28 Jan 2017
Tonight it was just Pam and I heading
out to the Glen and this time for the Canterbury Super Saloon Championships.
As soon as I looked at the track I reminded Trevor Elliott how we both nearly
broke the lap record around this time last season when the track conditions
appeared identical. I guess that just put me in a good mindset too cos on
track for our first heat I passed several cars to advance from seventh to
third. It's not often I get to pass Ray & Richie so it was a good feeling
to have 811 moving forward thru the pack. On the last lap Trevor managed
to snatch third place from me but still wrapt with 4th in the classy thirteen
car field. The format was two more heat races to decide grids for the 20
lap championship deciding feature.
After suggesting he put on one of our team shirts, we were privileged to have Adam from the BRT crew join us tonight and he got stuck into making necessary setup changes to the car. Heat two had 811 leaving from the front row on grid one. The track had definitely changed but still looked favourable for us. The changes we made to the car felt good, I felt confident however I lost the start due to not wanting to get caught out for jumping early by the officials. I just haven't had many front row starts recently and it seems I just gotta get going and launch quicker without worrying about the grid two car so much. Although I dropped back to third earlier in the race it wasn't long before I was dicing with Ian Burson for the lead. Now this is new territory for myself and 811 as well, I fought a good battle and even passed Ian to gain the lead. Just when it looked like 811 was heading for a win, a late caution and re-start gave both Ian and Trevor the opportunity to press through on the last lap. Still stoked to be up near the front and I'll take that heats third place thanks and I was very pleased with how Adam and I had virtually nailed the setup on that one.
Last heat had us leaving from the rear of the field thirteenth on the grid. Mid race Campbell McManaway and I had a nose to tail when he braked hard mid-turn to avoid another car. This resulted in a puncture for Campbell and re-arranged front bodywork on 811 but for a change, no mechanical damage which saw us continue in the race. I managed to make a few passes and the result was a credible 8th.
After the points tally 811 was currently 5th overall so grid five it was for the 20 lap feature. Now these one feature race deals to decide championships have never favoured us in the past but having said that I'm normally starting further back in the grid and had we only done the three heat championship format, 5th overall in the champs is all we would have got anyhow.
So Adam & I set about getting the car right for a slick track and I decided to drive the low line as straight and fast as possible. We battled away just behind the leaders and although I passed Richie earlier on and then Ian it looked like we would have to settle for 4th overall. At this stage Trevor was leading, Richie was 2nd after getting by me again and Gavin Hill was running 3rd. I struggled to keep in touch at times but was happy to find out afterwards that there was daylight behind me as well without any serious challengers. Now this is all new territory especially in recent times but I will definitely take it. Glen, Steve, Ian, Casey, Pam, we have all worked bloody hard on 811 often for very little reward other than the fun and to participate. So on the last corner of the last lap when Gavin spun and I shot through to grab 3rd place podium in the Canterbury Championship it was a very deserving reward for the whole team. Disappointing somewhat for Gavin I'm sure but very encouraging for myself after so much effort to keep 811 reliable and on track.
It's also very humbling to have the likes of Dennis Bolt, Richie, Ian etc congratulating us on the result and I'm sure it's welcome reward for the many businesses who support our racing too so I can't thank them enough.
Where to from here? It's rounds 3 & 4 of the Vertex Super Cup this weekend at Central Motor Speedway in Cromwell. Pam, Casey and Adam are all "keen as" so hopefully we can try that little bit harder and not be Tailend Charlie down there.