Otago success on road, track

By Catherine Pattison on Sat, 21 Oct 2017 | Latest News
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Arron and Stu Black have backed up their national class win with victory in the South Island Endurance Series' Class A (0-2000cc) in their BMW E46 WTC. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER

Successes kept coming on both the circuit racing and rally roads for Otago competitors last weekend.

Dunedin's Chris Henderson won the South Island Endurance Series (SIES) one-hour category with three victories over the three rounds. His home-built Toyota Corolla AE86 set the quickest lap in qualifying, then went on to win the final race at the Timaru International Raceway on Saturday.

Like Henderson, Alexandra's Bruce Davidson has had his fair share of reliability issues in the past and was happy to lay them to rest with a runner-up placing in Class C (3501+cc) in his Chevrolet C6R Corvette.

Brothers Stu and Arron Black, of Dunedin, continued their impressive form that saw them win their New Zealand Endurance Championship class in March. They emerged victorious in the SIES' three-hour Class A (0-2000cc) in their BMW E46 WTC.

‘‘We've done nearly 50 races in this car. We had a heap of issues with it in the past but lately we've had a dream couple of years with it,'' Arron said.

They ran another BMW E46 with ‘‘smaller parts'' in the one-hour series and won two out of the three rounds, but a CV failure at the Ruapuna race meeting scuppered their hopes of a double SIES celebration.

Dunedin's Tim Mackersy and Barry Moore, of Queenstown, survived a Friday afternoon engine failure scare to take the three-hour Class B (2001-3500cc) win. The day before the final, their Volkswagen Golf Cup had an emergency trip to Methven from Timaru to have its motor replaced - after it malfunctioned in the practice session - with one from a wreck Moore owned.

‘‘It was a bit touch and go,'' Mackersy said. He has been getting back into circuit racing for the past three years after starting out as a teenager with his father, Ron, who also races the same model VW in the SIES.

Next year, Mackersy and Moore will race a hot new VW Golf TCR, which has just won the 2017 TCR Asia Series, in the New Zealand Endurance Championship one-off race in March.

Among the other top-20 qualifiers for this North Island-based event are Dunedin's Allan Dippie and Invercargill driver Scott O'Donnell, who were consistent over the three SIES rounds, bringing their Porsche GT3 Cup S home in third overall in the three- hour series and also third in the Class D and E.

Although Dunedin rally driver Emma Gilmour is not in the overall hunt for a national championship podium, after a difficult start to the season, she was pleased to notch up a fifth place at the penultimate round, Rally of Waitomo, last Saturday.

‘‘I am happy to be building momentum for the end of the season and I have some things to work on so we can have a really good final round in Tauranga,'' Gilmour said.

Fellow Otago driver Rhys Gardner did not have such good luck and his Mazda 2 AP4 experienced an unpleasant introduction into the roll-over club. Neither Gardner nor co- driver Alex Ramsay was injured and the car sustained mostly panel damage.

Subaru WRX STi driver Ben Hunt's victory at the 207km, six-stage event moved him into contention for the title at the series finale in six weeks' time. Andrew Hawkeswood, also of Auckland, holds a 10-point lead in his Mazda 2 AP4+.