Reviews

BRASS MONKEY 2015

For those keen to brave the chilly conditions, the annual Brass Monkey was an opportunity to test any new machinery purchased over the off-season. It was also a good excuse to race around the track with like-minded people testing skills against one another. Hosted by the Historic Racing Club  and held at Hampton Downs in uncharacteristic sunny but extremely frosty conditions on the 12th of July, the card featured PPG Classic Trials, Over 1min 25sec, sub 1min 25sec and Single Seaters. Also included in the card were cars from the Hampton Downs “Playday”, which is set up for anybody who wishes to take their car onto the track in a non-racing environment. Although some of the cars in the mix did appear rather racy!

The days racing started off with the Over 1min 25 class of which was won by Robert Pakes in a Trimuph TR8. The Sub 1min 25 class on the morning was won by Simon Lucas in a BMW M125i which was some achievement as it is only his first season of racing. However with this class only having 10 entrants and the day getting shorter it was decided at lunchtime to merge the two categories. Simon Lucas continued on his winning ways, to take out the remaining three races of the day for this category.  The Champagne was handed out to Simon Lucas for winning the Sub 1min 25 class and Paul Smith for winning the Over 1min 25 class in his Honda Integra.

This was also the “Winter Championship” for the PPG Classic Trials. As are the rules with Classic Trials, the driver must nominate his/her laptime time before the race starts and must try to stay as close to this nominated time as possible. The Classic Trials winner was David Tolhurst driving a Ford Capri GT, with second place going to Alan Horner  in his Austin Healey Sprite, and third place going to Brent Middlemiss in his Mini 1275 GT. The winner of the championship for the last two seasons in his Mazda MX5, Paul Couper has since brought a beautiful new toy – a Westfield Eleven. This was therefore effectively a test-day for him.

When it came to the Single Seaters, it was more about demonstration laps than racing as there were just two entrants, being the Ermolli Alfa Formula Boxer of Andy Drummond, and a rare 1972 Mclaren M18 Gardos OR2 of Chris Watson. The latter, built by mechanic Jamie Gard consists of “left-over” components from a Mclaren M18. The Gardos competed in the Australian Gold Star and Tasman events, with its highest placing being sixth in the 1979 AGP.

With an entertaining days racing over, it was off home to the warmth of heaters and fireplaces – with a Whisky (or Champagne if you were a class winner) in hand, contemplating the “to-do” list come next season.

OUTSOURCE IT

The outsource it Christmas at the downs took place on the 14th of December in treacherous conditions with driving rain and wind although a dry line did appear for a short while in the afternoon. Unfortunately this caused the entrance to be down to approximately 130 from the anticipated 180 entries. For those who did still brave the weather, it could not have been easy on track as there were numerous spins, near misses and offs. I remember when I used to race motocross bikes, and waking up the morning of a race to see the weather had taken a turn for the worst. It really makes you think twice whether you really want to go racing for the day!

The card for this event were the Alfa Trofeo series, Arrow Wheels Sports & GT, PPG Classic Trials, AES TradeZone, and the 2k Cup. After an hour and a half delayed start waiting for the rain to ease, the racing finally took place with the cars from the Alfa Trofeo series up first. With Gary Langsford in the Alfa 156 braving the conditions to win both the Trofeo races. In the Classic Trials, with this being round 4 of the series Paul Couper in the MX5 showed his consistency once again to come out on top. This will cement his place at the top of the championship table.

The 2k Cup, which is only in its second season, was invented as a way to make it affordable for anybody to race cars with minimal modifications and rego’d and warranted. Both races (Group 1 & Group 2) were reverse grid starts and fielded 42 cars each. With the number of cars, and the “liquid sunshine”, we were in for plenty of action & some great racing. In Group 2, Ray Williams, driving a 1993 Honda Integra showed how its done, to claim his win, not withstanding a heart-stopping moment when he almost lost it on the last lap. Group 1 was won by Patrick Hodgson in a Toyota Curren.

In both races of the Arrow Wheels Sports & GT’s Ricky Cooper in the Datsun 240Z managed to keep the Ferrari 308 of John Honore at bay to claim victory. While in the AES/TradeZone race, Gary Langsford went on to finish number 1 in his Alfa.

Although it was a thoroughly enjoyable day with action aplenty, I’m sure everyone will be hoping for better weather next time.

ROYCROFT TROPHY 2015

With Cyclone Pam heading towards our shores the Roycroft Trophy had the likelihood of being anything but a straight forward event. However, thankfully the rain  held off and we were in for a great weekend of racing.

Organized by the Waitamata branch of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand,  the Historic Racing and Sports Car Club as well as the Classic Motorcycle Racing Register of New Zealand; and held over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of March at Hampton Downs this year’s  event was cast with a French flavor. The classes invited to race where the Historic Formula Junior, Pre-1960 Sports Cars, Pre-1945 Sports Cars, Pre-1960 Saloons and demonstration laps of Pre-1963 motorcycles.

Lunchtimes activity saw parade laps of the various vintage cars and historic’s including the S.C.A.R (Societe de Construction Automobiles de Reims) 1912 which was one of only 6 built. It was imported to New Zealand new in 1913 by the owner of Aucklands Grand Hotel, Henry Bray. Also in the parade and on display was a 1915 Renault Charabanc. Other Lunchtime entertainment saw the exquisite brass band the Lyndsay Meech Band playing some fine tunes.

On Saturday night there was a French wine and food evening. Those attending were treated to hear guest speakers Hugh Anderson who was a 4 times motorcycle world champion and won the Isle of Mann TT four times, Ken McIntosh, known worldwide for his tuning abilities and Norton expertise, and  90 year old Les Harris who incredibly still races his BSA Bantam.

Saturday’s  racing included the Waitemata Cup for the Pre-1960 machines. This was won by David Owen in the 1953 Jaguar C Type Replica with second place going to Tim Hill in the 1951 Morgan Plus 4 and third going to Steve Sharp in the 1955 Buckler 90. However “for the Spirit of the Event” Tim Hill was named as the winner since Owen had already won the Barrie Girdler Trophy for the Fastest South Island vehicle. Also on the Saturday was the De Lautour Memorial race for Pre-1945’ers which saw  Fred Courtney in a 1950 Northland Special take the title followed by Steve Payne in a 1960 Morgan 4/4  in second, with Peter Benbrook’s 1950 Buckler MK5 in third place.

 

The weekend was rounded off on Sunday with the 10 Lap feature race for  the Roycroft Trophy. This saw a field of 14 cars from the various classes all vying for the Trophy, including grand-son of A.J Roycroft, Terry Roycroft who was running the Type 35 Bugatti (with a Jaguar V12 engine).  The eventual winner was David Owen, followed by Tim Hill, with Steve Sharp rounding off the top 3. Terry Roycroft put in a sterling effort to finish the race in fourth place.