Sunday, Dec 1 07:03pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Christmas Classic: Sunday support card wrap-up

It was a smorgasbord of action on Sunday at Pukekohe Park where 11 classes shared the billing in the Christmas Classic. 


Four-wide finish punctuates frenetic Formula First


The Hi-Q Components Formula First Championship brought out one of the best and one of the worst moments of the weekend.


Race 2 was a standard-issue drafting affair. Points leader Reece Hendl-Cox was the man the beat, besting Liam Foster by a mere 0.038s with Chris Symon in third just a few hundredths away. Amy Smith narrowly missed out on a podium finish.


There was drama in the second battle pack. Asten Addy, Louis Redshaw, Matthew McCutcheon and Ron Carter diced for fifth. Just three-tenths covered fifth to seventh at the checkered flag, but the chaos kicked off after the race had finished. 


A high-speed kerfuffle ended up with McCutcheon spearing into the inside wall on the front straight at high speed. The damage was significant, so much so that it shifted the steering column forward, twisted the rear chassis rail, broke the gearbox in half and the engine mounts among breakages. The data logger recorded a 5G impact, but that was at the moment when the logger stopped when he hit the wall at 140 km/h 


Despite the crash, McCutcheon managed to make it out for the final in a spare car. In a race dominated by the draft, none of the top four looked like a certain winner. Lap after lap Amy Smith, Liam Foster, Reece Hendl-Cox and Chris Symon battled vigorously for the win.


They all had a go at practicing their finish with a three-wide run across the line, but no one could predict the four-way photo finish.


In the end, Symon was the winner. A mere 0.006s covered first to second with Foster only narrowly missing out by a few centimetres. Hendl-Cox was third, 0.068s adrift while Smith was 0.085s away.


Honda Cup


Walker and Weel take the cake in Honda Cup


Bayley Walker was the class of the field in Race 2 of Motul Honda Cup. The young gun from Palmerston North came through from seventh on the grid in the reverse top-10. 


The race was led early on by Tristan Neate, but Brent Thompson managed to get by midway through the eight-lap affair. Walker was one of the quickest early on while Race 1 winner Paul Muldoon tried to find his way through the slightly slower battle pack.


Eventually, Walker got by Neate and with two laps to go put a pass on Thompson for the lead at Turn 5. Their battle brought Muldoon into the mix, however, he only managed to get by Neate in the end for third. Scott Silver, Chris Hughes, David Miller, Andrew Johnston, Jason Gibbs and Greg Spark completed the top 10 running order. 


A reverse grid delayed handicap brought some brilliant racing to close out the weekend. Jason Weel reaped the benefit of starting towards the front and soon found himself in the lead and well and truly out of reach. 


The battle between Martin Dunn and Brent Thompson was enthralling, but ultimately their fight meant they couldn’t catch Weel who was five seconds out in front.


The final was punctuated by a spin for Mark Elley driving his Honda Civic EG, which sported a Lighting McQueen livery. Scott Silver and Greg Spark were the most notable DNFs, both retiring on Lap 7. 


Bayley Walker had another stellar drive, coming from the rear of the field to fourth. Paul Muldoon, Jason Gibbs, Andrew Johnston, David Miller, Chris Hughes and Michael Hoeft rounded out the top 10.


Photo: Matt Smith




Mistake means McGovern misses out on Pirelli Porsche sweep


It was all about Brian McGovern and Sean Kirkpatrick in the penultimate 10-lap race of the season. McGovern was largely untouchable after he edged away from Kirkpatrick. 


Further behind, Struan Robertson and Robert Dong were enamoured in a battle for the final place on the podium, albeit, well behind the leaders. Dong in the newer Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (model 997.2) managed to make his way past for third and claim the final place on the podium. 


Steff Chambers, Chris Barendregt, Marin Vujcich, Jim McKernan and Tony Houston rounded out the nine-car field.


There was drama off the start though as both front row starters McGovern and Kirkpatrick jumped too early. They were subsequently given five-second post-race penalties.


On Lap 3 the Safety Car was brought out after Dong pulled over to the side of the road with overheating issues. 


That set up a sprint to the finish. With the five-second penalty looming over the head of the leading duo, they had to sprint away. However, it wasn’t enough. Robertson managed to keep pace with the leaders and with the results amended took a two-second win over McGovern and Kirkpatrick.


Again it was Chambers, Barendregt, Vujcich, McKernan and Houston who rounded out the field.


V8 Utes


Manuell and Collinson share the spoils in V8 Utes


Sunday’s action at Pukekohe Park started with drama in the V8 Utes. The grid was set with a reverse top 10, which put David Lowe on pole position with Stuart Monteith alongside him.


In a bizarre incident, Monteith jumped the start by a significant margin. He lurched forward and trundled a few yards before nearly coming to a stop.


As the lights went out the rest of the field surged towards the slowing car. With the field trying to avoid the ensuing carnage, Andrew Porter went sideways and into the path of Matthew Spratt. The reigning champion suffered broken steering and was sidelined for the rest of the race. 


With one lap down it was Rudd who led James Parker, Dave Low, Glen Collinson and Peter Ward. The Safety Car was brought out briefly.


Collinson was quick to demote Lowe and then Parker on the restart. Not long after that, Collinson got around the outside of Rudd at Turn 5. The pair stay side-by-side, all the way up to Turn 1 for the next lap. With the inside line into Turn 1, Collinson duly took the lead. 


Having been down in 10th at the start of the race, Paul Manuell made his way through to second by the end of the eight-lap affair, demoting Rudd with a late-race pass. 


Collinson eventually crossed the line to take victory ahead of Manuell and Spratt. Andrew Porter was a late charger in fourth. Parker finished not far from the podium in fifth for his best performance to date. Ward, Lowe, Simon Ussher, Stuart Monteith and Liam Porter completed the top 10.


With one win apiece between Manuell and Collinson, the pair were all square. Manuell got pole position on a tiebreaker courtesy being quickest in Qualifying.


In what was a relatively uneventful first lap, Manuell led Collinson, Rudd, Porter and Ward. Matt Spratt had to find his way through the pack from the back of the field. Soon enough he was into top-five contention. 


Manuell, Collinson and Porter checked out. That left Rudd to fend off an attack from Ward, Parker and Spratt. In the end, just 1.5 seconds split Manuell and Collinson at the line. Porter claimed the final podium ahead of Spratt and standout performer Parker. Ward, Rudd, Liam Porter, Monteith and Ussher were the final top 10 runners. 




Fogg flies in Central Muscle Cars


Angus Fogg was the man of the moment in the ENZED Central Muscle Cars with finishes of P1, P6, P2 and P1 again.


The penultimate race was a reverse grid handicap. Dr John Elliot led the field away with a healthy lead over Cam Crawford. By the time Angus Fogg crossed the line to complete his first lap he was 48 seconds adrift but had caught the rear of the field. 


John Midgely did well to keep Fogg at bay come Lap 2. The Race 1 winner found himself in strife though, stuck behind Gregg Honour on Lap 3. Meanwhile, at the front, the lead finally changed on Lap 5 when Steve Doughty passed Elliott out of Turn 5. 


Fogg finally cracked the top 10 on Lap 6, but found himself stifled by the traffic. As the last lap began it was Doughty who led Steve Ross and Cam Crawford.


Ross gifted Fogg second place, but ultimately, Doughty held on to win. Ross came third, Andrew Turner fourth and Clarke Hopkins fifth. 


There was drama even before the final got underway. Dean Perkins was a non-starter due to an engine failure. He cast doubt on his campaign, declaring he will not contest the rest of the season.


With Perkins and Wigston gone earlier in the weekend, the race pitted Fogg against Dean Hansen. Initially, it was an even get away from the pair, but it was Hansen with the second gear change that edged ahead. 


A big moment out of the hairpin by Hansen allowed Fogg to fly by on Lap 1. He stretched his legs and left the Holden pilot to fight John Midgley.


Fogg was untouchable. With clear air, he edged away to a 14-second lead while Midgley managed to overcome Hansen in a dog fight to the finish. Honnor, Ross, Anderson, Hopkins, Doughty, Shane Holland and Tony Boyden completed the top 10.


Photo: Matt Smith




Snow and Gray share the spoils in GTRNZ GT1/GT2


Mazda RX-7 pilot Brian Gray made the most of a Safety Car intervention in Race 2 of TradeZone GT1/GT2. Fellow RX-7 pilot Scott Carswell finished second and was the first of the GT2 cars home while Kerry Jones in his Chevrolet Corvette Trans-Am grabbed the final podium position just 0.001s behind Carswell.


A mid-race safety car was deployed for Shane Whitley who lost his rear wing heading into Turn 1. He spun back into the wall at high speed, which caused terminal damage to his Ford Falcon AU and concrete wall in need of adjustment. 


As a result, the Full Course Yellow bunched the field up but disrupted the handicapping and created a race full of passing for the remaining few laps.


Nigel Karl took fourth place in his Ford Falcon BA ahead of Struan Roberston (Porsche 998), Morris Turner (Holden Commodore VZ), Hans Ruiterman (Nissan Silvia S15), Marvyn Towers (MG BGT V8), Sean Kirkpatrick (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) and the pole sitter Maurice Shapley (Holden Monaro) who ended the race in 10th overall. 


For a time it looked like Adam Newell (Crawford DP03), Cameron Jones (Corvette Trans-Am) and John De Veth (Crawford DP03) might have been the winners, but they were, in fact, a lap down. 


An incident-free Race 3 was won by Nigel Snow in his Synergy V8-powered Toyota 86 (picutred above). Marvyn Towers put in a valiant effort to try and steal the win but ultimately was unable to do so and had to settle for second place. 


De Veth charged from his massive handicap to finish third, within just a few car lengths of the leaders. 


Carswell took fourth place ahead of race two winner Gray. Jones and Turner were next to cross the line in sixth and seventh with Ruiterman and Karl in eighth and ninth. Sean Kirkpatrick rounded out the top 10. Newell finished a lowly 11th after he suffered a mechanical issue on the final lap. 


Words: Jordie Peters / Photo: Tayler Burke




Ford duo get the goods in GTRNZ GT3/GT4


Nigel Karl took his ‘new’ Ford Falcon BA to its maiden TradeZone GT3/GT4 victory in a dominant display. Karl took the victory by over 20-seconds in the handicapper with Toby Annabell (Panoz GT) coming home in second place after a tight race with Wayne Bryant (Star Car). Bryant was also the first car home in the GT4 class too ahead of Louis Kuriger (Star Car) who was fourth overall.


Garry Carswell took the final top-five spot with Richard Wagstaff (Toyota MRS) coming home sixth ahead of Shane Whitley (Ford Falcon), Luke Hilhorst (Nissan Skyline) and Andrew Stewart (Datsun 1200 Coupe) in tenth. 


Brian Hamilton (pictured above) won the final race of the weekend in the reverse grid handicap despite a last-lap surge from Karl, which culminated in a close finish. 


Less than half a second separated the leaders at the line. Hamilton not only won the overall race but was the winner of the GT4 class with Karl taking GT3 honours.


Bryant was third overall, second in GT4, with Layne Collier fourth and Wagstaff fifth after the latter had a close battle to the line. Kuriger finished sixth with Logan Childs (Mitsubishi Lance Evolution) seventh and Nick Jones (Nissan 180SX) eighth. Whitley and Carswell rounded out the top 10.


Words: Jordie Peters / Photo: Tayler Burke




Wilkinson completes sweep of Mazda Racing Series


Keith Wilkinson was the class act in the Mazda Racing Series, winning all three races across the weekend. 


He had to fight through in the penultimate race though in what a reverse top 10 grid race. Adrian Redding from second place got the holeshot into Turn 1. 


Wilkinson was quick to make some headway to be fourth by the end of Lap 1. Come Lap 2, Wilkinson swept through to second with two passes at Turn 5 and Turn 6. Redding managed to hold onto the lead, albeit briefly. As Lap 3 got underway Wilkinson surged into the lead at Turn 1. 


Race 2 was punctuated by an incident involving Liam Talbot who got loose out of the hairpin and hit the right-hand side of Thomas Hannaford. 


Ultimately, Wilkinson claimed a three-second win. Roger Beuvink came home second with MotorSport New Zealand CEO Simon Baker third. Elton Wichman, Nigel Edger, David Atkins, Kevin Richards, Adrian Redding, Matt Horne and Scott Davies completed the top 10.


The final race of the weekend was once again won by Wilkinson, albeit, not by much margin. The race was punctuated by an incident for Liam Talbot at Turn 3. The Darkhorse Racing driver lost control of his car over the inside kerb and speared into the tyre barrier.




Jaylyn Robotham makes his mark with Toyota 86 double


Aussie ace Jaylyn Robotham leads the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship after he did the double for Neale Motorsport. 


After claiming third place in Race 1 of the weekend, Robotham managed to make the most of a battle between Jaden Ransley and Peter Vodanovich in Race 2 and snag the lead.


With the two Kiwi pilots left to battle among themselves, the series debutante managed to walk away with the win. The battle for the minor places saw a late pass by Brock Gilchrist of International Motorsport on CareVets Scholarship winner Ryan Wood for fourth. 


M2 Competition recruit Campbell Stewart took advantage of a slowed Wood and nabbed fifth. Wood went on to finish n sixth while Connor Adam was seventh. Richard Peasey was eighth while Justin Allen and Leo Bult completed the top 10.


The final pitted teammates Robotham and Ransley against each other. Robotham led from the outset and managed to keep Ransley and Vodanovich at bay.


There was drama on the first lap for Connor Adam who went off the road at Turn 6. Only moments later and Brayden Phillips made contact with Leo Bult at the hairpin. Bult spun around and the trailing pack of cars scattered left and right to avoid the carnage. Fortunately, everyone escaped unscathed.


At times Robotham looked loose, especially out of the hairpin. Several instances allowed the trailing duo to catch up, but no moves were made.


The battle for first was brought to a premature end just as it approached the final stanza.  

The battle for the minor places saw James Wilkins, Leo Bult and Flynn Mullany come to blows. The trio went three-wide and stuck on the outside, contact between Bult and Mullany saw the latter in a spin and hit the wall hard. 


The race finished under Full Course Yellow. Robotham crossed the line to take the win ahead of Ransley and Vodanovich. Gilchrist was impressive in fourth ahead of Peasey Australia. Justin Allen, Campbell Stewart, Andrew Jackson, Ryan Wood and Connor Adam completed the top 10 running order. 


Photo: Bruce Jenkins




Prujean wins but Watson the standout in SsangYong


Todd Prujean, Christina Orr-West and James Watson were the class of the field in an action-packed SsangYong Rhino Racing Series finale at Pukekohe Park.


The field managed to make their way through the first lap without drama. The biggest mover on Lap 1 was 2KCUP regular Watson who went from 14th on the grid to third with a sweeping pass around the outside at Turn 1.


New Zealand’s fastest mum Orr-West was another strong starter to move up to fifth behind Tom van der Loos by the end of the first lap.


Having dispatched second-place start Farhad Moinfar on the second lap, Watson nearly threw his podium position away out of Turn 6. The Auckland ace got loose on corner exit and wagged the tail of his ute, fortunately, he managed to recover.


The first lead change came on Lap 3 when Watson went through on Vear at the entry of Turn 5. It wasn’t long before Orr-West and Prujean got in among the front runners and was mixing in for the lead. By Lap 4, Orr-West was challenging for a podium.


Farhad Moinfar found himself in trouble on Lap 6 after he spun at Turn 1 and collided with Alex Sherie. The local driver tried to avoid the spinning car, but Moinfar ended up slamming into Sherie’s side. The race stayed green as both cars made it back to the pit lane.


The lead changed hands again on Lap 7 when Prujean passed Watson through Turn 1. He too nearly gave away his position with a big tank-slapper through Turn 5 and Turn 6. Like Watson earlier, he held onto the position.


Soon enough, Orr-West was past Watson into Turn 5 on Lap 10 and set about catching Prujean. The top three were in a class of their own. Fourth-placed Mark Mallard was some 8.6 seconds adrift with Adam Carpenter not far behind him.


Drama struck on Lap 14 when former race leader Bea Vear and Dean Foster collided at the Turn 2/Turn 3 chicanes. Vear got loose into Turn 2 and at Turn 3 came across the nose of Foster. The duo duly ended up spearing off into the tyre barrier, which brought out the Safety Car.


The race restarted with a handful of laps to go. Prujean still led Orr-West and Watson. Mallard was still in fourth with Carpenter in fifth.


In what was a one-lap sprint to the checkered flag, Prujean held on. Orr-West and Watson completed the podium while Mallard, Carpenter, Murray Brook, Kirk Stoneman, Matt Henney, Tim Dossett and Nic Lowndes completed the top 10. 


CLICK HERE for the Christmas Classic results