Southland’s two National Touring Car campaigners showed their mettle at Teretonga Park in Invercargill on Sunday.
The racing, presented by Downer, saw Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy, racing Wal Willmott’s Star Car in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons, hammer the 0-1300cc class mark, beating the previous record of 1 minute 06.937 set by Todd Blackmun last month. Conroy lowered the record in every one of his four starts to leave it at 1.05.255 seconds despite some niggling mechanical issues.
Newly crowned Class 2 Touring Car Champion, Liam MacDonald of Invercargill, was also in sensational form. He won the first two Clubmans Saloon races in his 6-litre Falcon from Tony Mann of Dunedin in a Capri and Jason Crosbie of Invercargill in a Nissan Silvia. Crosbie’s car expired in the class race, won by MacDonald who took the 2501cc & over class, while other class winners were Rachael Beck of Invercargill (1601-2500cc), Andrew Muir of Gore (1301-1600cc) and Blackmun of Invercargill (0-1300cc). MacDonald also won the Flying Farewell from Conroy and Blackmun.
MacDonald then added the A1 Auto Services 1 Hour race to complete a clean sweep, ahead of Dean Maw of Invercargill and Dayne McIlwrick of Cromwell.
There were three different winners in the Pre 65 Saloon races. Paul Clarke of Dunedin in his Mustang won the first after early leader John Smolenski of Invercargill went off at the Elbow in his XP Falcon. Smolenski raced back to third behind Gary Shaw of Dunedin in a similar car. Clarke set a new lap record of 1.06.459 in the second race, a handicap event in which the fast men struggled to get through, leaving Dan Patrick of Christchurch to take the honours in his Vauxhall PB from fellow Christchurch drivers Jono Michelle (Cortina) and Russell Byfield (Anglia). In the finale, another handicap, Smolenski held off Clarke and Tim McCulloch of Christchurch in an Anglia.
Justin Ashwell of Rolleston won the Trophy Class in all three NZ Six Saloon races with NZ2, Russell Keeler of Gore, second on each occasion. Both drove AU Falcon’s. In the Cup Class there was some good competition. Michael Christie of Christchurch won the first in his Falcon from Commodore drivers, Alvin Frew (Waikouaiti) and Murray Jack (Alexandra) before Jack beat Christie and Simon Inwood of Kaiapoi in the second. In the third Frew crossed the line ahead of Christie and Jack.
on behalf of the Southland Sports Car Club
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