1 September – Sefton Autocross

Sunday the 1st of September was another great day to be out skidding around in cars. Bright sunshine and warm temperatures helped to dry the ground slightly after the dampness earlier in the week leaving the Sefton paddock in great condition for the event. Entries were good, with 28 cars taking to the short flowing course with a couple of tight tricky corners. Four of those entries were from lady drivers so it was shaping up as a good contest in all classes (apart from 4WD where David Fletcher and Michelle Reid’s WRX road car with some old rally tyres on it was the only entrant).

Grant Goile drove with more than all cylinders firing and took out the first run from charging “Bulletin” editor Hayden Riddle in his Mazda 323 4WD. Jonathan Bradshaw pulled out a blinder also in his Starlet taking third place after the first run, even though the car sounded slightly off song.

In the ladies contest Michelle Reid, in her first event, edged the WRX ahead after the first run, followed by a mere half a second by Simone Trezise driving the chequered gold Escort who was in turn leading by just 5 hundredths of a second from Tracy Birdling in the big-winged Starlet 4AGE. Judith Harrington put in a good effort learning paddock skidding and followed in fourth a couple of seconds behind Tracy.

The small car class was of course headed by Grant Goile and Jonathan Bradshaw with Don Mathias and Bruce France both in Starlets drawn for third after run 1. The mid-size battle was led by Gerald Birdling in his very tidy Starlet 4AGE with aforementioned big wing, closely followed by  Sean Sand’s Escort in turn followed by Scott Reid in his Escort Mk2.  In the big 2WD class Brent McAllister’s Escort led Brian Chang’s Holden Ute off-roader (Brian was using the event to get used to the new gear shift system in the ute, which had a tad much ground clearance for this event!), followed in third by Brent Sibley in the newly repaired Escort after the accident at Mt. Thomas.

Run 2 saw lots of drama unfolding as people pulled out the stoppers to try and gain some time. With the three runs of the day being added together for total time of the day as the result, some threw it all away and some gained handsomely. David Fletcher moved the WRX up into the podium positions with the fastest run followed by Grant Goile and Don Mathias. Hayden Riddle dropped off the pace slightly. Also on the up was new club member John Beasley in his road going Subaru WRX-RA, drawing with Jonathan Bradshaw for fourth place in run 2. Thirteen year-old Nick Marston showed a great improvement of more than 5 seconds between runs 1 and 2, sharing brother Josh’s FWD Nissan Pulsar.  Steven Loomes in the Honda Integra and Andy Reid in the Corolla were others to improve between tests, with Paul Bradshaw taking a “steady as she goes” approach to the event improving slightly as well. Mike White driving the Fiat 131R in the road car class was a model of consistency, posting times between runs within 6 hundredths of a second of each other.

Sean Sands had a shocker in run 2, as did Josh Marston in after posting a good road car time in run 1. Michael Rope was another to suffer, driving his KE25 Corolla with the TTE livery and posting a better time in his first run than his second. The Birdlings really tried a demo job on the course with Tracy attempting to finish what Gerald started and both consequently slipped down the order. Shane Thornley in the ex-Garry Mechan RX7 was having trouble getting the power to the ground while still learning the car, but improved 4 seconds between runs 1 and 2.  Gavin Henson in the Starlet didn’t have Jo Giles to push him along on this day and saw himself posting almost equal times between runs but overall not too far off the pace in the small car class.

The third and final run would be two laps of the previous circuit and it was Hayden Riddle who had the hammer down to take the fastest run time by more than a second from David Fletcher. Only 5 hundredths of a second seperated the WRX from Grant Goile’s flying Corolla, who in setting that fantastic time took out the event win by a second from Riddle by a second with Fletcher in 3rd, a quarter second behind. Sean Sands had a blinder in the final test and hauled his way back up the ranks as did Gerald Birdling.

Grant Goile obviously took out the 0-1300cc class with Don Mathias in second after putting in a solid performance in run 3. Jonathan Bradshaw had a bit of a disastrous last run but held on to round out the top three in the class. Bruce France and Gavin Henson also had a bad time of it in the two-lapper, finishing behind a solid performance from Paul Bradshaw. The 1301-1600cc class was led home by Scott Reid in the Escort who is driving well on little experience, followed by Sean Sands in second place with novice autocross driver (he is an experienced off-road driver) Daniel Powell in the newly aquired ex-North Island AE85/86 Corolla in third. The 1600cc+ 2WD class was won by Brent McAllister in a consistently paced chequered and gold Ford Escort Mk1, with Bryan Chang’s off roader Holden ute in second and Brent Sibley’s Escort Mk2 in third.

The road car class had a good turnout and was an interesting contest, with Hayden Riddle cleaning up the class finishing second overall in the event. Novice competitor John Beasley was six seconds behind in second followed by the orange Fiat 131R of Mike White. Josh Marston came back up the ranks with a better run this time. In the ladies class Tracy Birdling flew through the final test in a good display of car control but it was not quite enough to overhaul the comfortable lead of Michelle Reid or the second place of Escort driving club secretary and event co-organiser Simone Tresize.

It was a great day out skidding on the grass. These are good events to learn at and to build up some points in the club championship. Everyone was going out the gate with smiles on their faces and nobody did too much damage to their cars. Congratulations to Grant Goile on an inspiring drive!

Results are as follows:

Grant Goile (Toyota Corolla 1300) 3m08.75s – 1,
Hayden Riddle (Mazda 323 4WD) 3m09.58s – 2,
David Fletcher (Subaru WRX) 3m09.74s – 3,

2WD 1601cc+:
Brent McAllister (Ford Escort Mk1) 3m17.16s – 1,
Brian Chang (Holden Ute) 3m19.62s – 2,
Brent Sibley (Ford Escort) 3m24.29s – 3,

2WD 1301-1600cc:
Scott Reid (Ford Escort) 3m18.42s – 1,
Sean Sands (Ford Escort) 3m20.33s – 2,
Daniel Powell (Toyota AE86) 3m27.80s – 3,

2WD 0-1300cc:
Grant Goile (Toyota Corolla 1300) 3m08.75s – 1,
Don Mathias (Toyota Starlet) 3m14.40 – 2,
Jonathan Bradshaw 3m19.85s – 3.

Michelle Reid (Subaru WRX) 3m35.66s – 1,
Simone Trezise (Ford Escort) 3m38.47s – 2,
Tracy Birdling (Toyota Starlet 4AGE) 3m41.71s – 3,

Road Car:
Hayden Riddle (Mazda 323 4WD) 3m09.58s – 1,
John Beasley (Subaru WRX-RA) 3m16.10s – 2,
Mike White (Fiat 131R) 3m23.90s – 3.