HAMPTON DOWNS 28 February 2010
Sunday was a very warm, windless day and this saw the Muscle Cars line up for Round four of the series hosted by the Auckland Car Club.
Qualifying saw Colin Meadows in the Corvette quickly come to terms with the hot conditions with a competitive 1:12.2 to take pole position. Tim La Trobe was next in the Mercedes followed by series points leader Justin Butcher. Ron Findlay made a successful return to the under 4500cc class with a 1:21.6. Steve Swann had engine problems which would prove terminal.
The weather only seemed to get hotter as the drivers started their first scratch race of eight laps. Colin Meadows led the field away and took a comfortable win. The minors were a lot closer with Tim La Trobe and Justin Butcher fighting it out for second. Justin did take the second place from Tim with an improving Billy Dunn in fourth. Ron Findlay in the 260Z took the under 4500cc class from Graham Cargill in the Charger. Bruce McRae kept the crowd entertained with no less than three spins. Colin secured fastest lap of the day with a 1:12.9sec lap.
Race two is the reverse grid delayed start format and proved to be the best race of the day. The first attempt at racing saw the red flag come out on lap 1 after Tony Gordon in his Corvette bit the dust at corner three. The restart saw Hamish Andrews in the Commodore lead the field away and hold the lead for the first half. Roy Bingley was seen limping into the pits with a puncture. Tony van Tiel was also handy in the early stages. The second part of the race saw all the contenders closely bunched and this always means fireworks with the Muscle cars. Ross Golding and Colin Meadows both had spins at critical times which saw them lose valuable time. Billy Dunn had worked his way to the lead and found Justin close behind. This is the way it would have stayed if it wasn’t for a brave outside passing manoeuvre by the Falcon driver to take the lead and the race win. Great racing by these two drivers carried over from last month's race. Billy finished 1.4secs back with Tim La Trobe third. Graham Cargill got one back on Ron Findlay in the 4500cc class. The track seemed to be a little slower than previous days, possibly because of the heat and some debris on turns 3 and 4.
Race 3 was the handicap start with the hot conditions continuing. Hamish Andrews led the field away but it wasn’t long before Bruce McRae made his way to the front and was putting in some of his best laps for the day. Ross Golding was thereabout but his challenge faulted with a spin. Colin Meadows only managed one lap before retiring with carb issues. This left Justin Butcher as the back marker slowing catching those in front. Billy Dunn and Tim La Trobe were chasing Bruce McRae but didn’t look likely until Bruce got it all wrong on turn four and created a dust storm and a lost opportunity to take the win. Tim La Trobe held off Billy Dunn for the win with Justin Butcher taking third. The hot conditions took their toll with only six cars making the finish line.
With the halfway point now being reached in the Championship race, Justin Butcher has emerged as the leader with Ross Golding second and Bruce McRae and Colin Meadows tied for third. Roy Bingley has one hand on the trophy already in the 4500cc class.