Race Report Icebreaker Round 1 2018/19
Head to Head Battles at the Series Opening
A quiet start to the Season Competitor-wise a lower number of entries compared to the opening Icebreaker meeting 2017/18. Unfortunately 3 withdrawals prior to race day due to mechanical issues further depleted the grid, although all 3 drivers came out to Hampton Downs as supporters. We decided, with the organiser’s approval, to invite the French entries from ERC to join us in the Series Handicap (third race) of the meeting to add a flavour of the challenges such as the Alfa/Lotus challenges of earlier years.
We welcomed Alex Schulz and Aaron Woolley back to the Series, both in red Alfa 155 models. The non-Alfa representation being Maurice Thomson (Trofeo’s Most Consistent Driver of 2017/18) in his GTA Class Fiat Punto Abarth HGT sporting some new go-fast livery hinting at some under bonnet upgrades too. And we also welcomed Dot Louie who has joined the committee in the role of Acting Secretary/Treasurer - she is very welcome and we look forward to working with her.
The meeting produced two days of exceptional camaraderie and some epic head to head racing amongst those who took to the track. Most drivers enjoying the double grid entry opportunity to race with the combined ERC grid as well.
Day 1 was held in mixed weather conditions with 2 periods of showers affecting mainly the ERC grid runs. But for Toorace Trofeo the weather conditions were dry, allowing all the drivers to assess their new season set ups and track conditions. Most seemed reasonably happy although a lack of horsepower from Ross Olifents’ Alfa 33 suggested that work recently done was actually a work-in-progress. In true Trofeo style there was no end of helpful ideas, and Chris Hunkin was able to diagnose a timing issue.
Scratch Race 1 Saturday was a good battle with Ross restored to better performance battling for most of the six laps with Wendy Metcalfe, who was able to demonstrate the improved handling that Ross had installed in her drive; Wendy turn held off by Chris Browne who suggested later braking will even the tables. Other notable battles were Chris Hunkin and Alex; and Simon Mills and Darron Curphey who came home in first and second place with Simon setting his fastest ever time at the track of 1:17:874 in lap 5.
The Snag & a Cold One on Saturday afternoon was a chance to catch up on some news and the announcement of the Toorace Trofeo competition announced by James McComb of Toorace. The Competition to promote the Toorace Trofeo Series and Toorace brand will see a Toorace Race Suit presented to the Driver who best represents Toorace on track, in the pits and through social media and beyond. James’ announced that their is only one rule - all social media posts must include the #toorace tag. (full competition details will follow). Aaron was heard to think this would be an excellent Xmas (2019?) present. He was reminded that he may need to join Facebook or Twitter! Toorace have provided sticker packs from which you can choose the size and placement of the branding to best complement your livery.
Sunday was a fantastic day for racing with near perfect track conditions - except for the 3 racers who found designated Alfa parking bays on track during the earlier ERC grid race. Unfortunately further deleting our handicap grids for our final 2 races, although Alex was able to rejoin us for Race 3.
The first of the Handicap races (Class Handicap) saw Chris Browne scoring a first and maximum points in Veloce Class; Aaron taking out GT Junior honours from Wendy ; with Chris Hunkin and Maurice Thomson taking the Trofeo and GTA class wins. Aaron’ performance was especially strong showing that he was quickly learning the Hampton Downs track with very consistent times. The reason for Maurice Thomson’s fading through the last 3 laps was diagnosed as fuel starvation, with an easy remedy - put in more gas Maurice!
The last race of the meeting was the Series Handicap race where all 4 classes run together.
The planned Toorace Trofeo vs. ‘The French’ unfortunately saw only the 205 GTI Peugeot of Jeremy Thornton join the grid. Although he charged through the field a final lap mechanical saw him retire in a dramatic cloud at Turn 1. I guess Trofeo can chalk this one up for now. The final result was all Trofeo racers crossing the line within 11.1 seconds - so a pretty good handicapping result. The star was a ‘re-vitalised’ (read as fully fuelled) Thomson Punto which Maurice drove from 6th on the grid to take the honours. Fiat 1: Alfa - all the other places. The challenge has been set.
Toorace Trofeo Series also applauds the talents of the photographers who have caught the Head to Head battles of the weekend, and have generously shared their photos with us. Pam Thomson, Phil Noble of NZ Classic Car Racing, Matt Smith Photography, and Ant Gray of Stock not Stock. Their talents can be seen on our Facebook page, a selection will appear in our Gallery page as soon as we can make up our minds which to pick.
Thank you to everyone who is following us on Facebook - our posts this week reached 2,200 people, with 879 engagements. Now we need 10% of you to come out to Pukekohe on the 13th and share the fun on track or from the stands.