09/10/2017

Image: 

Euan Cameron

Caption: 

Chris Henderson (Toyota AE86 V8) leading the big field during the second & penultimate round of the 2017 Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series at Ruapuna

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The Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series hits Timaru’s Levels Raceway this Saturday with a bumper field of cars and the makings of another terrific days racing as teams chase the last available points in both overall and class standings. Just like both previous rounds this season, fans can be assured of some outstanding race action especially on the tight and technical Levels circuit, where a new Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series champion will be crowned.

However, as the old saying goes; to finish first, first you must finish, and there will be plenty of cars of all shapes & sizes battling for both the class and overall placing’s as well as a lucrative top 20 series finish to qualify for the upcoming New Zealand One Hour Endurance Championship event in March 2018.

Series fast man Chris Henderson has won two from two so far this season in his fire-breathing Toyota AE86 V8, however the fast yet fragile machine has never managed to complete all three rounds without some mechanical gremlins. That gives a glimmer of hope to Steve Parker (Porsche 997 Cup S) who, as well as holding second place overall, also leads Class D. However with the quick fire series and tight points structure there are still 15 cars than can mathematically still claim the overall series glory.

With Parker leading class D it was Chris & Johnny Small who were the big movers after Ruapuna, a podium placing moving them from 6th to 2nd in class, despite being in an older 2008 spec car. The Class D pack is really tight and fans will see a thrilling battle between the plethora of Porsche that dominate this class. But looking to spoil the Porsche party at Levels will be the Carters Tyres V8 Supercar of Shane Hodgson which will be looking for redemption after DNF’s at both previous rounds. Also look out for the Chevy Cruise V8 of John Wadsworth and the Falcon V8ST of 3hr regulars Hamish Frew/Darryl Barrett, and as endurance competitors well know, you only need to take your eye off the ball for a split second and your race, and series, aspirations can change dramatically.

The battles will be just as fierce right through the field and as well as first overall, Henderson holds a slender advantage in Class C (3501cc+) over the Corvette C6R of Bruce Davidson which seems to have overcome its previous reliability issues. Third in class is the Russell Burgess driven Mazda RX7 Turbo, a car that won the class in 2016 in the hands of the late Lee Rhodes, proving that finishing races and collecting points is the key to Endurance racing success. Next in the points score is the NZV8 spec Falcon of Boyd Wilson/Jordan Michels with the Garry & Ben Derrick RX7T the only other car that has a chance of a class win, which is surprising after the car ended its Ruapuna race upside down in the gravel trap.  Looking for a good run on their home circuit will also be the Nissan R32 GTR of Murray & Karl Beeby who have suffered unfortunate mechanical issues at both previous rounds.

Class B (2001cc -3500cc) will be one of the many ‘winner takes all’ battles that will play out at Levels.  Andrew Wright (BMW E36 M3) and the similar car of Adam Glass have currently taken a win a piece at the Teretonga & Ruapuna rounds so it will be a show down at Levels. Should these two encounter issues its Series rookie Ben Barlow (Honda Civic 2.2) who currently sits in third place ready to pounce should either of the joint class leaders strike trouble. Other is the class still within striking distance of a class win include Craig Elstob (VW Golf GTi) and the rotary twins of Mal Walters (RX7) and Marcus Mulcahy (RX8). This class that sees an amazing mix of cars from a hoard of various BMW touring cars & BMW Mini’s to Rotary powered Mazda Rx7’s and some turbocharged monsters.

Class A (0-2000cc) is currently lead by the immaculate ex-WTCC BMW E90 of Anthony Leighs after a CV failure sidelined Arron & Stu Black (BMW E46 WTCC) who lead the class after Round one. Second in class is Jaden Ransley (TR86) however he will miss Levels as he preps for the Toyota 86 Series, which will open the door for others to snare a class podium including the fast Civic quartet of Daniel Cropp, Andrew Gibson, Tim Dossett and also Gary Ponting who is well overdue for a good run in his brand new machine. Also look out for the bright Yellow Lotus Exige of Mark Meadows and although this class hosts the smallest cars, the action is always hot!

Not only are teams racing for overall and class positions and silverware, but also for a share of the over $30,000 purse that will be paid out at Levels. Thanks to series sponsors Carters Tyre Service and Allied 24/7/fuel the series will again have one of the richest prize money pools in NZ Motorsport and all prizemoney is paid out across both the 3 Hour and 1 Hour Series, ensuring that it is spread right through the field.

There are also various awards and spot prizes including a set of Michelin tyres and several thousand dollars’ worth of prizes from ENDLESS Advance Braking Technologies as well as $5000 cash that will all be given away as spot prizes to competitors in the series.

So with 95 championship and class points on offer for the Levels finale, every single class plus the overall series spoils are still up for grabs. However one thing is guaranteed and that is with a capacity grid and wildly varied field of cars on the tight Timaru circuit anything can happen. At the end of race day Saturday there will be a new Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series Champion crowned, the question is who will it be?

For more information on the South Island Endurance Series, entries, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at sierdc@xtra.co.nz  ph 021-107-9293. Club information can also be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/sierdcnz, for more information on the series sponsor Carters Tyres, please visit www.carterstyres.co.nz  Qualifying starts at 9am Saturday & just $15-00 at the gate.

South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club Inc
Chris Dunn
p: 021-107-9293
e: sierdc@xtra.co.nz
w:  www.facebook.com/sierdcnz