3 October – Okuku Autocross

It was a great day to go play on Wayne Summerfield’s new front lawn at Okuku. The sun was shining and the conditions would be very interesting as there was a lush covering of grass on moist firm soil. The course was excellent, a mix of open sweeping corners that tightened, twisty bits, and a couple of tight hairpins. It was good to see some new faces at the event, and things got off on time.

The open bits of the course in the slippy first run suited the 4WD turbos and Chris Hughes in the Evo led by less than a second from Kieron Telford’s Pulsar. Derek Hartley’s Barina GTi was obviously a great wee car to do Autocrosses in, and he set a really good time to be running in third, although Grant Goile was only a tenth of a second behind. Jonathan Hughes running in Chris’s Evo and Dave Fletcher in the KE20 were best of the rest a couple of seconds back. As the grip improved things were going to get interesting. Andy Reid had a big spin at the end of the long sweeper that tightened, and everyone steered clear of the markers. Paul Jansen did well to steer clear of the marker he was sliding towards as he missed the second last hairpin; he recovered well although was now out of the running.

In the second run the course remained the same and the line had got a bit of grip, but off track it was still slippery in the grass. Grant Goile had an absolute blinder and was 2 seconds faster than anyone else, taking the lead from Chris Hughes by a second. Kieron Telford dropped to third even though he scored second fastest time in run 2. Hartley’s Barina GTi was 2-tenths behind and in fourth on accumulated time.

The course was changed slightly for the last run and an indian file was run. This laid a bit of a track but competitors would have to be wary of not following the well worn tracks from the previous course as the corners were mostly side by side with the older ones. Dave Fletcher overcooked it a bit being first on the course for the last run and not used to the slippery grass, and had a half spin right in the shoot-through to the second lap (he says he was distracted by spotter Richard Towse laughing as he went by, Towse maintains he only started laughing after the spin so that couldn’t possibly have affected Fletcher’s performance). Derek Hartley would have been in the running for an overall place if it weren’t for missing the first corner of the last run and getting a slowest time penalty.

Grant Goile had hit his straps and scorched through the last taking the run by two seconds and the event by three from Hughes who wasn’t holding back either. Telford consolidated third place. Geoff Douch had the wee Starlet Turbo up into 4th overall and took the big-engined 2WD (well, it’s not that big but it’s got a hair dryer stuck to it) and due to a fantastic third run Shane Thornley showed he must have been doing a bit of skidding after hours in his home paddock to move into 5th. Matt Jansen again won the family battle but there was only two seconds in it after Paul’s surging recovery of run 2. In the other family contest Andrew Bufton was glad of Stewart’s slower time in run 1 and managed to hang onto the lead throughout the event with some smooth driving, winning the Class 2 award by only 5 hundredths of a second from Shane McKenzie. Robert McCallum did well to keep the rear-wheels under control in the Eccy and took second in the big 2WD class from Brent Sibley, after Sibley made best time in run 1 in the class Groove thought he’d better pull finger.

Rhys Ellison took the Focus WRC/Peugeot 206 WRC/Vauxhall Chevette into top spot in the road cars and 13th overall, followed only 1 second later by Ryan Pool’s Legacy RS/Legacy RS/Legacy RS. Guy Anderson’s Corolla FX-GT aided by the extra aerodynamic downforce of huge ski-racks was third road car. Craig McCulloch recalled the last event he did in the Corolla (the mud-plug) but unfortunately couldn’t call up the class winning form this time. Rene Spijkerman had the Escort Mk1 out for a blat looking a little less creased now than it did at the Ashley Rally. Greg MacIntosh has bought Nigel Tyson’s Starlet rally car to replace the crashed Datsun Bluebird and he, and (12 year old)  James and Michael had their first paddock skids in the car at this event. It was the first event for James and Michael and they did really well to steer clear of all the markers through all three runs.

The results were:

1st Grant Goile (Starlet) 4m06.35s
2nd Chris Hughes (Evo) 4m09.60s
3rd Kieron Telford (Pulsar) 4m17.29s

1st Chris Hughes (Evo) 4m09.60s
2nd Kieron Telford (Pulsar) 4m17.29s
3rd Jonathan Hughes (Evo) 4m22.52s

2WD 1601+cc
1st Geoff Douch (Starlet) 4m19.55s
2nd Robert McCallum (Escort) 4m26.52s
3rd Brent Sibley (Escort) 4m30.64s

2WD 1301-1600cc
1st Andrew Bufton (Starlet) 4m25.26s
2nd Shane McKenzie (Starlet) 4m25.31s
3rd Stewart Bufton (Starlet) 4m26.80s

2WD 0-1300cc
1st Grant Goile (Starlet) 4m06.35s
2nd Shane Thornley (Starlet) 4m19.59s
3rd Matt Jansen (Datsun 1200) 4m20.97s

Thanks to Richard Towse, Dave Fletcher and Josh Marston for organising and running the event; Michelle Reid and Huri Timothy for documentation; Groove McCallum and Andy Reid for scrutineering; Lynne McKenzie for operating the hockey stick; Stewart and Andrew Bufton for course help, Haydo Riddle for spotting, and all those who helped pack up the event who had it all done before the results were tallied, well done! By 3:00pm everyone was off home and Wayne Summerfield had some interesting tracks on his lawn. Hopefully he lets us back in next time. Thanks very much Wayne!