5 December – Ashley Autocross

It bucketed down the night before the event and a repeat of the Loburn mud-plug was expected. As it turned out, the paddock had handled the rain quite well and was firm underneath but the top layer of dirt got pretty muddy and very slippery as the event went on.

Run 1 got underway pretty much on time with the rain starting to ease. Jamie Powell in one of the 12 Toyota Starlets competing in the event was the only driver to clout a marker in the first shot at the course, Matt Jansen in father Paul’s Pulsar GTiR pipped Dave Fletcher in the Suzuki GTi by 11 hundredths of a second to take the unoffical top spot after the first run (Matt had elected to take points in his Datsun rather than the 4WD). Grant Goile suffered in the wetter conditions at the start of the run, and as the cars went by the ground dried out a bit. Shane McKenzie had his Starlet up into 6th overall after the first test but unfortunately due to the rain he would see that eroded as quickly as the course was. The second run was best for those who went first. It started raining again and the whole lot went to custard (well, mud to be precise) and penalties started to roll in. Grant Goile in the Starlet and Stewart Bufton also in a Starlet pulled out at the front of the field, it was going to be a battle between these two for the event win. Tim McCracken was sharing the bright yellow Corolla with Pete Abernethy, Pete got a 5 second penalty in the second run but had better conditions in the 3rd run to be first home in that car, and 5th overall at the end of the day.

Paul Jansen put in a great run on the second time around and was up into 3rd overall after that. Matt Jansen was having a ripper day, setting great times in the Datsun 1200 coupe. Andrea Summerfield had a slight altercation with the fence on the far side of the paddock, the fence was not visibly worse for wear but the driver’s door of the WRX copped a wee dent (that you couldn’t notice with all the mud on the car anyway). Les Summerfield was pulling Gilles Panizzi style “for ze fun” donuts in the WRX in full view of the spectator area, and ended up beating himself with his entry in Shane Thornley’s Starlet. In return Shane got to drive the WRX and you could see his grin a mile off even through the mud-caked windscreen. Chris Herdman was out for a skid in Graham Wilson’s Starlet, and with Graham doing a bit much reversing Chris came through to take that battle by less than a second!

Chris Hughes was out international competitor for the day, having flown back from a holiday in Australia (on air-points he is quick to point out!) to help with his club points tally, being in with a good shot at overall club champion if he could beat Les Summerfield by quite a bit. Unfortunately for Chris it didn’t quite happen although his 7th overall tied him with Les at the top of the points table, on countback it looks like Les has got it. Andrew Bufton was debating the steady-as-she-goes approach against the keep-your-boot-in-it approach and was another to suffer from the conditions even with the first approach seemingly the best to adopt. The MacIntoshes had an internal contest going on in their Starlet with Greg, James and Michael all taking on the course in the car. Michelle Reid was sharing the TeamRFR Suzuki and did her best to test the rev limiter for most of the day, a good performance with no penalties saw Reid in the middle of the points.

By the double loop of run 3 the course was changed a bit to open up the sharper corners. This confused a few as the tracks already laid stuck out like the proverbial canine crotch, but most managed well. Chris Hughes copped 15 seconds of penalties which ultimately could cost him the club championship. Les also scored 15 seconds of penalties trying to be a good sport. Stewart Bufton had a blinder and took the event win by 6 seconds overall from Grant Goile, although second sewed up the Autocross trophy for another year for him. It was a very testing day on a great track configuration in a good paddock, hopefully we can use this one sometime in the dry! 

Results were:

1st Stewart Bufton (Starlet)
2nd Grant Goile (Starlet)
3rd Paul Jansen (Pulsar GTiR)

1st Paul Jansen (Pulsar GTiR)
2nd Chris Hughes (Evo)
3rd Andrea Summerfield (WRX)

2WD 1301-1600cc
1st Stewart Bufton (Starlet)
2nd Pete Abernethy (Corolla)
3rd Andrew Bufton (Starlet)

2WD 0-1300cc
1st Grant Goile (Starlet)
2nd Matt Jansen (Datsun 1200)
3rd David Fletcher (Suzuki GTi)

Thanks to Josh Marston for organising and C or C duties, Nick Marston for helping set up and being course spotter, Andrea Summerfield for timing assistance, Sarah for course spotting, Michelle Reid for documentation, Les Summerfield for scrutineering, Dave Fletcher for timing and organisation, and thanks to Don Robertson for letting us use a really good big paddock. See you all at the club prize giving on the 15th!