The third New Zealand Racing Drivers League event made its maiden voyage to the Manfeild Circuit in Fielding. Despite it’s relatively isolated location, many Auckland drivers and teams made the six hour trip down for three days of excellent racing, writes Simon Chapman.
The Rotary Racing Enthusiasts were the headline act for the meeting dubbed the ‘Rotary Revival.’ The Rotary field would be restricted to just five cars after late cancellations and a couple of cars sustained mechanical issues early on in the weekend. Arie Brooks and Simon Hetterscheid struck problems early on, both unable to finish the first race. Tony Bowman dominated proceedings in his extremely light rotary powered sports car, winning the first and second races by nearly forty seconds, and only just getting piped at the post by Stephan Dyke in his Mazda Cosmo in the final race of the weekend. Stephen Armstrong finished well in the first two races finishing
second and third respectively, but struck gremlins later on, unable to contest the final race of the weekend.
The Motul Honda Cup series fielded one of the largest grids, with twenty four cars in total. This was the first time the series had been to Manfeild since 2012, so many made the trip to the circuit which is the favourite of many. Regular front runners Shane Parsons and Richard Gee continued to dominate qualifying, going second and third respectively. South Islander Daniel Cropp was the surprise contender, qualifying third in his EG Civic. David Miller impressed going fifth overall, this was his first time at the circuit.
In the early stages of the first race, an incident at the turn five hairpin had left William Yu and several other competitors taking evasive action, trying to avoid a slowing car. Shane Parsons had battled gremlins in the recent rounds, and would find himself in trouble again and making the three hour trip to Tauranga to fix his CRX, bringing it back to race the following morning.
Richard Gee would take the opening race of the weekend in Honda Cup, ahead of series leader Martin Dunn, and Parsons. Gee, Dunn, and Parsons would jostle for position in the next two races, Parsons taking the win in the second race over Dunn by two seconds, Gee only just missing out on second position.
Garry Morrell’s weekend would come to an end halfway through race two when the engine in his DC2 Integra blew up in spectacular fashion sending smoke down the length of the front straight. Daniel Cropp who had previously shown pace in qualifying was unable to capitalize on his speed in the first two races, but came back to win in the final race of the weekend.
The crowd-pleasing 2KCUP series fielded a slightly depleted field than usual, with twenty seven street legal cars taking to the Manfeild circuit. With points tight at the top, finishing was just as important as winning. Tyson Jemmett went into the fourth round as the overall leader, but a DNF in race one effectively put him out of the run for the championship. Tyson, later decided not to contest the remainder of the season deciding instead wanting to focus on other motor racing ventures.
Paul Dunkley made the most of Tyson Jemmett’s misfortune, taking third place in race one, and second place in race two, taking the lead from Jemmett in the points. The same could be said for James Watson, who finished third and fourth in the two races respectively, further extending the battle for the lead in the points. In 1.6KCUP, Kent Dalziell extended his lead in the championship after the no.44 car failed to show for the racing.
The Custom Tee’s NZ Superlap series was again an all import affair with the Mitsubishi the obvious choice of machinery for competitors, with Scott Kreyl, Kat Benson, and Jaxon Sharp all competing in Mitsubishi Evolution’s. The event also featured one heavily modified Nissan Skyline r32 and a street sleeper EG Civic. The obvious favourite was Scott Kreyl in his Hell Racing Team Revolution Mitsubishi Evo. The car, which has been through various guises, once again struck mechanical issues as it had done in the previous round. Most of practice was spent getting the car to the point where it could run consistent laps. Fortunately, the team managed to get the car out for the final run, and taking the win setting a 1:10.988. Kreyl also won the Dial Your Own contest, coming within just 0.09 of his nominated time.
The New Zealand Superkart series had the most track time of all the classes, with a total eleven sessions over the weekend being held. The Superkarts as always proved to be an exciting class to watch, with just over twenty karts pilling into the first corner four times over the weekend. Andrew Hall proved to be the dominant driver over the weekend winning all but one race, only losing to Tony Gestro in the third race. Gestro and Hall battled it out, and were neck and neck throughout the majority of the races, but were notably closer in the final. Gestro and Hall were clearly the fastest of the field, managing to lap the entire field in the third race.
The New Zealand Sports Car series had a new runner in the form of three time New Zealand Grand Prix champion Nick Cassidy running in a Juno. Cassidy dominated proceedings taking three of the four race wins ahead of the speedy Dean McCarroll. Cassidy’s pace was evident throughout the weekend, often running two seconds faster a lap than the second places McCarroll.
The New Zealand Drivers Racing League heads north to Ricoh Taupo Motorsport Park for their fourth event which hosts the Motul Honda Cup, Rotary Racing Enthusiasts, 2KCUP, Superkarts, New Zealand Sports Car series, and Custom Shirts NZ Superlap