The Muddy Talker’s Bit
Porter Group Counties Classic Series 2014-2015
The first round of the series was held on 29th November, at CMORC’s track in Puhinui, Auckland. A few weeks prior to the event had seen a lot of work put into the track; re-profiling of the jumps, smoothing or ruts and so forth. Driver reaction to this work was very positive. Dry weather and strong winds leading up to the event saw a lot of water go down on Friday and Saturday morning.
The popular twilight format from the last series was retained for the 41 entries, starting not too long after 2.00pm. Racing rattled along nicely, with no major hold ups so that the last race finished just after 7.00pm.
Following the usual format of three 5 lap heats per class, and an all-in Feature, the first round of heats kicked off with the Kiwitrucks, the Junior class, which has its own series. It was rather disappointing to have only two entries, reigning Champion Marcus Runciman and Trae Carrington. Although he tried hard, and was often alongside Carrington in the heats, Runciman had no real answer, Carrington winning the three heats and the 10 lap Feature. A little bird tells me Runciman is getting an engine rebuild from Santa.
Class 7 looked for all money to be a Tyler Castle benefit, as he ran away and hid in the early heats. However, mechanical failure saw the car on the trailer before the Feature. With Sam Garrett’s car not wanting to run, the fight was between Ollie McCall, Jaden Carrington and Tania Delahunty. McCall topped the points for the day, but things didn’t always go his way. The three of them swapped podiums throughout the day. McCall lead the first three laps of the Feature, opening a big gap in the process. Carrington had the misfortune to tangle with another car in this race, the result being that he now owns a stretch of fencing! Delahunty is settling very well into her car, and although she closed to within striking distance of McCall as he eased up a bit, couldn’t quite get close enough to challenge. The 7s possibly put on the best racing of the day.
Ken Rowe dominated the Challenger field, right up until the car, usually driven by his father Wayne in National events, ground to a halt within sight of the finish in the Feature. Dyson Delahunty put in a strong performance to be best of the rest, from the evergreen Geoff Matich, Bradley Brown, Justin Williams and Megan Godwin. Bradley Scott’s car let him down very early in the proceedings.
Last year’s winner, Devlin Hill, is looking good for the series, taking four wins from four starts in Class 3. Even a spin during the heats, didn’t stop him from going from last to first in the five laps. Gaining the maximum 72 points puts him 16 points ahead of Greg Mullins, who in turn is well clear of Craig Patching, after Patching had a DNF. Gavin Walmsley and Jarrod Marwood are just a bit off the pace and would hope for a miracle or two to get them into contention. Lance Cargill had a miserable day, failing to finish a race, as did George Murphy. Cargill has resurrected the ex-Emil Velsalko Pengelly, now with the VW replaced by Toyota twin cam power, for Murphy to race; unfortunately the car was playing up, not even being able to get off from the start of any of the races. Bit of work to do there, guys.
Pete Tinsley simply ran away in and hid in Class 5, neither Nick Magness nor Rodney Greenhorn could match his pace. Failure to finish races didn’t help their cause, either. Tinsley had to start work at 1.00am on Sunday, the long drive back to Napier saw him miss the Feature race. I understand that that first heat win was his first ever race victory. Was he happy? You bet!
Richard Crabb's screaming “Big Trouble” had no trouble ruling Class 1. Shaun Russell and Murray Kitt were not able to stay with him, although Russell got close. The Class 10 field quietly destructed, Phil Johnston not able to finish the first heat. Scott Buckley looked the business, able to mix it with the Class 1s, until a half spin saw him tagged by Kitt (through no fault of Kitt’s, just wrong place, wrong time, alas); exit one BSL Tera with severely damaged left front suspension. That left Max Byrnes to carry the flag, until he too was out with suspension failure during the Feature. Byrnes does lead the class, however.
Warren Adams was the sole Class 6 entry, while Mike Konings had his Class 9 Baja out for a skid, taking it to the Class 1s with gusto.
CMORC President, Nick Hall has the Class 8 ProLight absolutely flying, running away with the class and winning the Feature in grand style, from the rear of the grid. Alan Joy’s monster 8.0ltr truck has the power (and the noise), but can’t get that power to the ground, while Dale Buckley with only a V6, just does not have the speed.
Carl Ruiterman has been a revelation in Class U, but if he thought he would have things his way, he had introduced a newcomer to the class in the shape of Joel Giddy. Giddy’s three wins and a second put him in the class lead by 12 points, from Phil Smart. Good to see Smart has recovered from his nasty crash at the Whakatane National round in September. Daniel Hartridge, another newbie, had a good day, leaving him third in class, from Tony Radisich. Ruiterman and class stalwart, Mike Small had a day to forget, leaving them looking for the cheque book for repairs.
After the first round of the series, Devlin Hill leads on 72 points, from Ken Rowe and Joel Giddy, equal second on 70 points, then Dyson Delahunty next on 66, and Nick Hall on 64. This is going to be close. The second round will be on January 31st, the final on February 21st, at the same South Auckland venue.
See you at the motor races.