Woodford Glen Speedway, Dec 2017, Remembrance Championships
I was looking forward to this years Remembrance Championships because I just knew we had a fast car underneath us and the team were gelling well while learning the set-ups a little more each meeting (especially at our home track).
We got off to a reasonable start setting one of the quickest lap times for the night and to be honest the way we were going had us looking good for a championship win but the engine developed a misfire in the final heat which saw us having to settle for 3rd place and 3rd overall for the night. Still very pleased with our progress but it was one meeting where we really deserved better. It turned out the composite floats in our carburettor had methanol permeate into them causing them to weigh more than they should. This caused the engine to overfuel in the turns and hesitate/cough coming off the turn.
From now on new floats will be installed at the start of every season.
A really quick turn around required before heading off on our North Island Tour:
North Island Tour - January 2018
Bay Park Speedway, Tauranga 12-13 Jan 2018 - NZ Super Saloon Championship
It was just Casey and I for this weekend with the help of Kevy Moore and I was really looking forward to the NZ championships at Bay Park mainly because I've wanted to race there for years and never got the opportunity. And although the facilities are very good, I'd heard various reports about the track itself. It didn't worry me, I just wanted to race there and why not do it at the NZ Champs plus we got to stay with Kevy & Lyn thanks heaps :)
Around 50 entrants for the event vying thru 5 heats over 2 nights to determine 30 finalists for the 30 lap championship feature.
My plan was to finish all the heats while learning the track and see if we could qualify into that top 30. And that plan was coming along nicely until the third heat of the Friday night. After contact from the rear, 811 was spun at speed into heavy traffic and getting launched into a series of incoming hits which were so viscous that the front suspension was ripped out from both sides of the car and eventually landing on top of our own right front wheel and spindle assembly.
The ensuing tirade of gestures, unsubstantiated accusations of blame and verbal abuse from another driver involved in the crash was probably the most disheartening moment I have experienced in my 37 years of speedway racing. I will leave that right there!
I had a feeling that was our north island tour over and done with especially when viewing what damage the car had sustained in the pits. Even the parts torn from 811 weren't immediately retrieved and returned to us and some parts never were (go figure!) But the speedway community came to the rescue with assistance being offered by lots of south islanders who were there spectating. I've gotta thank Kevy Moore, Rob Jeffcoate, Mick and Mark Carey, Matt Houlden and many others that pitched in (sorry if I missed your name here). If it wasn't for these guys, 811 wouldn't have made it back into the trailer. The second day Kevy worked so hard to get us going again that he was a broken man by the end of the day. So broken that he couldn't make it to the track and just needed to sleep, (sorry Kevy).
Also want to mention both Codi Singer & Chris Kernohan who dismantled their own race cars and travelled hours to supply parts to get 811 raceable again (Outstanding effort thank you guys).
That second night of racing didn't get much easier with 811 suffering more damage thru no fault of our own but hey we felt the car was improving immensely with the more effort we all kept putting in. So much so that in the repechage we raced from grid 9 to be challenging for 3rd place and the last qualifying spot. I tried so hard to capture that spot even leaving the gas pedal mashed to the floor on the last lap but just couldn't make the pass. It was gut wrenching to think how close 811 came to qualifying after such a challenging weekend but we received heaps of great feedback from other teams after that repechage and were absolutely stoked with how quick we had gone by the end of the weekend.
Must thank Casey for always being there as my crew chief and no1 fan especially since it was her birthday :)
TeMarua Speedway, Wellington 20 Jan 2018 - NZ Super Saloon Grand Prix
From Tauranga it was onto Wellington for the NZ Grand Prix but not until Kevy had spent another few hours helping us out to knock 811 back into shape AGAIN! We left 811 in Wellington and all returned to our jobs for the week.
It's very humbling to know we had so much support at the NZ Champs last week and for this weekend we were again joined by Matt plus Glen & Cameron flew back up with Casey & I. We all set about preparing 811 for the GP which had 18 entrants.
I was looking forward to racing here again as it's a track I have done alright at in the past. How wrong was that thought! The track was probably one of the worst I have ever raced on and many cars broke due to the severe ruts/holes in the track surface, 811 included. In the first heat 811 finished forward from our grid position but was taking a beating due to the track surface.
Then in heat two 811 was spun after rear contact and this time we were penalised by being sent to the back on the restart although they never saw the incident, Go Figure!
While trying to make up lost ground the lift bar snapped from the diff ending our night early which was disappointing as I really think we would have been solidly in the top 10, possibly the top 8 had we completed the meeting without incident.
So that was the end to our North Island Tour and now it's quickly home to prepare 811 in a short turn around for two rounds of the Vertex Super Cup in Dunedin & Cromwell.
I again want to thank everyone that helped us when we were in so much damage control and acknowledge our dedicated partners for your ongoing support. Cheers ... Flash.