F5000s at Muscle Car Masters

1-2 September 2012 – Event Report

ROSS & SALA SHARE MSC SERIES RACE WINS IN SYDNEY

Top Kiwi Steve Ross (McRae GM1) and top Aussie Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) ended up sharing the spoils at the opening round of the 2012/13 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in Sydney over the weekend.

The round was held at the annual Muscle Car Masters meeting at the recently extended and re-named Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) with former Australian Touring Car and NASCAR driver Sala beating three-time former series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430) and defending champion Steve Ross to pole in qualifying then chasing a fast-starting Ross down on the last lap to win the first race of the weekend on Saturday.

Ross came back strongly on Sunday, however, winning the second race – another 6-lapper – in the morning from compatriots Roger Williams (Lola T332) and Aaron Burson (McRae GM1, and the 10-lap MSC feature in the afternoon from Smith, Sala and 2011/12 season series runner-up Aaron Burson (McRae GM1).

Though at just six laps the same length as the first race on Saturday, the second on Sunday took a heavy toll on equipment with nine dnfs, amongst them race one winner Sala, who pulled in when a rocker cover gasket burst and dipped oil onto his car;s left hand exhaust bank, Smith, who was a late retirement with a sticking throttle, and Jay Bondini, Russell Greer and Chris Lambden with broken input or half shafts.

Sala ran second for two laps before pitting to find the source of the smoke, elevating Roger Williams to second, Aaron Burson to third and the best of the Australians, Darcy Russell (Lola T330), to fourth.

Behind Russell, David Abbott (Lola T430) moved into fifth and Bill Hemmings (Elfin MR8) and David Banks (Talon MR1A) engaged in a spirited battle for sixth, eventually resolved in the local man (Hemmings’) favour.

Between Sunday’s two races one of the F5000 category’s original heroes, Australian Warwick Brown, was re-united with one of the last cars he drove in the era, the Lola T333CS now owned and driven by Christchurch MSC series stalwart Stan Redmond.

Brown and Ken Smith were invited to join the ‘Legends’ demo, Brown in the Redmond car, Smith in the sister car to the one he usually drives, the other ex Warwick Brown car at the meeting, the Lola T430 now owned and driven by David Abbott.

Between races most of the issues which affected the cars in the second race were fixed and a full field again faced the starter for the 10-lap feature final in the afternoon.

A highlight of this race was the come-from-behind charges put in by drivers like Sala and Smith who because they failed to finish the second race started the third well down the grid .

Ross got his customary flier off the rolling start with Roger Williams tucking into second place for the first two laps before being forced to pull off the track with a diff problem.
Where his car ended up was deemed dangerous so the Safety Car was dispatched while it was retrieved, bunching the field up and setting the scene for a tightly contested run to the flag.

With Williams out Bryan Sala, who has already worked his way back up the running order to fifth at the end of the first lap and third in the second, found himself in second place with Ken Smith following him through into third – where he stayed until a last lap move on Sala gave him second!

Behind Sala, meanwhile, Aaron Burson ran a lonely race for fourth from Darcy Russell, Chris Lambden, Russell Greer (Lola T332), David Abbott, David Banks – who this time got the better of Race 2 rival Bill Hemmings despite being back in 14th place at the end of the first lap – with Shayne Windelburn and Stan Redmond 11th and 12th respectively.

With a long-standing invitation to compete at the big Muscle Car Masters meeting prompting an earlier-than-usual start to the annual MSC F5000 series this year there is now a break until the second round back in New Zealand at the end of October (at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in Christchurch) before a return to Sydney Motorsport Park for some of the series regulars for a non-championship round at Australia’s own Tasman Revival Series meeting at the end of November.

The points rounds then resume back in New Zealand at the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing – celebrating Denny Hulme meeting at Hampton Downs in January before returning to the South Island for the penultimate series round at the annual Skope Classic meeting in Christchurch and final at the Classic Speedfest meeting at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park in February.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.
01-09-12

SALA PIPS ROSS TO WIN MSC F5000 SERIES OPENER IN SYDNEY

Pole man Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) stormed back to pip Steve Ross (McRae GM1) on the last lap and win the first MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series race of the season at the Muscle Car Masters meeting in Sydney this afternoon.

Defending MSC series title-holder Ross from Dunedin beat Melbourne man Sala and second quickest qualifier Ken Smith (Lola T430) from Auckland into Turn 1 at the beginning of the six-lap race at the recently revamped, extended and re-named Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) venue. As Sala and Smith squabbled over second place Ross even managed to edge away from the pair.

Once Sala managed to shake off Smith – who, as it turned out, was struggling with gear selection issues – however, he was able to reel Ross in and pull off a daring dive for the lead at the circuit’s downhill hairpin on the last lap.

“Kenny actually put the same move on me on the second lap, but that time we ran round side by side and I stayed in front,” Sala said afterwards. “Once I caught up on Steve I could see he was struggling there a bit the lap before but I was too far back. The next lap was the last lap so when we came round again I knew it was now or never. The right front tyre locked up half way through the move but Steve gave me just enough room and we got through without touching which was obviously good.”

Ross took the move with good grace, admitting that he had ‘messed up’ in the tight new section of track immediately before the hairpin, but still getting a surprise when he went to turn in.

“The first thing I knew about it was when he (Sala) was alongside me with smoke pouring off his tyres,” he laughed. “He was pretty committed – we both were – but that’s OK, I gave him some room. We both went out a long way but we both got round alright. The only problem was, by that stage, he was in front!”

Sala was not exactly hanging around on that last, eventful lap, setting a new category lap record for the new ‘long’ circuit of 1 min 50.2739, just over half a second quicker than the time that earned him pole position in qualifying, 1 min 50.8249.

The hairpin move on Ross was not the only one to change the final running order either, Auckland driver Roger Williams (Lola T332) also getting past Smith – whose car was by now jumping out of fifth gear – within sight of the chequered flag for third place.

Behind Sala, Ross, Williams and Smith, Melbourne-domiciled expat Chris Lambden started and finished fifth while Blenheim driver Russell Greer (Lola T332) got a great start to lead last season’s MSC series runner-up Aaron Burson for sixth only to run out of petrol after three laps, allowing Burson, Australian Darcy Russell (Lola T300) and Aucklander Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) all to move up a place in the running order.

Christchurch series stalwart Stan Redmond qualified his newly restored and race-prepared ex-Warwick Brown Lola T333CS 12th on its long-awaited circuit return but ended his race in the pits, while fellow driver David Abbott crossed the finish line 11th after being forced to start off the back of the grid after failing to set a qualifying time thanks to a broken half shaft in practice then a magneto issue as his car was readied for qualifying.

Aucklander David Banks, in his second season in the MSC series, was the final member of the Kiwi contingent to finish the race, in 10th position just behind Australian Bill Hemmings (Elfin MR8) and in front of Abbott.

Clark Proctor (March 73A) made the trip from Auckland with the New Zealand contingent but only got as far as practice on Friday before engine issues sidelined him for the weekend.
Adelaide driver John Bryant (Lola T140) was also a non-starter thanks to crown wheel and pinion issues though local MSC series newcomer Rod Carroll had a good debut in his similar car, qualifying and finishing the first race in 13th position.

Compatriots Aaron Lewis (Matich A50) and Andrew Kluver (Lola T300) qualified for the race but problems with their cars meant they didn’t get to start it.

Today’s 6-lap race was one of three for the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series field at the Muscle Car Masters meeting with another 6-lapper tomorrow (Sunday) morning and a 12-lap feature final in the afternoon.

A special highlight on Sunday will be champion Australian category original Warwick Brown re-united with one of the cars he originally drove, the Lola T333CS now owned and driven by Stan Redmond.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.
28-08-12

‘LEVEL PLAYING FIELD’ FOR OPENING MSC F5000 SERIES ROUND IN SYDNEY

Major changes to the re-named Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) circuit in Sydney’s outer west mean there will be a level playing field for New Zealand and Australian competitors alike at the opening round of the 2012/13 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series there this weekend.

Earlier this year the re-vamped venue was re-opened with a new six-corner section of track at the south-east end of the complex taking the full length from 3.9 kms to 4.5. Though the V8 Supercar series used the shorter 3.9km ‘Grand Prix’ circuit there last weekend the MSC F5000s and other categories at the big Muscle Car Masters meeting this weekend will use the full 4.5km one.

Defending MSC NZ F5000 series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) from Dunedin has competed at Eastern Creek before. But a broken input shaft and rear hub meant he got little quality race time in on the track so reckons he will be in the same boat as everyone else, the nine Australian competitors included.

“What I can remember about it is that it’s bloody fast and you get round Turn 1 in a hell of a hurry so hopefully we will have plenty of time to get our heads around the place on Friday,” he said this morning.

Ross heads an 11-strong contingent of Kiwis crossing the Tasman for the opening round of the 2012/13 MSC series with support from a key group of New Zealand racers including three-time former series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430), 2011/12 season series runner-up Aaron Burson (McRae GM1), fellow Aucklanders Roger Williams (Lola T332), Clark Proctor (March 73A), Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) and David Banks (Talon MR1A), Blenheim driver Russell Greer (Lola T332) and David Abbott (Lola T430) and Stan Redmond (Lola T333 CS) from Christchurch.

There will be particular interest at the meeting in the Lola T333 CS Redmond has just had restored and race prepared, it having been driven first time around (both in wide-bodied Can-Am and single-seater F5000 spec) by Australian ace Warwick Brown.

Expected to take the battle to the Kiwis at the meeting are top Australian F5000 category exponents Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) and Aaron Lewis (Matich A50). Young gun Tom Tweedie, a former Formula Ford and Formula 3 series front-runner this year contesting the Carrera Cup Australia series in a Porsche GT3 Cup car is also an interesting addition to the field in a Chevron B24/28.

Meanwhile, not quite knowing where his allegiance lies is expat Kiwi Chris Lambden who has lived for many years in Melbourne but drives a McRae GM1 rebuilt and run by F5000 category specialists Motorsport Solutions in his old home town of Christchurch!

The appearance at the popular Muscle Car Masters meeting has meant an earlier than usual start for the 2012/13 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series. The first New Zealand round is the now traditional one at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting at Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park in late October, then it will be back to Sydney Motorsport Park for some of the competitors for a non-points round at Australia’s big Tasman Revival meeting in late November.

The points rounds then resume at the Hampton Downs circuit back in New Zealand for the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing – celebrating Denny Hulme meetings over consecutive weekends in late January before the series heads south for the annual Skope Classic meeting in Christchurch and Classic Speedfest meeting at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park in February.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.
2012/13 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Season Preview # 1
03-07-12

EARLY START FOR 10TH ANNUAL MSC F5000 SERIES SEASON

A starring roll at the annual Muscle Car Masters meeting in Sydney on the first weekend of September means an earlier-than-usual start for the 10th annual MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.

Though the final venues and dates of all seven rounds of this season’s anniversary series have yet to be signed off the organising committee has confirmed those of the first three rounds this year as well as the fourth, fifth and sixth early in the New Year.

The appearance at the popular Muscle Car Masters meeting will be one of two for the MSC series across the Tasman this season, with a return to the recently refurbished and re-named Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) circuit in late November for the 2012 Australian Tasman Revival historic motor racing meeting.

In-between is the first New Zealand round at the annual Wigram Revival meeting at Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park on October 27 & 28 and after the Tasman Revival meeting in Sydney over the November 24/25 weekend come the back-to-back fourth and fifth MSC series rounds at the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing – celebrating Denny Hulme meetings at Hampton Downs over consecutive weekends in late January 2013.
Defending MSC series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) heads a 14-strong Kiwi assault on the Muscle Car Masters meetings with support from a key group of local racers including three-time former series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430), 2011/12 season series runner-up Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) and fellow Aucklanders Roger Williams (Lola T332) and Clark Proctor (March 73A).

Expected to take the battle to the Kiwis, meanwhile, are top Australian category exponents Andrew Robson and James Davison (both Lola T332), and Bryan Sala (Matich A50).
As in previous years, at the high summer rounds of the MSC series in New Zealand the local fields will be supplemented by entries from category aficionados from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.

The New Zealand F5000 Association now has 88 owner/drivers with race-ready cars on its books, the majority – 49 – Kiwis, but with its own domestic series finally up and running Australia can now boast 18 to supplement the 10 from the UK, one (current Lady Wigram trophy holder Jay Esterer) from Canada and balance from the United States of America.
This season at least 19 of the Kiwi regulars are committed to contest all rounds of the series with another four doing at least two or three of the other rounds here.

Nine Australian drivers have also indicated that they will be doing rounds of the series on both sides of the Tasman this season.

UK regulars Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) Greg Thornton (Chevron B24), Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8), Frank, Judy and Michael Lyons (Gurney Eagle, Lola T332 & Lola T400) and Peter Dunn (March 73A) have also confirmed their intention to return, as have Americans Bruce Lesson (McLaren M10B), Harin de Silva (Surtees TS8) and Eric Haga (Lola T190), and Canadian Jay Esterer (McRae GM1).
Expected to debut new cars this season, meanwhile, are series regular Poul* Christie and fellow Aucklander Frank Karl. Both are currently putting the finishing touches to freshly restored McLaren M10 models.
The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.

Report by: FAST COMPANY

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