Reynolds continues his 1600 Dominance!
Butcher returns to the 1200 winners circle!
Round 3 of the CAMS NSW Formula Vee State Championship took place in early June at the first ever race meeting on the new newly named Sydney Motorsport Park Long Circuit (formerly known as Eastern Creek International Raceway). By the end of the weekend, Daniel Reynolds and his allconquering Sabre 02 returned to clean-sweeping form, while Stephen Butcher took the 1200 class round win despite one troubled race.
The lead-up to the race was filled with intrigue as Dylan Thomas and Ben Oldfield refused to reveal the identity of their race cars only until the Friday qualifying, when the world found that Ben had teamed up with Dylan Thomas to drive Dylan?s own Stinger in a shock lease deal, while Dylan’s famous blue streaked helmet was seen above the cockpit of the worlds? most awaited Formula Vee, the Rayzor, in its debut race, with Dylan setting aim on the inaugural lap record for the new Sydney Motorsport Park Long Circuit.
Qualifying commenced on the new Long circuit in freezing Canberra-style conditions, which proved no obstacle for Daniel Reynolds and his all-conquering Sabre 02, Daniel stamping his authority on the weekend from the first opportunity with a time around 24 seconds slower than the familiar Eastern Creek circuit, the extra time all contributed by the tight and twisty new section and the modified Turn 7.
In a welcome sign of form, Gary Ogden thrusted his Corsica into the second placed slot nearly 1.5 seconds behind Daniel, with Darren Williams and Simon Pace accompanying Gary in the 2.12 second bracket in their Jacer and Mako respectively. The 2.13 seconds bracket was filled by the on-form Craig Conlon in is Jacer, then Dean Cavanagh in his Jacer, with Dylan Thomas in the (slightly smoky) Rayzor, and Ben Oldfield in what was still only a partially familiar Stinger.
The 2.14 second bracket was filled by the dynamic Stephen Gamarra in his Jacer, then Morgan Freemantle in his Jacer, then Pablo Martino in the CXC Stinger, and then Garry Hook in his Bottlemart Jacer. Garry was then followed on the Race 1 starting grid by Lachlan Higgins in a good performance in his Sabre 01, then Leigh Porter (Jacer), Corinne Perry (Supavee), with Corinne rounding off the 1600 cars.
Stephen Butcher led the 1200 cars in is Team Stinger/CXC Stinger by taking out the next grid spot with a 2.17.5, demonstrating the 6 second margin between the classes on this new circuit. Butcher was followed by Geoff Bassingthwaite in his endearing Avanti, with reigning champion Bernie Cannon (Kingfisher), Michael Gale (Mako), Bruce Perry (Spectre), and with newly licenced Peter McDonald in his Kestrel filling the final 21st grid position.
Race 1 started as qualifying finished, with Daniel Reynolds dominating the lap times throughout the race as all the Formula Vee drivers grappled with the twisty new section of circuit. Simon Pace gained confidence through each lap faster than his surrounding competitors and forged his position behind Daniel to cross the line, with Darren Williams a few seconds behind Simon over the line.
The trick rear suspension of Gary Ogden?s Corsica (pull rods with longitudinal twin coil-overs – Ed) clearly required further tuning as he dropped back two places from his starting grid, with the on-form Craig Conlon and his rejuvenated Jacer less than two seconds behind the legendary Ogden at the finish.
Corinne survived a scary moment in Turn 1 While Peter McDonald survived his OLT on the Friday Garry Hook, Corinne Perry, and Morgan Freemantle, provide the entertainment of the race with racelong duels, and less than 0.3 of a second apart over the line. But in a hidden highlight, Leigh Porter quietly confounded his own dismal predictions of his weekend results by taking out the ninth place position after a five car charge.
Despite a number of promising tests and dyno days, a slowly increasing oil leak progressively slowed Dylan and ruined the Rayzor?s debut race, with Dylan finishing in tenth place, although flashes of Dylan?s brilliance were apparent in the opening laps as he raced through the field before his succumbing to the smoke.
Dylan was followed by Ben Oldfield in the second CXC Vee a fraction of a second behind, Ben?s awkward stature still coming to terms with the Stinger?s driving position, with Lachlan Higgins in his Sabre next in a very solid performance.Dean Cavanagh, Pablo Martino, and Stephen Gamarra, filled the final three 1600 places in uncharacteristically off-form performances, with Gamarra followed over the line by the lead 1200, Stephen Butcher, in his Stinger, with the following 1200?s of Bruce Perry, Michael Gale, and Bernie Cannon, all separated by less than 0.06 of a second across the line after a seven lap long duel between them.
Rookie Peter McDonald drover admirably in his first ever race in his Kestrel, with a relatively small margin ahead of him. Commiserations to Geoff Bassingthwaite for his DNF.
Daniel Reynolds stamped his ever increasing authority on Race 2, with a six-lap untroubled drive to the chequered flag, but the interest of the race lay in the race-long duel between Darren Williams, Gary Ogden, Simon Pace, and Garry Hook, with Darren edging out Gary?s ever-improving Corsica by 0.1 of a second, and with Simon edging out a more determined Garry Hook, who appears to have banished his unreliability demons from s Jacer, by a similar margin.
Its great to see an Avanti on the track – Geoff Bassingthwaite Leigh through the new section Lachlan Higgins took out twelfth place, with Pablo Martino next in his limping Stinger, the Stinger injury occurring on lap 4 after a wheel-to-wheel altercation with Corinne Perry?s Supavee on the inside of Turn 1, which resulted in Corinne?s Supavee jumping into the air and resting deep into the gravel, fortunately with the Supavee?s four wheels firmly on the ground.
A spluttering Stinger driven by Stephen Butcher ground to a halt during the race to be the first DNF, with Corinne Perry watching the waved chequered flag from the Turn 1 flag marshall?s post, with Dylan Thomas the next DNF due to the continuing undiagnosed oil leak from the Rayzor?s engine. Geoff Bassingthwaite repeated his Race 1 DNF due to electrical problems with his Avanti.
Deano heads Hookey (yes, that’s really him) Butchey’s chocolate addiction finally morphed him into an M & M Daniel Reynolds was again untroubled in the final Race 3 on Sunday afternoon, but this time Simon Pace demonstrated his continuingly improving style with a solid drive to take out second place comfortably ahead of a fast-starting Ben Oldfield and Darren Williams, with less than 0.02 of a second separating Ben and Darren at the finish, with the last corner tactics by Ben upsetting Darren, and with Ben tasting a Championship race lead for the first time in the flying Dylan Thomas CXC Stinger.
Pablo also survived a scary moment in Turn 1 Darren was followed by Gary Ogden and Dean Cavanagh, and the Morgan Freemantle keeping out Garry Hook by an eye-blinkingly small 0.0145 of a second after another race-long duel. Corinne Perry recovered from her Race 2 DNF by passing twelve Formula Vees on her way to an excellent ninth placing in her Shearwater Marine Engineering Supavee, with Corinne followed by Stephen Gamarra and a fading Craig Conlon.
Stephen Butcher recovered from his Race 2 DNF to comfortably lead the 1200 field across the line, with an ailing Leigh Porter next in his Jacer, and the remaining 1200?s of Bruce Perry, Bernie Cannon, Michale Gale, and Peter McDonald completing the field. Dylan Thomas again DNF?ed in his smoky Rayzor, as did Lachlan Higgins. Geoff Bassingthwaite dd not recover from his Race 1 and Race 2 dramas, while Pablo Martino?s race was terminated on the dummy grid when a rear brake calliper was found to be broken following his Race 2 incident.
This Race Report was sponsored by RALLYX Mud Flaps.