The long-awaited final results of all the class and outright Championship winners of the one-hour, two-hour and three-hour, three-round NIERDC series have been released, but not without considerable controversy in the final round of the three-hour race.
The controversy centres around the entry of Shane Helms’s and Greg Murphy’s Renault R1 invitation car, which qualified on the Friday with Helms’s at the wheel; however, overnight, Shane’s daughter was admitted to hospital, which ruled Helms’s out for the next day’s race. The upshot was that Helms’s Race Lab team, rather than withdrawing the car, suggested that if all the other three-hour competitors agreed to let Tom Alexander substitute for Shane, they would run the car in the race as planned.
The principle issue was that Alexander is a rated, so-called Elite driver, as is Greg Murphy, the pairing of which is not permitted under the NIERDC and SIERDC regulations, who jointly work on a standard list of agreed-to Elite drivers for both the North Island and South Island series. This required an agreement by all the three-hour entrants to agree to a variation of the regulations for the one race, to be submitted to the Clerk Of The Course to permit or not permit.
The result was that all of the entrants signed either personally or by authorised parties, to allow two Elite drivers to drive the Renault R1 Race Lab entry on the proviso that Alexander would have to start from pit lane and would not collect any Series points for that race.
Fine and dandy, you may think, but the devil, as they say, is in the detail; Murphy and Alexander end up winning the race, receiving the first-place trophy but no series points. The father and son pairing of Paul Pedersen and his son Ant Pedersen finished second but believed that they would inherit the first place series points, which would be enough to give them the Championship win. Confusion reigned supreme when third place getter Andrew Fawcett and Danial Gaunt were awarded the Championship win by one single point.
The President of NIERDC, David Dovey, referred the dispute to MSNZ as the series is sanctioned by MSNZ, who must approve all of the rules and regulations for a ruling. However, five days later, MSNZ advised Dovey that they could not determine a winner, and it was up to NIERDC to decide the championship winner.
Dovey, to his credit, immediately called an urgent meeting of the Clubs organising committee, who determined that Pedersen’s entry was not entitled to the first place series points for the Hampton Downs final round, as the winning car was deemed eligible to run by the consent of all of the three-hour entrants. As such first place series points were vacated; therefore, the original decision to award the Championship win to Fawcett and Gaunt would stand.
A race category and class breakdown can be found below.
One Hour Category:
The one-hour category saw Sam Collins come out as the one hour category champion after winning the third round in his Marc Gen 2 Mustang.
Coming into the third round, Collins was just one point behind Steve Brooks and Bill Riding but after the two finished in third place, it was Collins who won the championship.
Second position in the one-hour category overall went to the Porsche 992 of Brooks and Riding but came third in the final race.
Second place in round three went to Marco Giltrap in his Porsche Cayman GT4 who scored fourth in the championship overall.
To round out the championship top three, class one driver Marco Schelp was third overall in the one-hour category.
Class One – One Hour:
There were two competitors in class one of the one-hour category this season with the top spot going to Marco Schelp in his BMW Z4 GT3.
Rival Dave O’Leary’s Corvette GT3 did not enter the first two rounds and did not start in the third and final round at Hampton Downs.
Class Two – One Hour:
By far the most populous class in every category this season, class two saw some close competition for the podium spots.
It was Sam Collins who won class two outright after achieving two wins this season, his first in round one at Pukekohe raceway and his second in the one hour race at Hampton Downs.
Steve Brooks and Bill Riding had three consistent races achieving podiums in each round. However, it was only good enough for second place in class two and the one-hour championship overall.
Third place in class two went to Robert Wallace who made a great comeback after his round one DNF.
Class Three – One Hour:
Marco Giltrap took home the class win in each round, alongside winning class three overall.
Second place in class went to Grant Aitken after scoring two consecutive second places in rounds one and two, but came fifth in round three.
John Buchanan came home third in the round three race and third in class overall.
Class Four – One Hour:
It was a certified podium for each driver with only three entries in class four. However, the battle was on for the class win.
Grant Baguley and his BMW E46 M3 won both round two and three after not entering the first round at Pukekohe Raceway.
While Charles Rollo and Daniel Cropp missed out on rounds one and two, they were batting for the second spot in the class with Rollo coming out on top overall.
Class Five – One Hour:
Zac Sitchbury and Clint Barber were the only entry in class five with their Toyota 86 but withdrew from round three after not entering the first two races.
Golden Homes One Hour Championship overall points (Top 10):
|1||Sam Collins||Marc Gen 2 Mustang||2||190|
|2||Steve Brooks||Bill Riding||Porsche 992||2||181|
|3||Marco Schelp||BMW Z4 GT3||1||176|
|4||Marco Giltrap||Porsche 982 Cayman GT4||3||169|
|5||Geoff Short||Porsche 997 Gen 2||2||155|
|6||Robert Wallace||Holden Commodore VE V8ST||2||153|
|7||Nick Ross||Nissan Altima L33 TLX||2||146|
|8||Steve Sullivan||Porsche 991 Gen 1||2||131|
|9||Grant Aitken||Porsche 718 Cayman GT4||3||126|
|10||John Buchanan||Porsche 981 Cayman GT4||3||106|
Two Hour Category:
It was another showdown coming into the third round for the two-hour category with David Whitburn and Graham Ball just one point ahead of rivals Brendan Murphy and Brock Cooley.
After race three was said and done, it was Whitburn and Ball who won the two hour championship in their BMW E92 after Murphy and Cooley withdrew from the third round.
That meant second place overall went to Simon Ussher and Jake Stoneman after they won round three at Hampton Downs in their Ford Falcon FG ute, followed by William Morton and Tom Alexander who were third overall in the championship.
Third place in the final race went to Shane Parsons and Daniel Cropp in their Honda CR-X.
Class A – Two Hour:
Alongside their two-hour championship win, Whitburn and Ball took home the class A top spot after a consistent season of podiums.
However, round three saw Ussher and Stoneman clinch first place giving them second in class A overall.
Third position went to Paul and Alex Fougere in the final race itself and along with third in class.
Class B – Two Hour:
A win in the third round meant David and Codie Banks ended up taking home the overall win in class B.
Although Murphy and Cooley withdrew from the third round, they still came second in class after securing two race wins in the previous two rounds.
Third place in class went to Jake and Glen Reid after scoring second place at Hampton Downs.
Class C – Two Hour:
It was a class win for the Toyota 86 of William Morton and Tom Alexander who came fifth in the third round after two wins in rounds one and two.
A second in class finish went to Chris Wall and A. Simon/L.Hammond after a season of podiums, including third place in the race at Hampton Downs.
Donovan Neil and Bruce Simmonds rounded out the overall class C top three in third, but scored sixth place in the round three race.
Golden Homes Two Hour Championship overall points (Top 10):
|1||David Whitburn||Graham Ball||BMW E92||A||185|
|2||Simon Ussher||Jake Stoneman||Ford Falcon FG V8 Ute||A||168|
|3||William Morton||Tom Alexander||Toyota 86||C||164|
|4||Chris Wall||A. Simon/L. Hammond||Honda Civic||C||155|
|5||Philip Ross||Shane Dias||Holden Commodore VE V8 Ute||A||143|
|6||Paul Fougere||Alex Fougere||Holden Commodore VE V8 Ute||A||140|
|7||Greg Kroef||P. Manuell/B.Kroef||Ford Falcon FG V8 Ute||A||138|
|8||Donovan O’Neil||Bruce Simmonds||Toyota Celica||C||128|
|9||Codie Banks||Russel Brock||BMW E36 323||B||125|
|10||David Thomsen||Josh Donohue||Mitsubishi Mirage||C||119|
Three Hour Category:
Coming into round three tied on points, it came down to the wire for Paul and Ant Pedersen who were neck and neck with Andrew Fawcett and Daniel Gaunt.
The father and son Pedersen pairing crossed the line in second place behind the Renault R.S.01 of Greg Murphy and Shane Helms. Due to the aforementioned controversy, Murphy and Helms’ first place points would not count towards the championship but they were awarded the first place trophy.
Points for second place were given to the Pedersens which were not enough to take the championship win. Fawcett and Gaunt’s third place in the final round meant they technically won the three-hour championship. However, the Pedersens disputed this claiming they should have been awarded first place points.
After the dispute was referred to Motorsport New Zealand (MSNZ) and further discussion by the NIERDC committee, the championship win went to Fawcett and Gaunt.
Steve Brooks and Bill Riding who were also competing in the one-hour category this weekend took home third place in the three-hour championship.
Class One – Three Hour:
Class one saw a Murphy and Helms win with Paul and Ant Pedersen taking second place. Fawcett and Gaunt settled for third in the race but were declared the North Island Endurance Series champions.
Class Two – Three Hour:
Considering no cars started or finished the first round, it became a race for first between the Porsche 991 MR of Francois Beziac and Mana Malmezac and Brooks and Riding’s 991 Gen 2.
In the end, second place went to Beziac and Malmezac after the other entries did not enter rounds two and three giving Brooks and Riding the class win.
Class Three – Three Hour:
To finish off the three hour category, David Cremer and Jason Liefting drove a flawless season with two class wins in the first two rounds and a second place in round three, earning them first in class overall.
Golden Homes Three Hour Championship overall points (Top 10):
|1||Paul Pedersen||Ant Pedersen||Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3||1||185|
|2||Andrew Fawcett||Daniel Gaunt||McLaren 720S GT3||1||185|
|3||Steve Brooks||Bill Riding||Porsche 991 Gen 2||2||159|
|4||David Cremer||Jason Liefting||McLaren 570S GT4||3||155|
|5||Sam Fillmore||A. Waite/D. Stutterd||Audi R8 LMS GT3||1||115|
|6||Lance Hughes||Chris van der Drift||Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3||1||102|
|7||Shane Helms||Greg Murphy||Renault R.S.01||1||92|
|8||Francois Beziac||Mana Malmezac||Porsche 991 MR||2||90|
|9||John Penny||R. Murphy/G. Murphy||Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3||1||79|
|10||Glenn Smith||John de Veth||McLaren 650S GT3||1||20|
Main image: Neville Bailey | Story images: Neville Bailey & Harrison Wade