Our second sprint for the 2016 season was Cust Gravel Sprint on 5km of fast Canterbury public gravel roads. Problems with securing the road closure for Ram Paddock Rd at the last minute meant we had to quickly change locations and move the date. Sometimes there are things out of our control and we have to make changes unfortunately.
Congratulations to David Quantock in his Evo 8 who took out the overall win by just 0.05 seconds, edging out Matt Penrose in his WRX who was comfortably leading until the last run. Job Quantock in his Evo 7 took third place 1.8 seconds adrift of Penrose. Congratulations to our class winners Graham Wilson 0-1300cc class 1, Josh Marston 1301-1600cc class 2 and Ross Teesdale 1601+cc class 3.
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David Quantock on his way to 1st overall at the 2016 Cust Gravel Sprint.
Awesome photos by Kevin Corin Photography. Get in touch with Kevin for copies.
Big Battles at Cust Sprint
Words by Ross Teesdale
Forty-Nine drivers took to the gravel in late May at the 2016 Cust Sprint run by Canterbury’s Autosport Club. Winter like conditions finally arrived, with the rain during the previous days providing a damp surface. The rain largely stayed away on the day which meant that once the gravel cleared, drivers were provided with a sticky and very drivey surface – as long as you stayed in the tracks.
The course was altered for 2016 to assist some residents, with the start being moved to a new road. All that was lost was the first big long straight, and the first right turn became a flat left – so nothing lost really. The road still contained a bunch of sweeping corners before an unsighted 90 left, a couple more tight 90’s then another big straight with some more tight corners at the end.
As usual the early runners would be road sweeping, making it fairly easy for Dave Quantock to take fastest time in run one, as 48th car on the road in his Evo8. Matt Penrose was 2nd fastest in his WRX despite being third car on the road, while Mike Tall and Jeff Judd were close behind, having been given mid order start positions. Judd was driving his WRX and Tall was sharing Jussara Kokshorn’s Evo5, while he continues to build his new Evo powered Mirage. NZRC front runner Richard Baddock was also among the field driving a different WRX with its owner.
By Run Two the road was sweeping off and getting sticky, meaning times would fall massively for the first cars on the road. Matt Penrose sat clearly at the top with nearly three seconds on Dave Quantock, Tall was close behind in third and Job Quantock was up to fourth in his Evo7. Judd, Baddock and Trevor Crowe were also on the pace after run two, driving their various WRX’s.
In the classes Rob McCallum (Duratec Escort) had initially lead the 2WD’s but was suffering from a misfire and had conceded first to Ross Teesdale’s AE86 after run two. Young gun Ari Pettigrew had also jumped over McCallum in run two. 16 year old Pettigrew continued to impress everyone in his sweet sounding 318 BMW and was less than 2 seconds behind Teesdale at that point.
In the 1600’s a mammoth 16 car entry had set the cat among the Pidgeon’s with a bunch of new challengers for the class win. Josh Marston won the NZRC 2WD Championship in 2013 and has since been parked up and putting his time into his young family. Having recently sold his Fiesta, the RDL crew have built an AE111 Toyota with a close gearbox and some good shocks, a cage and not much else. Marston showed his pedigree by leading the 1600 class after run two, ahead of Dave Fahey’s Mk1 Escort. Hayden Spatcher was third at this stage having his second time out in the Ex Marston Fiesta. In the 1300’s a healthy field of cars was headed by Autosport Club President Graham Wilson in his Starlet, with long time campaigner Grant Goile second so far in his KE30 Corolla.
There were still plenty of battles raging as the drivers lined up for the third and final run. The road was now providing so much grip many drivers would be caught out by their increased speed arriving at the unsighted 90 left and would overshoot. Dave Quantock made no mistake to take the event win by just four hundredths of a second from Matt Penrose, a rather annoyingly tiny margin if you are Penrose. Dave’s son Job Quantock came home just under two seconds back for third, jumping over Mike Tall who as another 1.8 seconds back. Keith Anderson was fifth in his Evo, ahead of Jeff Judd who overcooked that 90 left and lamented that he did not put down a clean run all day. Baddock came home sixth in the borrowed WRX.
Ross Teesdale was fastest of the 2WD’s at the event, helped by Rob McCallum having put his misfiring Duratec on the trailer. Teesdale was also caught by his increased approach speed at that 90 left, half spinning and stalling, he would have to hold his breath to see if his run two time would stand up. Andrew Sim went close and would take 2nd of the 2WD’s for the day, while Ari Pettigrew took third 2WD despite also losing time in his last run. McCallum would end up fourth in the class.
Josh Marston put his NZRC experience to good use to win the 1600cc Class in what had been an intense battle. Hayden Spatcher took second having eased his way into things with the Fiesta being a big investment, he was less than one second behind his cars previous owner. 2015 NZ Hillclimb 2WD Champion Paul Price came from nowhere to take third in class in a borrowed AE92 Corolla, relegating regular class front runner Dave Fahey to fourth for the day by just 4/10ths.
Graham Wilson held on to take the 1300cc win in his Suzuki Twin Can powered Starlet, just on a second ahead of Goile’s classic Corolla. Next up was a great showing by a rookie. Neil Hetherington is Hayden Paddon’s best mate since school days and is instrumental in the mechanical engineering of Hayden’s Rally program in NZ. Neil was full time getting the AP4 Hyundai i20 built at Force Motorsport over the last several months and has always been the main man on Hayden’s crew in NZ. Cust provided a chance for Neil to do it for himself and he impressed all with his third in class in what was one his first events ever.
It is great to see a sudden resurgence of entries in Rally and Sprint events. With such a big entry at Cust and the upcoming Lone Star Rally of Canterbury having 89 entries a week out from the event, could it be that Hayden’s recent success has motivated a few more to get their Rally Cars out of the garage. It seems the sport is on the up and I suspect that is no coincidence.