Another great road near Waipara, Onepunga Rd was our second gravel sprint for the season and was a great opportunity for teams to test their machines before the Lone Star Canterbury Rally. Onepunga Rd is 3.7km of awesome north Canterbury gravel. See below for results and article.
Congratulations to overall winner Mike Tall and our class winners; Chris Herdman winner of class 1 (0-1300cc), Brent Buist winner of class 2 (1301-1600cc), Glenn Buist winner of class 3 (1601+cc) and Darryl Campbell winner of class 4 (4WD).
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One Punga – three fence hits at Autosport Sprint by Ross Teesdale
The Autosport Clubs Onepunga Rd gravel sprint held on Sunday 17th May saw 30 drivers take on the 4 km of twisting and heavily gravelled road. Three drivers attacked the same bit of fence at various times, copping a bill for a fence post each, but only minor damage to their cars. The road started out wet and soft and would cut up a lot in some corners, but the appearance of the sun prior to the final of three runs meant the times did continue to drop.
Mike Tall took his very quick Evo4 to the top of the time sheets in run one and would stay at the top to win the event by a little over 5 seconds. Trying to take the challenge to Tall, were Trevor Crowe and Matt Penrose in Impreza’s, along with Gary Hawkes and Daryl Campbell in their Evo’s. Hawkes would get near to Tall’s time in the first run, but despite gritting his teeth and giving it his all, he would have to accept second at Onepunga Rd. Crowe would come home third, 3 ½ seconds behind Hawke’s, while Campbell was a further second behind in fourth.
Meanwhile Matt Penrose had been fighting with Hawkes and Tall and was running third after the first two runs, but would have trouble at ‘fence post corner’ in his final run. He managed to miss the already badly damaged fence but his effort to do so saw him fire into the bank on the inside, doing moderate damage to the left front corner of his car, failing to finish the run and dropping to fifth for the day. Sam Hurley would be next of the 4WD’s in his Evo3.
It was the 2WD competitors who owned the fence posts on the day. First to own a post was Wade Henshaw who was fired up to get a good result in his ex Kim Austin Ashley Forest record holding RX7. Damage to the car was minimal and Wade would go on to take second in the open 2WD class, behind Glenn Buist who was very keen to put his BDA Escort ahead of the other 2WD challengers. Glenn was at the top of the 2WD time sheets all day, winning the class by 2 seconds from Henshaw. Ross Teesdale took third of the open 2WD’s in his double boosted AE86, another 2 seconds behind Henshaw, a little off the pace on the unfamiliar road.
Robert McCullum had his Duratec powered Escort on the pace early in the day, but gearbox issues saw him retire after run two. He would take 4th in the open 2WD class on the strength of his run one time, 2 ½ seconds ahead of Glenn Simpson in a Ztec powered Mk2 Escort.
Brent Buist won the 1600 cc Class with another fast day out in the 7 speed Baby BDA. Josh Mitchell took his 4AGE powered Starlet to second, while James Hunter scooped third of the 1600’s in his Chevette. Hunter has found more and more pace in the Chevette he has owned since the 1990’s and has recently brought back out of the shed.
The 1300 class owned another two fence posts. Barry Deuart was the first to follow Henshaw’s line through the fence coming to grief in his first run, while new competitor Chris McLean put his name on the last of the post’s in his final run. Chris Herdman was the class of the 1300 field winning by over five seconds from Autosport Club President Graham Wilson. Deuart would take third ahead of McLean (KE70) and Shane Thornley’s Starlet.
There aren’t actually any Punga’s to be found on Onepunga Rd, but the venue provided another high speed adrenaline rush for all those who took part. The two lesser known Buist brothers restored some mana for their old Ford’s, both winning their class in their BDA’s, Henshaw was rapt to beat most of the 2WD’s and Tall showed he is the fastest of Canterbury’s Club Rally brigade – but Hawkes, Crowe and Penrose have all vowed they wont give up trying to relegate Tall in the results. Drive of the day goes to Chris Herdman who dominated the usually tightly competitive 1300 cc Class.
For most drivers their next action will come in the upcoming Rally of Canterbury.
Thanks to Hamish Anderson for running the event on the day, Tony Witheridge for the all important results, Graham, Leanne and Chris for their tireless work and also Keith, Denis, Brett, Lyne and all the others who helped make the event run on the day.
Photos by Kevin Corin.
Directions from Christchurch
Head north on the motorway. In the Amberly township turn left on Douglas Rd which becomes Mount Brown Rd, follow this for 6km. Turn left on Onepunga Rd.