19 August – Okuku Autocross

Okuku offered a fine and temperate atmosphere for a challenging and well contested Sunday’s racing, all ahead of schedule thanks to a very efficient crew of volunteers.

The course provided its share of challenges to the drivers, with the unusual inclusion of hay bales as corner cones for some of the major hairpin corners, and a very sponge cake-like bouncy soil texture for good measure. Fortunately the bales didn’t prove to be too much of a novelty, and remained untouched for the entire day.

The first furrow was ploughed by Darryll Campbell, who despite shedding the paddock of it’s surface muck, managed to set a second equal time of 60.13 seconds. Brent Tiney’s Escort saw him a second and a half clear of second place at 58.56 seconds, proving that 4 wheels are not always better than 2. Geoff Galbraith found himself in good company, placing second equal and looking for some more speed in the coming courses. The Lazda (Laser Mazda Hybrid) duo Nic Jones and Nate Hobbs showed some promising potential with 4th and 7th in the first course, respectively. The first round was hotly contested by all competitors, with places 2 through 8 separated by all but half a second.

The second course was reversal of the first with some minor touch-ups, but this course certainly didn’t prove to be a reversal of the fortunes of the Lazda boys who moved up into 1st and 3rd, placing Geoff Galbraith in a Lazda sandwich with not more than a third of a second separating him from 3rd. Scott Reid topped the rest of the smaller bores in 7th, with some sort of rattling proving not proving to be too distracting, but worthy of some TLC later. The rest of the Escorts showed some good pace, averaging a little above midfield, but perhaps wishing they had some extra driving wheels attached.

The last course of the day saw a 2 lapper around some course a bit like the second, with the addition of a rather amusing 270 degree hay bale corner. Guy Anderson’s Terrano (set to 2wd) may not have been the most fit racing machine on the course, but it certainly put on a good show, especially on the tight hairpin corners, as did Les Summerfield’s street Falcon. Sam Galbraith (yours truly) came in with the quickest time of 97.75, but unfortunately couldn’t make up for the deficits made earlier. The Lazda lads continued their crusade, posting a 2nd rank time for Nic and 4th for Nate.

The final result was a Celica and Lazda double sandwich, with Nic Jones and Nate Hobbs in 2nd and 4th places overall, respectively. Geoff Galbraith came home with the win, with an overall time of 216.76 seconds overall, with son Sam taking 3rd around 2 seconds behind. Honourable mentions go to Jamie Powell, who looked to have some potential but whose Starlet sounded like it had a very unhappy Subaru trapped under the bonnet.

Thanks to the team for a great event (especially Stacey and Drew Jeffrey), and of course the farmer whose support we could not do without.

Sam Galbraith.

Click here for the results