SMC 2012 Season
SMC Round 1 Report Manfeild Thursday 11th October 2012
Super Mini Challenge Tames the Wild Weather at Manfeild
Manfeild was the venue for the first round of the Super Mini Challenge series for the 2012-13 season, with a one day meeting getting the ball rolling.
A good mix of cars faced the starter, including Kevin Townsend who was back from a season off with his fire-breathing Open class car. Also on track was Craig Anderson in a BMW Mini and the regular field of Mini 7 and Miglia competitors.
Qualifying was the only dry session of the day, with the drivers getting out early to score some quick laps. A shower fell in the middle of the session, but those who braved the conditions fared well, with the fastest laps being recorded late in the session on a drying track.
Townsend resumed from where he left off, scoring pole with a 1:22.93, 3.5 seconds clear of leading Miglia runner and Feilding local Bill Robson. Anderson was next in the BMW, ahead of the Mini 7s headed by Elliott and Warren Heron, who was debuting the first 850cc engine run since the mid 1990s. The weekend ended early for Chris Thompson, who had an engine drama keep him from racing.
Conditions had worsened for Race 1, with consistent rain falling on an already sodden track. To make proceedings interesting there was a large amount of oil spread across the racetrack, reducing the racing line to less than a car width. Townsend won from pole, but had to fend off advances from Anderson and E Heron, who remained in close company throughout the race. W Heron ran fourth, ahead of the leading Miglia of Robson.
The wet and slippery conditions only claimed one victim, with Lawrence Croydon-Fowler spearing off at Higgins causing some suspension damage to his Mini 7. Laurie Axcell also had a tough run, with his engine imploding as he crossed the finish line, doing irreparable damage and putting him out for the day.
The track had dried considerably for the second race, with the drivers all electing to use slick tyres. However the rain soon started to fall, making the conditions extremely treacherous. The Mini 7 class led the field away, with the Herons taking off to a clear lead. W Heron led off the line, but the stiff head wind on the back straight allowed E Heron to draft to the lead.
The positions would not change, giving E Heron the win overall. W Heron came through for second with the Miglias of Robson and Simon Mans taking third and fourth overall. Anderson and Townsend were limited to fifth and sixth after a tough handicap. The conditions took no further victims, however gearbox issues caused Croydon-Fowler to finish one lap down.
The final handicap race was in full wet conditions, with the drivers back onto wet tyres. Anderson made quick work of the handicap, fighting his way past the Mini 7s to take the win. Mans held on for second after starting off the front row, despite having to stave off advances from E Heron on the final lap. W Heron came through in fourth spot with Townsend fighting back from 30 seconds down to finish fifth.
Following the action packed day of racing E Heron heads the points on 103, ahead of Townsend on 94 and W Heron on 81. The Miglia class lead is tied between Mans and Robson, both on 79.
The next round is at Taupo on Labour Weekend 20-21 October, with a full field of exciting Mini race cars promised along with the host of IRC classes.
Round 2 report Taupo Tuesday 23rd October 2012
Wild Weather Defines another Round of Super Mini Challenge Action
The weather was once again a major talking point at the second round of the Super Mini Challenge series for 2012-13, held at Taupo Motorsport Park on Labour Weekend. The rain held out for Saturday but came down on Sunday, bringing the final race to an almost standstill pace.
The second round saw a number of new entries to the series, with the Open and Mini 7 classes both getting a boost in numbers. Chris Coleman, Richard Wagstaff and Peter Amies were all added onto the Open class bill; with Mark Van Swet, Greg Gordon and former TQ Midget champion Ross Linklater all joining the Mini 7 class. Colin Middlemiss also made his debut in the Miglia class.
It was Coleman that took first blood, scoring pole position for the opening race of the weekend. Kevin Townsend and Wagstaff followed to round out the top three. Warren Heron took fourth overall and pole in the Mini 7 class, the first pole for an 850cc engine since their reintroduction into the class. Bill Robson took pole position in the Miglia class, followed by Craig Anderson, Elliott Heron, Van Swet, and Simon Mans to round out the top ten.
Race 1 was the first dry race of the season, and the action up front kept the crowd on their feet. Townsend and Wagstaff ran side by side through the opening corners, until Wagstaff spun at turn 5 to send the field into disarray. Luckily nobody collected the 19 car, but the spin split the field with Townsend and Coleman sprinting away to the front.
The battle for the lead was decided at the final chicane, with Coleman making a big lunge only to end up off the track, forcing him to concede victory to Townsend. Coleman followed for a close second, setting a new lap record for the Open class in the process. Wagstaff recovered for third spot, ahead of Miglia class winner Robson and Mini 7 class winner E Heron. W Heron was next, followed by Anderson, Mans, Linklater, and Nick Croydon-Fowler who was making his debut for the season.
Sunday dawned another wet day, with the opening race on a drying but still wet circuit. The Mini 7 class were first away, with E Heron and Van Swet fighting tooth and nail for the front running. The Open class competitors fought their way through the field with Coleman leading Townsend and Wagstaff through.
The winner was decided on the fifth lap, when Van Swet got by at the Chase to take the win, tipping E Heron by 0.6 seconds. Coleman came through for third and the Open class win, with W Heron, Townsend, Wagstaff, Linklater and Anderson following. Mans took the Miglia class victory in ninth spot, with Gordon rounding out the ten.
The weather worsened considerably for the final race of the weekend, with standing water and poor visibility making the conditions dire. Some competitors opted not to start, while many others trickled around to add to their points tally. Anderson was the only casualty of the race, losing control of his BMW Mini at the end of the main straight, sending him into a wild high speed spin.
The race went to Linklater, who drove a clean race to score a clear victory ahead of Gordon and father Lex Linklater. W Heron was next, ahead of the Miglia class winner Robson in fifth.
Following the weekend’s racing E Heron holds onto the overall and Mini 7 class leads, after a narrow round victory ahead of R Linklater and W Heron. Robson sits in second place overall holding onto the Miglia class lead, ahead of Mans who runs third overall and one point up on the Open class leader, Townsend.
The next round of the series is back at Manfeild Autocourse at the beginning of December, replacing Thunder in the Park at Pukekohe as the track will be closed for repairs.
Round 3 Report Manfeild Sunday 9th December 2012
All Tied Up at the Top after Manfeild Mix Up
After a near perfect weekend on home soil, Feilding’s Bill Robson sees himself tied with Elliott Heron at the top of the SMC standings heading into the summer break, but it was the return of Steve Midgley that made headlines at Manfeild for round three.
Midgley set pole time for the Super Mini Challenge in superb conditions, with Robson taking pole in the Miglia class and Heron dropping under the Mini 7 lap record for pole in that class.
The opening race saw Midgley again on top, defending the lead Star Cars throughout to take a narrow win. He also recorded his first 1:19 at Manfeild, just off the Open class lap record. Robson easily took the Miglia class win, but the racing was closest in behind with Heron and Miglia competitor Simon Mans changing positions each lap. Further down the road Chris Thompson headed his brother Scott who made his return to the Mini 7 series. Toby Annabell was also back in his Honda powered Mini, with Roger Llewellin making his debut in the SMC after racing in the South Island championship.
The conditions on Sunday were much more fickle however, with early rain clearing for the opening race making tyre choice difficult. Most of the Mini 7 class elected slicks, however rain began to fall mid way through the race making conditions treacherous. E Heron romped away from the pole to take the Mini 7 class win ahead of Warren Heron, although he was chased to the line by the lead Star Cars with Midgley in tow. Robson took the Miglia class win once again, albeit narrowly from Mans whose choice of wet tyres almost paid dividends. Colin Middlemiss ran third in the Miglia class in his first real SMC round after a shocker at Taupo.
Conditions were more obviously wet for the final jaunt, with the handicap start favouring those at the front. Greg Gordon led from the flag in the Mini 7 class to take the win followed by Lex Linklater. Midgley showed much improved wet weather pace in his motorbike engined, rear wheel drive Mini to claim the clean sweep in the Open class. It was only good enough for fifth on track however, with a pair of Star Cars featuring in the top three. It was then back to Annabell, and C Thompson who narrowly held out E Heron after a charging run through traffic. Robson also recorded a clean sweep, taking out the Miglia class from Mans with the pair aided by the demise of Middlemiss on the final lap with an engine related issue.
The round points saw Midgley take a perfect score for the weekend, with Robson almost repeating the feat in the Miglia class. This gave Robson a 9 point swing over E Heron, tying up the top of the order for the overall points. Mans sits third overall, 24 points back, with a further 19 back to W Heron. Kevin Townsend holds the Open class lead despite not contesting the third round, ahead of Craig Anderson and Midgley who climbs to third in class.
The Super Mini Challenge series now has an intermission over the summer, ahead of an action packed finale. The end of January and beginning of February sees back to back racing action with two Toyota Racing Series rounds at Taupo and Hampton Downs. Following this it is back to the Manawatu where the SMC are joined by the South Island contingent for the final round of the NZ Mini 7 championship at Manfeild. Following an action packed opening round at Ruapuna in Christchurch this round promises some exciting action.
Make sure you get to the track to see some Mini racing action over the Summer, until then miniracing.co.nz wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.