Michael Lyons (Lola T400) roared to an SAS Autoparts MSC NZ Formula 5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series clean sweep on the second day of the annual Taupō Historic Grand Prix.
After claiming pole position in qualifying on Saturday morning – then smashing category stalwart Ken Smith’s Formula 5000 class lap record on the way to a dominant win on Saturday afternoon – Lyons went on to win the other two races.
Fellow young gun and Round 1 20 series winner Michael Collins (McRae GM1) from Christchurch was once again the runner-up
Father Frank and mother Judy were also competing in the series races in what is the start of a three-round ‘busman’s holiday’ for the keen historic Formula 1 and Formula 5000 racing family from Essex.
Collins edged ahead of Lyons at the start of the second race of the weekend, but that was as close as anyone got to unseat Lyons. The pair annexed the top two steps of the podium in all three races.
Third, in the first race of the weekend went to David Banks (Talon MR1) from former series title holder Brett Willis (Lola T332) and local F5000 category stalwart Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400).
Series newcomer and former New Zealand Formula Ford champion, Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) enjoyed one of his most competitive weekends since his return to the country’s motor racing tracks.
He worked his way through the field to claim a fighting third place in the second race, then fourth – behind a determined Grant Martin – in the feature race today.
Ingram ran comfortably in third early before Martin pressed his advantage to get past and go on to claim the final step on the podium behind Lyons and Collins.
Shayne Windleburn was again strong in the 10-laps feature final, ending up fifth after catching and eventually finding a way past David Banks on the fifth lap. He then inherited fifth place when Brett Willis (Lola T332) slowed and retired to the pits with a recurrence of a gear selection issue, which also forced him out of the second race,
David Banks soldiered on to finish sixth, again struggling for rear-end grip, while seventh was expat Kiwi Warren Briggs driving Stu Lush’s Lola T332.
United Kingdom-based businessman Briggs, qualified eighth quickest before a universal joint broke late in the session, meaning he missed Saturday’s race altogether.
He also only made it three laps into the second race on Sunday morning when he tangled with another car through Turn 2 and punctured a rear tyre.
Keen to actually finish at least one of the races on his New Zealand debut this weekend, he circulated cleanly in a mid-field battle pack with David Banks and Aaron Burson.
He looked set to cross the finish line in eighth place until Burson locked a wheel under brakes off the back straight as he tried to pass David Banks which gifted seventh place to Warren Briggs.
Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) enjoyed a Michael Lyons-like record in the Class A race-within-a-race for older, pre-1972 cars.
Roberts finished a weekend-best seventh in the second race of the weekend, beating fellow Class A competitor Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) three times and fellow McLaren driver Tim Rush (McLaren M22) twice.
Come the longer 10-lap feature final, Rush put in one of his best drives to date to not only catch and eventually find a way past Roberts but also to gradually pull away and cross the line in 11th place.
The series continues at Mike Pero Motorsport Park over 1-2 February at the Skope Classic.