25/09/2017

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Euan Cameron

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Chris Henderson (Toyota AE86 V8) and Tony Quinn (Porsche 997 GT3) leading the pack during the opening round on the 2017 Carters Tyres One Hour Race

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It’s another bumper field as the 2017 Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series heads into its second round at Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna on Saturday 30th September, with a full field of 50 cars set to take the starters lights. Entries have been received from all manner of machinery and range from late model factory race cars through to tyre shredding V8’s and little Toyota’s and Honda’s that grandma would normally drive. With the One Hour Race Series drivers experiencing the thrill & strategy of endurance racing and compulsory pit stops, teams and spectators alike are guaranteed to see some great racing action on the technical Christchurch circuit.

The Teretonga race was held in cool but fine conditions and was a credit to all the drivers for courteous and clean race. The monstrous Toyota AE86 V8 of Chris Henderson scorched around the Invercargill circuit to snatch pole position in tricky conditions and then went on to narrowly win the race in dramatic conditions, claiming top points in both the overall and class C (3501cc+) standings. Second overall and first in the Porsche dominated Class D was Steve Parker (997 Cup S) who lead home the similar cars of series regulars Allan Dippie/Scott O’Donnell and current NZ 1 hour champ Jarrod Owens, who seemed to struggle for pace at Teretonga. A late change of car seen motorsport magnate Tony Quinn drive a 997 GT3 rather than his McLaren 650S and he lead a good portion of the opening race. However he lost out by not making his compulsory pit stop under the first safety car period as many of the top teams did. He will be looking for a better result at Ruapuna with Tony’s team working hard to ready the McLaren for Ruapuna. The Carters Tyres V8 Supercar of Shane Hodgson was one of the pre-season favourites and looked set to win the series opener until a last lap puncture sent the big Falcon off and into the unforgiving Teretonga tyre walls. With a DNF very costly in the championship hunt, Hodgson will be looking for redemption at Ruapuna. Other Class D V8’s for Ruapuna include John Wasdworth’s spectacular MRX Cruise V8 as well as the competitive debut of the ex-Craig Baird Falcon Supertourer for 3hr regulars Hamish Frew & Darryl Barrett. Also don’t discount, for Class D and overall placings, the later spec Porsche 991 spec of Russell McKenzie who missed the series opening after an accident during pre-season testing.

Class C (3501cc+) always brandishes spectacular machinery and although Henderson took round one class honors reasonably easily at Teretonga we can expect a big challenge from Bruce Davidson who has been working hard on the Corvette C6R reliability in a class that at seasons end is often won by attrition rather than outright speed. One of the favourites to have bad luck at Teretonga was the magnificent Nissan R32 GT-R of Karl & Murray Beeby who lost a clutch late in the race resulting in a DNF. Look out also for the rotary brigade with a pair of Turbo Mazda RX7’s for Russell Burgess and Garry & Ben Derrick, the latter trying hard to have their Porsche 996 ready for Levels after using their RX7 at Teretonga. Others to look out for in Class C include Boyd Wilson & young gun Jordan Michels in the NZV8 spec Falcon and also Ben Coffin with his new Mazda RX7 V8, plus you can never discount the ultra-reliable Porsche 964 of Chris Fleury to snare a top result by flying under the radar.

The competition will be as fiercely fought right through each class within the Series and especially Class B (2001cc-3500cc) which saw a terrific nose to tail battle at Teretonga between defending class champion Andrew Wright and Adam Glass in their near identical BMW E36 M3’s. Ben Barlow was a surprise 3rd in Class at Teretonga in his Honda Civic 2.2 ahead of Mazda’s of Marcus Mulcahy (RX8) & Mal Walters (RX7) who were split by the immaculate VW Golf GTi of series newcomer Craig Elstob. A couple of cars looking for a much better run at Ruapuna were the turbo cars of Andy Giles (AE86) and Neville Stowell (Seat Leon), neither of whom made the Teretonga race start after suffering pre-race issues and this popular class sees everything from genuine ex European Touring cars to cars that competed in the BMW Mini Challenge and Mazda Pro7 categories.

Opening round honors for Class A (0-2000cc) went to current NZ Class campions Stu & Arron Black in their ex WTCC BMW E46 with the similar yet later model E90 WTCC BMW finishing 3rd in its NZ race debut. Splitting these two was another series rookie Andrew Gibson in his rapid Honda Civic. The similar car of past SIERDC and current NZ class champion Daniel Cropp was a non-starter at Teretonga so he will be looking for a strong result on home soil to get his Series and NZ championship qualifying dream back on track. This class seen a few uncharacteristic DNF’s at Teretonga with Art Markus (Starlet) Sam Bushell (Starlet), Kelvin Kimber (Integra) and past class champion Gary Ponting (Civic), who debuted a brand new car at Teretonga, all not taking the chequered flag. This class also sees entries for, Mike Ham (Peugeot 205 GTi), inaugural SS Cup champions Tim Dossett (Civic), Mark Meadows beautiful wee Lotus Exige and TR86 pilot Jaden Ransley (Toyota 86) with a similar Toyota 86 entered for South Island motorsport legend Rod McElrea. So although this class has our smallest cars, every year it produces fantastic down to the wire racing and expect nothing less for 2017.

After Ruapuna, the Carters Tyres One Hour Race Series moves to Timaru’s Levels Raceway on Saturday 14th October for Series’ Grand Finale, where a Series Champion will be crowned. Thanks to Series sponsor Carters Tyre Service as well as Allied 24/7/Fuel, the Carters Tyres Series will again have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport, with One Hour competitors in for a share of over $30,000- that will be paid out as prize money for 2017, as well as major spot prizes up for grabs to a competitors in either the one hour or three hour Series.

There is the possibility of still a couple of entry spots available for the Ruapuna round and for more information, 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  Club information and live updates on race day can be found on the clubs facebook page www.facebook.com/sierdcnz, and for more information on the series sponsor Carters Tyre Service, please visit www.carterstyres.co.nz. The Ruapuna action starts from 10.30am Saturday and gate entry is only $20-00.

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