Two weeks after his fiery crash in round two of the Mazda Racing Series at Pukekohe Park, Roger Beuvink is now ready to return to the track with a newly built race car.
Beuvink walked away unharmed from a violent crash along Pukekohe’s main straight earlier in the month.
After careening into the concrete barrier headfirst at full-speed, last season’s RX-8 Cup champion saw his car catch into flames as the engine was bulldozed into the main body of the car.
The accident unsettled Beuvink, and it took a few hours before he mustered up the courage to assess the damage.
“After hitting the wall, the first thing I thought was how lucky I am to get over the crash,” Beuvink told Velocity News.
“Then the thing caught fire and I thought ‘Now I have to get out of here quickly’.
“Once getting back to the pits, I had no idea what the car looked like. They had taken it away to the other side of the pitlane, and it was like one or two hours before I even went to look at it.
“Immediately, I could see it was badly damaged. The floor had ripples in it and the fire had ruined a lot of the car.
“I was ready to throw a tarp over it and leave it in the garage for the rest of the year. It really looked like the end of my season.”
However, while Beuvink mulled over the car’s future, a rebuild strategy championed by fellow drivers Leo Bult and Elton Wichman was already being drafted.
The two had chalked out a plan to have Beuvink’s marred car on a trailer by that same evening with a donor car to be prepped for stripping the following day.
“When Leo and Elton rang me at 7 am the next Monday to say they had a plan to build a brand-new race car, I just said ‘Bloody hell. There is no way’.
“But sure enough on that Monday they had picked up a new car. By the end of that day it had been stripped.”
Over the next few days, Beuvink saw his rebuild project continuously accelerate as fellow Mazda Racing Series members pitched in their support.
“It was just awesome,” Beuvink said. “We managed to achieve a three-month task in just 14 days.
“The crash had punched a hole in the motor. But within three days we had a new motor to put in the car. We even had a painter able to come in within short notice and do all of the interior.
“A friend, Kevin Richards, gave us another car for no cost as the first one didn’t have all the parts we needed. We even had a new cage and floor cut out for us in just three days.
“We were also fortunate that we could still take away a lot from the old, damaged car.
“Everyone was pitching in their help of the build. People were giving up their nights after work or offering us free shells of bits we may need.
“But a massive thanks goes to Leo and Elton. The two were legends and sacrificed so much of their spare time to help me. What we manage to do in just two weeks is incredible, and it all is all thanks to them.”
Beuvink confirmed he will now be on the grid at Hampton Downs for the third round of the championship, which will run as a support class to the New Zealand Grand Prix over January 22-24.
He even joked at the possibility of having seen his on-track rivals help him construct a winning racer.
“You never know, we could have all help make me a race-winning car,” he laughed. “I certainly don’t plan on being at the back of the grid, that’s for sure.”