Teams shrug off torrential rain to make ‘real race’ of first NaZCAR Pro Series round

All 26 teams which started motorsport event promoter NaZCAR’s first all-in 3 and 6 hr Pro Series endurance motor race at Hampton Downs on Saturday (Jul 17) battled mightily; against the clock, amongst each other and – perhaps most importantly- against the torrential rain showers which swept across the track from early morning until just before the chequered flag was waved at 5.15pm.

“They were hands-down the worst conditions I’ve ever run a race meeting in, yet everyone who made the start just seemed to knuckle down and get on with the job,” said the man behind the new-look event, successful businessman-turned motor racing event promoter Dr Jacob Simonsen this week.

“I am just so proud of everyone who turned up and helped make the meeting run as smoothly as it did despite the conditions; and that includes each and every driver, crew member, event and track official and our marshals.”

Classes 2 and 4 were where most of the action was throughout the race with only four laps separating the 6 hr Class 2-winning BMW E46 saloon of Team Trump Support pair Andrew Ayre and Greg Honnor (200 laps) from the third-placed BMW E36 coupe of Team Get in Behind (Tony Rutz, Matthew Booth, Garry Denham and Colin Letcher) which completed 196 laps.

Splitting the two BMWs in second place in Class 2, having covered 198 laps over the 6 Hr race distance, meanwhile, was the modified SsangYong Actyon ‘Super Ute’ of Team Ghost Dog Racing’s father/son duo Rick and Deon Cooper.


Amongst the (majority) of teams which signed on for both the 3 hr and 6 hr races (run concurrently) there were also some amazing performances in the inclement weather and track conditions to come out of Class 4. In particular, Team Assassin (Mal Chamberlain/Phill Dravitski/David Cox) not only won their class (by a whopping 14 laps no less over second-placed ‘The Old Guys’ (Alastair Dunbar/Dave Houghton/John Brook) they also ended up in a ‘not-to-be-sniffed-at’ 5th place amongst the teams which had cross-entered both the 3 hr and 6 races.

To put that in perspective the top Class 3 team – Markus Heke and Dillon Grant’s Team Fourteen – were able to lap comfortably quicker (their best time a 1.32.8 cfm with the Assassins’ best of a 1.38.3) yet with their metronomic-like consistency the Assassins were able to cover two more laps.

Class 1 was won, meanwhile by the JTune/ST Hitec Honda Civic Tyre R 4 door of Honda tuning guru Jacky Tse and evergreen fellow Aucklander ‘Racing Ray Williams who completed 200 laps.  The Civic was one of only two cars entered in the quickest class, and when the other – the BMW E36 of Team Mag Motorsport’s Garry Cammock and Michael Jane – was retired after completing only 26 laps, Tse and Williams were guaranteed the Class win in both the 3 ad 6 Hr races – as long as they finished!

Entrants were divided into four classes based on time ‘bands’ – from Pro 1 (cars capable of lapping the 2.8km National Circuit at Hampton Downs between 1:15.00 and 1.17.999 seconds, to Pro 4 (for cars capable of lapping in 1:27.00 to 1:33.00).

Race officials then  added a 14 second ‘wet’ allowance to those times – after analysing the  times set by each car in the wet qualifying session on Saturday morning –  before any penalty for a breakout would be considered.

In the interest of driver safety the race was started and run behind the Safety Car for several laps before ‘going green.’ Later on in the 6 Hr the race was also red-flagged and the field called into pit lane to wait around 20 minutes for a particularly vicious rain storm to blow itself out.

Once it had, the race resumed for a final sprint to the flag.  

For those keen to check out just how bad the conditions were for most of the race the livestream footage is on the NaZCAR Facebook page.

For more information on the inaugural three-round NaZCAR Pro Series go to nazcar.nz/pro-series or check out the NaZCAR page on Facebook.

See also: ‘Build it and they will come’ approach works for NaZCAR Pro Series promoter Simonsen

RESULTS

Overall by class 6-Hr

With series points per class after Rnd 1 of 3.

Pro 1: 1. Team JTune (Jacky Tse & ‘Racing Ray’ Williams/Honda Civic Type R) 220 points; 2. Team Mag Motorsport (Garry Cammock & Michael Jane/BMW E36) 200 points.

Pro 2: 1. Team Trump Support (Andrew Ayre/Greg Honnor E46 ) 220 points; 2. Team Ghost Dog Racing (Deon & Rick Cooper, SsangYong ‘Super-Ute) 200 points; 3. Team Get In Behind (Tony Rutz/Matthew Booth/Garry Denham & Colin Letcher, BMW E36)180 points; 4. Team B&D Motorsport (Murray Brook/Simon Duffy) 170 points; 5. Team Aussie Spares (Steve Bennenbroek/Joshua Compston) 160 points.

Pro 3: 1. Team14 (Markus Heke/Dillon Grant) 220 points; 2. Team 3 Boys 1 Cup (Victor Green/David Beachan) 200 points; 3. Team Shiny Side Racing (Daryl Mitchell/Richard Fowler) 180 points.

Pro 4: 1. Team Assassin Racing (Mel Chamberlain/Phil Dravitski/David Cox) 20 points; 2. Team Life’s Great (Richard Skilton/Nigel Edgar) 200 points; 3. Team The Old Guys (Alastair Dunbar/Dave Houghton/John Brook) 180 points; 4. Team Hooncorp #3 (Nathan Howe/Zefram Elliot) 170 points; 5, Team Hooncorp #2 (Michael Cleath/Nathan Howe) 160 points.

Overall by class 3-Hr

With series points per class after Rnd 1 of 3.

Pro 1: 1. Team JTune 160 points; 2. Team Mag Motorsport 150 points

Pro 2: 1. Team B&D Motorsport 160 points; 2. Team Aussie Spares 150 points; 3. Team AP Fencing (Elton Wichman, Brendon Austin & Roger Beuvink) 140 points

Pro 3: 1. Team Pinkham Racing (Daniel & Edward Pinkham) 160 points; 2. Team Fourteen (Marcus Heke & Dillon Grant ) 150 points; 3. Team Trickle Racing (Luke Wilson & Robert Grant) 140 points; 4. Team Link Motorsport (Alastair & Richard Chambers) 135 points; 5. Team 3 Boys 1 Cup (Victor Green & David Beachen) 130 points.

Pro 4: 1. Team Assassin Racing (Mal Chamberlain, Phil Dravitski & David Cox) 160 points; 2. Team Morris Garage (Grant & Russ Kern) 150 points; 3. Team ‘The Old Guys (Alastair Dunbar, Dave Houghton & John Brook) 140 points; 4. Team Hooncorp #3 (Nahan Howe & Zefram Elliot) 135 points; 5. Team Hooncorp #2 (Michael Cleath & Nathan Howe) 130 points; 6. Team OFP Racing (John Tomlin) 125 points; 7. Team Hooncorp #1 100 point

Ross MacKay is an award-winning journalist, author and publicist with first-hand experience of motorsport from a lifetime competing on two and four wheels. He currently combines contract media work with weekend Mountain Bike missions and trips to grassroots drift days.

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