NZ Festival of Motor Racing, 22nd January

26 01 2011

What a Weekend ! ! This was my first time out in my trusty old Ivory Beast, 930 Turbo since last February, when we had all that trouble with the clutch…

The new clutch is fantastic, but I did have trouble on the narrower tyres, trying to stay with the faster cars. We had to fit the front tyres onto the rear to suit the Series rules, and this seems to have cost me approximately 2 seconds a lap, and made it a real handful to drive as it slides at the first hint of a corner…

Bruce Manon’s Escort and Mike Delmont’s BMW 2002 (with huge horsepower) were clearly quicker in practice and qualifying, so I had to settle for 3rd on the grid.

I managed to win the start and sprint to the lead into the first ‘Turn One’  BUT… there I went from “hero to zero”. The tyres were just not up to the task as I gave the car a flick to give Bruce Manon some racing room, causing me to touch the grass at the exit of the corner. Wet grass is not good traction for a fast Porsche so I gave the Armco a full-on headbut, dropping to the back of the field. Amazingly I was able to continue around to the pits where a quick inspection showed very little damage and I was soon back out to finish the race, just 1 lap down on the winners.

After adding a bit of race tape to fill some gaps I was back out for the second race as the heavens opened and saturated the track. Mike Delmont decided to park his BMW, as did several others, but the rest of us faced the starter. This time I started a lot more gently and followed Bruce Manon’s Escort around for a few laps to warm my tyres before I started to attack his lead. Neil Tolich in his Ford Perana Capri chased me hard and kept me on my toes as we were all slipping and sliding away around the track. I found the only place I was quicker than Bruce was on the front straight where I think my 1350kg of weight helped my traction. At over 200km/hr the Escort (at 1000kg) seemed to have less traction than my car so then I could gain on him as he wheelspun all over the track in beautiful Rally style slides. I figured I could only have a go at Bruce on the last lap, as he was quicker than me all around the rest of the track, so I was sure he would re-pass me if I made my move too soon.

And so it was, that on the final run up the hill to the finish line I stayed following in Bruce’s tyre tread marks to gain as much traction as possible, then moved out of the spray to blast to the line. Bruce saw my move but because he was suffering from so much wheelspin he couldn’t get the necessary traction to hold me off so I managed the win by a mere .369 of a second.

Very close, but a win is a win and I’ll take them whenever I can…   :o)   so that has broken our drought at last, and taken the old Turbo’s tally to 151 race wins.

The Sunday races were cancelled because of the really heavy rain, so we are hoping for better conditions for this next weekend.  The forecast is not looking too bright but they have been wrong before…  fingers crossed.

I think at Hampton Downs the lighter more nimble cars seem to have an advantage over my Porsche, whereas at Pukekohe I could make up on the straights what I would lose on the corners. This disadvantage is more noticeable on the narrower tyres, because I can get away with a lot more on the factory tyres.

I don’t think I can make up for the large power advantage that Mike Delmont enjoys in his BMW, but I will certainly try to make him work for his victories.

Roll on 29/30th January, the NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Chris Amon.

For those of you that didn’t make it to the track, “Come on out” this weekend. There is an incredible selection of fantastic racing cars with driving to match.  Just as an example, Ken Smith is racing 4 different cars ! !


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