in the later laps. Different tyres may have contributed to the varying gap although Robert was able to put in a quick final lap.
Anton ran with John Mines and Nick Barker for a short while. John and Nick continued their meeting long duel, with John leading the first half of the race.
It was Nick Rae’s turn to lead Steve Sharp until Nick spun, letting Steve past to take a comfortable lead.

Summary

As we have seen throughout the series, there was some great racing through the field, and this was certainly the case at Manfield too.
Dean was, at last, able to demonstrate the speed of his Juno on a known circuit. I think that there were more than a few surprised observers.

David Glasson was fast and very consistent and drove well. Mark Galvin also showed a good turn of speed and demonstrated that he can be a front-runner, as he has been in the past.
Robert Hulme nearly lost his advantage in the Prosports Championship when he had one DNF. Otherwise, he didn’t put a foot wrong.
Anthony Barker finally had a reliable car, which enabled him to have a good battle against Robert Hulme. Nick Barker and John Mines enjoyed a meeting long duel.
Anton gave us a glimpse of his car’s potential while it was running well. Nick Rae and Steve Sharp also enjoyed some close racing with neither of them able to dominate.
Elton Goonan once again, showed off his driving skill and pace.
We hope that Richard Kelly can repair the Juno in time for the next meeting as the Prosport Championship is still within reach. Equally, we hope Pete De Joux can install a new engine and join Nick Rae and Steve Sharp back on track.
This meeting certainly caused havoc amongst the field, pretty much everyone had an issue of some sort over the weekend. The mutual support from all of the competitors was excellent.
John Mines was particularly busy with helping fellow drivers. We were lucky that the JRM didn’t need much attention!
A big thank you to the Manawatu Car Club for running a great meeting.
Many thanks to Beulah, Sabina, Mark, Chris Z, David, Sharp family, Nick Rae, Anton, Chris Prout, Anthony Moult and Nick Barker for helping and their contributions to the breakfast. A great club effort.

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