|2014 Quit Targa West|
|Quit Targa West 2014 has seen a big and somewhat unwelcome change to my participation in the event. From 2009, I have driven in every rally whether it be in a course car (Car 000, Car 00 or the VIP Ride Car) or in a competition car. With my wedding just 3 weeks after the rally and my Mitsubishi Evo playing a role on that special day, I didn't want to risk breaking it or go through the effort of converting it from a rally car back to a road car to run as the VIP Ride Car again. For the first time in years, I'd be sitting idle on the sidelines - until I got the call from Clerk of Course, Ross Tapper. He needed a driver that could fill in and drive Car 0A on the first day of the rally as the organised driver could not make the Ceremonial Start and the Whiteman Park stages.|
For me the first day went quickly getting back into the flow of following a roadbook, going through the time controls and doing the final check before the first competition cars came through. Once my driving duties were complete, I turned into an official taping and tagging gates ready for Quit Targa West's first ever night stage in Malaga before then settling in to become a spectator watching the competition cars with their LED lightbars, glowing brakes and flames from the exhaust.
On Day 3, Saturday, the first ever Quit Targa West Rookie Rallye started, along with my fiance Steph co-driving for Mark Greenham in his awesomely quick Evo 7. They started strong and led the Rookie Rallye by 8.5 minutes at the end of the first day.
The second day started promising, extending their lead to 12.5minutes after the three Malaga stages however the day didn't end as planned with an error on the second last stage putting them out of the rally. Both Steph and Mark were ok. Mark showed huge potential in his first real rally.
Next year, I want to be back behind the wheel!
|2014 Killarnee Targa South West|
|2014 played host to the first wet Killarnee Targa South West tarmac event. In the 5 year history, the event has been pretty lucky with talk every year about the potential for the slick roads that in places are covered in moss, permanently in the shade or have the trees drop sap all over them, but every year the event has escaped them.|
The slick roads did cause issues with two large incidents in the first four stages; one retired, the other managed to patch their Evo up and rejoin a few stages later to only later in the day have an even bigger hit at the most popular spectator point of the whole event, unfortunately ending their weekend.
With fiance Steph co-driving again, had the honour and task of running as Car 0, providing that one last check before the challenge and competition cars take to the stages. It was a trouble free run with my Evo 8 MR revelling in the wet and slick conditions.
Despite the consistent rain, all the officials and spectators didn't have their spirit dampened. Let's hope next year's event returns to a dry one. I love driving in the rain, but its generally not nice for those not driving!
|Radical Drive Experience at Sydney Motorsport Park|
|The Formula Company offer drive experiences at Sydney Motorsport Park. One particular drive experience has had my attention for quite some time, the Radical SR3 drive experience. I noticed that there was a Radical drive day scheduled for 4 days after the Bathurst 12 hour race - how convenient! So with Cameron Pewsey we booked our Radical drive day, some accommodation and flights.|
Our day consisted of four 20 minute sessions in the Radical; a real arrive and drive experience. Sitting next to you is an experienced instructor ideally enabling you to get the best out of the car and you as well as keeping the Radical in one piece.
It was great to be back at Sydney Motorsport Park, my last visit was at the World Time Attack Challenge, but this time, less pressure and more laps!
The light weight Radical on slicks and with aero performance made me reassess and trust the short braking distance and corner speed that was possible.
You drive the same car sharing it with other drivers throughout the day. The first of my four sessions was a real familiarisation experience, no lap timing and we were given the instruction of "build up to it".
The next three sessions went by quite quickly - a testament to how much fun they are. I set my quickest lap on 3 of my 21 timed laps; good enough for second quickest of the day to a local driver and regular club racer at Sydney Motorsport Park on his fifth Radical driving experience.
All in all a great day in a great car. I don't know of any other drive experiences in Australia that are this fast and that much fun!
|TECCWA Red Mist Autokhana|
|It has been quite some time since I'd been back to where I started in competitive motorsport - the "old MC Motorsport" or as it should correctly be known, the big carpark at the back of the Tiger Kart Club Track in Wanneroo. |
TECCWA run a regular series called the Red Mist Series there with autokhana courses similar to courses run by MC Motorsport in years gone by along with a longer course suitably called Top Gear that is run every round.
It's this Top Gear track that got me really interested; with a perpetual leaderboard with everybody who has taken it on getting added to it.
The event flowed well and was well organised. It was great to get back to some slower, more technical courses; something I hadn't done in quite some time.
Time, unfortunately, had not been kind to the bitumen surface of the carpark with it being abrasive and very loose - not good for the paint and not good for tyre wear!
I tackled the runs on the two courses consistently putting in times to secure a round win. It was then onto the Top Gear course, My first run I laid down a 61.02sec run, good enough for 2nd outright on the Top Gear Leaderboard but a far cry from the 59.3sec record lap set by Bob Schrader in his awesome Sylvia Riot. Bob on the same day laid down a 61.30sec run making note that the surface is far more slippery then when he set the record a few months earlier. My second run I went slightly quicker 60.93sec time. As only the quickest run counted for the Top Gear course, I elected to not have a third run as the surface had gotten the better of my tyres. Steel belt was showing, indicating the tyres were due to fail very soon and I was not going to go any quicker that day. Bob's quickest time on the day was a 61.06sec; a great effort despite sliding all over the place!
A great affordable well run event with relaxed competition; if you're thinking about entering, do it; you'll have a blast!
Link to results: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-gJstNPU1HjUjJSVkRTam41djA/edit?usp=sharing
|2013 Quit Targa West - The Official VIP Ride Car!|
|Deciding to focus on circuit racing this year left me with a relatively free weekend in August. With all course car roles filled I proposed to the organisers of running a VIP Ride Car, giving certain individuals who have long backed Quit Targa West a view of what a rally stage is like at reasonable speed. The idea was well received and approvals were then requested to make it happen.|
In all, I took 11 lucky VIP's for rides in Whiteman Park, Bullsbrook, Malaga and the City of Perth stages. I got 11 huge smiles, had lots of laughs and received positive feedback. Nobody got scared and told me to slow down, nobody felt ill and all the while I had a heap of fun explaining how rallying works and giving the guys and girls a chance to experience the stage at speed.
Big thanks go to the organisers Ross Tapper and Bob Schrader for trusting and putting their faith in me to represent Quit Targa West to the VIP's and to Maximum Motorsport for their impromptu brake bleed on the Evo after the Malaga stages.
|2013 WASCC Historic and Regularity Race Meeting|
|After running my first two circuit race meetings in Ivan Tan's Subaru WRX, I stepped into Danny Cerro's tarmac rally Evo IX. After making the necessary changes and getting pre-season audited it was all ready to go. |
Race day started well, using the first few laps to bed new brake pads in before finding some free space amongst the 29 other cars on track and setting the Evo's new PB, a 64.42sec lap awarding me with 5th in Street Cars and P6 in the combined Improved Production/Street Cars grid.
I managed a good clean start in Race 1, consistently matching Denver Parker in his Skyline and eventually finishing 1.59sec behind in 5th place.
The dreaded Race 2 - a reverse grid race with 26 cars on the grid. I started in P21 and shadowed Kim Ledger in his Evo as the race started until Kim left an opening. It wasn't long before Ryan Palazzolo in his Evo 6 had made his way through traffic and made a deep lunge around the outside of turn 7. We rounded up the under 2l IP cars down the main straight and I settled in behind Iain McPherson as the Safety Car came out to clear some stopped cars. On the restart I succesfully made a move into turn 1 for the lead. This was the first time in my short circuit race career that I had lead a race. It wasn't long before Ryan rounded me up again with his awesome straight line speed. I proceeded to tail him to the end of the race waiting for Andrew Stevens, Paul Kluck, Laurie Whittome and Denver Parker to catch up. With the large field the guys had their issues and Andrew Stevens finished 4.3sec beind me. Unfortunately Ryan copped a 60sec penalty putting him back to 16th place and I inherited my first ever circuit race win!
In another first, I started Race 3 on the front row of the grid next to pole sitter Andrew Stevens. I managed to get a good start and built an early lead. Kim Ledger also started strong and chased hard every lap of the 10 lap final race. It wasn't long before Andrew Stevens made a move on me into turn 1 for the lead, later followed by Paul Kluck and Ryan Palazzolo after coming through the field eventually finishing 4th.
I managed to place second for the race meeting behind Andrew Stevens who along the way set a new lap record with a 60.31sec lap, besting Kerry Wade's record that has stood since 2006. A great day, with some great competition.
Big thanks must go to Danny Cerro for letting me use his Evo, my service crew Wayne Chan, Dieter Von Mollendorf, Cameron Pewsey and Marika Flanders. Other thanks go to Ivan Tan, Sean Keating, Phill Wilson, John Fowler, Rohan Green and my fiance Steph Leach for her support.
|Rally car Sunday, Road car Monday!|
|I'm not really sure why, but driving home the Sunday afternoon after Killarnee Targa South West finished, I thought about the whole "race on Sunday, sell on Monday", a phrase made popular by Australian Touring Cars in the 70's. For some reason I was really motivated to turn my Evo from a full tarmac rally car, fresh from Car 0 duties at Killarnee Targa South West, into a street car ready to go to the shops to do the shopping that next day. Over the space of a few hours, it all happened. Watch it all happen in just a few minutes!|
Guest appearance by Steph Leach.
|2013 Killarnee Targa South West|
|Killarnee Targa South West is one of my favourite events of the year. All stages still get timed however there is no winner. The vibe of the competitors is serious, but friendly and relaxed. Its always a great excuse for a weekend away. I was again very priviliged to be given the duties of Car 0. The official role that everyone wants to do! For the first time, my Fiance Steph and I would be sitting next to each other in a rally event. Steph and I had spent many hours over the last few years doing recce together for different events, largely so I could learn and refine my own pace note system and for Steph to develop her own way of writing pace notes in a way she can easily and accurately read, but we never competed in any of those events together. I was confident that this wouldn't break our personal relationship!|
The weekend ran very well with Steph completing all her co-driver duties as well as assisting me with the important 0 car role.
|2012/2013 McRae Motorsport Rallysprint - Rnd 5 - ride with Mark Greenham|
|The 2012/2013 McRae Motorsport Rally Sprint Series confirmed the dominance of Mark Greenham - a very quick driver in a very quick car winning 4 out of the 5 rounds with a second place in the round he didn't win! Very impressive!|
At the end of competition; officials were treated to passenger rides with some competitors. I took the opportunity to sit next to Mark to observe and learn.
|2013 WASCC Day Masters|
|For my second circuit race meeting I was lucky enough to be behind the wheel of Ivan Tan's WRX STi again. Since the last round, a retune by Allstar Garage was done with the rev-limiter raised to combat the relatively short gearing enabling the WRX and I to accelerate all the way down the long back straight at Barbagallo Raceway. In addition, the WRX was now running on borrowed 17" rims (thanks to Warren Phillip-Clarke) and Yokohama Advan A050 tyres (thanks Wheels World). I had hoped the bigger rim along with the faster Yokohama A050 tyre would transform the car making it much faster everywhere.|
This proved to be a good decision; qualifying 6th with a 65.21sec lap - a big PB for the WRX.
Race 1 finished uneventful despite constant pressure from Jon-Paul Van Loenhout in his Mitsubishi Evo IX waiting for me to make a mistake lap after lap. Thanfully I didn't and I finished where I started, 6th place.
Race 2, I started the reverse grid race from P5, after chasing Jon-Paul lap after lap I was learning where I was quicker and where I could capitalise and make a move to pass. I had worked out that I had an advantage accelerating out of Turn 6, known as Kolb Corner or "The Basin" and an advantage under brakes into Turn 7. Unfortunately the heat of the day, combined with the pace of the car lead it to run hot. The Motec ECU did its job and when starting to detect things weren't 100%, started lowering the rev limiter. Consequently, my top speed was lower down the back straight coming in to Turn 7. I managed to hold my starting position until the end, finishing 5th, less than a second behind Jon-Paul.
Race 3, 10 laps and the last race of the race meeting. I started the last race from P4 - second row on the outside. One row back on my inside was Jon-Paul. Our rivalry had grown throughout the day and the winner between us in this race would see us finish the higher position for the round. I started well staying in front of Jon-Paul and was consistently building a 0.5sec/lap lead. Defending Street Cars Champion Andrew Stevens in his blisteringly quick bright yellow Nissan 180SX had been having issues throughout the day and would run at the front of the field at the start of the race before eventually limping around to salvage some points for the championship; his pace at the front, combined with a sick motor meant that if you were directly behind him your windscreen was covered in oil. With the sun very low and in your eyes coming out of Turn 6 along with the oil on the windscreen, I lost sight of the edge of the track and ran two tyres onto the dirt on lap 6. Unbeknown to me, this caused a slow puncture that had me feeling for the next two laps that I had overheated the front brakes as the car was starting to oversteer when turning into corners. Coming in to Turn 7 on Lap 8, the car oversteered and ran wide, causing me to spin into the sand trap. For the first time in 13 years of driving at Barbagallo Raceway, this was the first time I was in a sand trap! I managed to get out of the sand trap without much issue whilst watching Jon-Paul go by. Entering Turn 1 on Lap 9, I again had very aggressive oversteer, it was at this point I knew I had a flat rear tyre. I limped home to finish the race in 4th rewarding me with a 3rd place for the meeting - my first circuit racing trophy.
Big thanks again go to Ivan Tan for letting me use his WRX, Wayne Chan, Dieter Von Mollendorf, Sean Keating, Cam Pewsey, Roy Menz and Steph Leach for being my pit crew.
|2013 WASCC Night Masters - My first circuit race meeting|
|I knew that it was going to happen one day. I knew that one day I'd line up on the grid for a circuit race. It was enevitable. I planned at the start of the year to get my National Circuit License and that required completing five circuit race meetings.|
My very good friend Ivan Tan lent me his Subaru WRX STi as he wasn't planning on racing until the third round. Ivan has previously campaigned the car in the Street Car Racing Association of WA class at the WASCC Race Meetings.
Round 1 was run as a Day/night meeting on the short track at Barbagallo Raceway. We suspected that the old Toyo R888 tyres that Ivan still had left over from the car's last circuit race outing will be a limiting factor on the performance of the WRX.
Qualifying went without issue; qualifying 11th out of the 21 car field with a 57.8sec lap time.
Race 1 went well, using the WRX's AWD capabilities and managing to pass a few competitors at the start of the race eventually finishing the race in 8th on the combined Improved Production/Street Car grid.
Race 2, the traditional reverse grid race. I started the race in P4 and went three wide with Peter Major and Maggie Waters into turn 1. I managed to match my first race result and finished 8th on the combined Improved Production/Street Car grid.
Race 3, the final race of the night. I managed to use the WRX's AWD capabilities and finished without incident again in 8th on the combined Improved Production/Street Car grid.
I ended up placing 5th for the round in the Street Car class.
Big thanks go to Ivan Tan for letting me use his car, Wayne Chan, Cam Pewsey, Rebecca Comben, Roy Menz and Steph Leach for being my pit crew.
|2012/2013 McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series - Round 3 with my Mum|
|I've been racing cars for about 13 years now. My Mum will happily get in a car with me when just driving around travelling to a destination; she even sits quite happily and quietly when doing a hills run, or climbing or decending a mountain pass in the Austrian Alps or even when briskly travelling along a windy road lined with a cliff wall on one side and a river on the other. However, she has never gotten in a car with me when we've put helmets on. She has always strongly avoided the situation. |
You can imagine my surprise when she agreed to come for a ride with me on the McRae Motorsport Rally Sprint course. Maybe it was the fact that I was running as a course car and not in full competition mode that swayed her. Maybe it was the fact that I said I wouldn't be going that fast. What she probably didn't realise is that my version of not fast is very different to her version of not fast!
During the run, I asked my Mum if she was alright, she replied and said yes, awesome! She didn't make any noises or screams or gestured me to slow down. I thought, "wow, my Mum is much more of a thrill seeker than I thought!". It wasn't til I got home and reviewed the camera footage looking at her face and knuckles that I realised why she didn't say anything! Sorry Mum, I love you! :)
|Dieters Private Track Day at Barbagallo Raceway, Wanneroo|
|Dieter Von Mollendorf over many years has organised and run many motorsport events all across Australia; however since taking up full time employment he hasn't had the opportunity to be involved as much as he used to be. That being said, Dieter happens to work with some very motorsport orrientated people at the WA branch of Position Partners. Dieter organised a track day at Barbagallo Raceway, Wanneroo on Christmas Eve for the guys to let off some steam just before the extended double demerits period on Western Australian roads started.|
Dieter happened to also invite some close friends to make up some numbers and to not waste track time. I saw the opportunity to have some relaxed fun after the seriousness of competition throughout the year. So I strapped on some older semi-slick tyres to my Evo and had some fun!
Big thanks to Dieter and all his workmates for being so welcoming.
|2012/2013 McRae Motorsport Rally Sprint Series - Round 2|
|13th of December marked the 2nd round of the McRae Motorsport Rally Sprint Series. I took to the role of a course/VIP ride car ensuring the stage was secure and intact as well as giving officials and sponsors a ride around the course. A personal highlight is the hairpin at the far end of the drag strip.|
|The Allstar Garage/Hippo Creek Zebra Evo at the No Limits Charity Night|
|No Limits Car Club hold an annual charity track day where all profits of the night go to a recognised charity. This year No Limits Car Club were supporting Variety, the Childrens Charity.|
I hadn't stepped behind the wheel of the Zebra since the World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney in August. Now sporting MCA Coilovers, the handling was going to be different. Owner Gareth Simpson is getting far more comfortable and is now setting consistent fast times.
My turn behind the wheel was brief as the spark plugs were worn and were not delivering a clean spark causing a miss. I came back in early after completing a familiarisation lap still turning a 61.9sec lap without trying. More testing and tuning of the suspension will yield big results...
|WRX Owners Driver Training Day at the Collie Motorplex|
|The WRX Club of WA held their Collie Test and Tuning Day on the 3rd of November at the Collie Motorplex. The day stayed wet for most of the day giving members the benefit of being able to exploit their vehicles handling in a lower grip environment. Often daunting, it generally leads to big grins by the end of the day.|
I was lucky enough to be thrown the keys to Richard Coopers potent Lotus Elise. A wet track for my first drive of this car was quite an experience! Thanks Richard.
|Driving an Unrestricted 125 Go Kart at Wundowie|
|I've been toying with the idea of taking up go karting for quite some time. The thrill, the speed, the racing and the thought of keeping my skills up along with the reduced cost of running a kart instead of a car are all very appealing.|
Phill Wilson has been running his CRG previously in the Sportsman 125 restricted class but has recently removed the restrictor allowing the 125cc Rotax to breath a bit easier giving it more power at higher rpm.
I'm a bit shorter than Phill and struggled to fit comfortably in his seating position having to stretch a little bit further to fully push the accelerator and brake.
After Phill warmed it up and gave it a shakedown I stepped in for a couple of laps. Once done, Phil jumped in to show me how far off the pace I was but unfortunately a failed clutch lead to an early finish.
Thanks must go to Phill and the Hurricane Kart Club for letting me have a taste of a "proper" kart!
|2012 Quit Targa West|
|There I was, along with co-driver Ivan Tan, we were strapped in into the showroom spec Wheels World Evo 10 sitting on the start line of Prologue at Whiteman Park, just a few days after I had been lapping Sydney Motorsport Park at the World Time Attack Challenge. Life's pretty good right now!|
This was my second attempt at Quit Targa West. Ivan and I both felt we had unfinished business after the dreaded hose clamp that ended our first attempt in 2009 on just stage 3.
This time we had entered Rohan Green's Evo 10 into the Showroom 4wd category. Essentially a standard Evo 10 with roll cage, seats, exhaust, an engine tune and the secret weapon, the Proflex Suspension. We were aiming for a Showroom 4wd win and given the lack of modifications if we finished 10th-15th outright in competition modern we'd be happy.
After the first two runs of Prologue we were surprised with our pace, a 5th and a 3rd outright. Following Prologue were the first two stages of the rally, finishing 7th at the end of "Day 0". Closest showroom 4wd competitors are 14th outright, 8 seconds behind. Absolutely stoked!!
Day 2 started with an easy run around the RAC Driving Centre followed by 2 runs each of the narrow and bumpy John Forrest stage, the narrow and take no prisoners Zig Zags and the longest stage of the rally "Kalamunda" on the popular Mundairing Weir Rd. It was the last stage of the day that caused headaches and affected crews. Paul Summers in his famous Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR had collided with a tree which caused delays for following crews. When rallying resumed we came across Carson Van Loenhout who had just collided with the same tree as Summers. As we had stopped to render assistance we were awarded a derived time leaving us in 6th place outright and leading Showroom 4wd by 33 seconds at the end of the day.
Day 3 and the stages we were dreading. All the stages were held around the localities of Toodyay and Bullsbrook - notoriously hilly and favouring horsepower, something we didn't really have given our limited modifications. Much to our happiness, we placed 6th outright on the first two stages of the day and not losing any time to 4wd showroom 2nd place holders Dave Heaton/David Bobowski. We stayed consistent throughout the morning setting times inside the outright top 10 and not losing any time to the two Dave's who unfortunately ended the fight between us early by rolling heavily, destroying their Evo 10 over the finish line of the new Coondle Highlands stage. The afternoon stages moved to Bullsbrook with two runs each of Bullsbrook Short and Bullsbrook Long. Fast stages over the undulating township with sun in your eyes to deal with. 6th, 6th, 7th and 5th in Bullsbrook left us with a 3min 37sec lead in Showroom 4wd and gaining 3rd outright after speed penalties were applied to JP Van Loenhout and Ben Searcy. A quick service in Bullsbrook thanks to Tokyo Motorsports left the Wheels World Evo feeling fresh for the final day of competition.
Day 4, the much anticipated 12kms and 75+ corners of the Malaga Special Stage followed by the popular City stage at Langley Park. Our plan for the final day was to just bring it home, Showroom 4wd was our target and an outright result would be a bonus. Never did we think we'd be sitting in 3rd outright in a showroom spec car. Time to change plan and hold off the fast charging Ben Searcy (Mitsubishi Evo 9)and Mark Conacher (Nissan R35 GTR). Sure, no pressure, with the Lister's too far ahead in 2nd place, it is a complete 'nothing to gain, everything to lose' situation.
We placed 5th outright on the first run at Malaga however Ben Searcy has taken 15 seconds from our 30sec lead from the night before. 2nd run of Malaga we placed an amazing 4th outright however losing another 11 seconds to Ben Searcy who was now only 4 seconds behind.
Rallying can be cruel however, Ben Searcy had engine issues on the final run of the Malaga stage ending his rally. We placed 3rd outright on the same stage and now 26sec ahead of fast finishing Mark Conacher in 4th place.
The City of Perth stage is a real power stage and would favour Conacher's Nissan R35 GTR. Mark took 5, 7 and 8 seconds out of us on each stage respectively finishing just 9 seconds behind at the end of the rally.
We had completely exceeded our own expectations, finishing 3rd outright, just 1min 34sec behind my childhood hero Jim Richards and 34sec behind Jamie and Mandy Lister in their insanely fast Evo 6. We had won Showroom 4wd by 4min 20sec and we had posted a top 10 outright time on every stage.
Huge thanks must go firstly to Ivan Tan, my co-driver that has always believed in me, has complete trust in me and delivered my notes exactly how I needed them.
Thanks to Rohan Green and Wheels World for their trust and support.
Thanks must go to Jamie and Phil and all the other guys from
Tokyo Motorsports who prepared the Evo and provided support during the rally.
Thanks to Nigel who organised the service crew truck, terms shirts and stickers for the car.
Bart at Southwest Brakes for his support and DVL, Hogs Breath Cafe Mindarie, West Club and Go Gear for their continued support.
|2012 World Time Attack Challenge - Sydney Motorsport Park|
|Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly known as Eastern Creek) played host to the 3rd running of the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge. |
2011's plans fell short with the AMS built 4G64 motor lifting its head and catastrophically destroying the motor. With a limited test plan for 2012 and a lack of experience at Sydney Motorsport Park we set realistic and achievable goals.
The Zebra travelled via sea container in early August, arriving a few days before us. It was quickly unloaded and we set up in our pit garage. We shared our garage with the guys from RTR in Victoria who, with Darren Morrice driving, finished a credible third in the Club Sprint class in their well prepared Evo X.
The first time we hit the track was for the second day of the two day practice session organised by the WTAC guys. It's quite daunting trying to learn a fast track when sharing the track with a lot of fast cars piloted by fast drivers.
My first complete lap stopped the Performance Box with a 1min42.0sec lap time with 255kph registering on the speedo and braking at about the 150m mark into turn one. I completed a few more laps dropping into the mid 1.39's before handing over to Gareth Simpson.
Day 1 of the real WTAC. Weather reports were indicating a fine but cool morning with the possibility of showers in the afternoon. We decided to do our first run on the new medium compound Yokohama Advan A050's to try and put a time on the board in case the weather turned before expected. 1min39.1sec lap first lap out. At this point the team decided that I would drive on the Friday, Gareth would drive on the Saturday.
By late morning the weather in the distance was starting to look really threatening, we decided to strap the Yokohama Advan A050 soft compound tyres on thinking this was potentially our best chance to set a time. 1min37.8sec and 271kph down the main straight the result. I had now beaten one of my personal goals - do a sub 1min38sec lap.
A third run in the afternoon proved tricky trying to find some clear track. A 1min39.5sec lap closed out the day.
Day 2 started slow with the team mechanics having somewhat of a heavy night. I had been studying other people's laps and watching their lines. We had decided that if the weather was fine, I would have one more go at trying to go quicker. It was cold and windy but fine. I drove the first session in group one, the quickest of the open class competitors and managed a 1min37.3sec lap putting us inside the top 20 - the second of our personal goals.
Gareth then took over the driving duties and improved steadily and quickly besting a 1min46.2sec lap.
After 3 days of hard laps at a fast circuit, we drove the Zebra back into the sea container, loaded all the spares and shut the doors. We had all learnt what a serious and competitive event WTAC has become and why so many people spend so much money and time on development just to get that single quickest lap. We learnt what we needed to change to become more competitive next year.
I'd like to sincerely thank Gareth for giving me the opportunity to drive at the WTAC and all the guys from Allstar Garage that gave 100% the whole weekend to give us the best chance we had.
|2012 AFARCC Annual Track Day|
|The annual All Fours and Rotaries Car Club Barbagallo Raceway track day is a popular one on the WA club level motorsport calendar with seasoned competitors enjoying a relaxed day with their mates through to founding club members making their one outing a year away from their usual family commitments. |
As I have in the last few years, I took to the passenger seat and instructed for a few of the participants.
I took the opportunity to cut a few laps in Ivan Tan's ex rally, now circuit race WRX. Similar horsepower, a dog box and less weight, it makes for a refreshing change to the usual Evo I normally drive.
I also had the duty of testing the speed limiter in Cameron Pewsey's Tarmac rally Holden Commodore. Quit Targa West have imposed a 200kph max speed limit for the rally with heavy penalties for breaking the limit. It was crucial for Cameron to get as close to the limit as possible without breaking it.
My long time supporter and now supporter of the club, Miles Wood from Hogs Breath Cafe Mindarie provided lunch for all participants and officials. As always, much appreciated Miles.
|Allstar Garage/Hippo Creek Evo 9 - Zebra Test 3|
|Our third and final test of the Allstar Garage/Hippo Creek Evo was at a WASCC tuning day at Barbagallo Raceway. All the boys from Allstar Garage attended to offer their assistance and see their hard work actually lap the track. |
Since the last test we had changed back to softer springs in an effort of trying to gain some mid corner grip.
Testing didn't quite start as planned however, with concerns that the new cooling system was not holding the required pressure. It turns out hose clamps can't hold too much pressure, dumping all the coolant down the main straight and into turn one - not destroying an engine as rumoured.
This then lead to a second problem; finding out that the CDI installed was not waterproof. While rinsing coolant away it got wet and fried itself. A Motec CDI was quickly sourced and the guys, using two iPhones, checked wiring diagrams to reconfigure the plugs to get the Evo back on track. Their persistence is admired and speaks a lot of the guys that make up Allstar Garage.
All in all, a trying day with limited testing.
|McRae Motorsport Rallysprint - July 2012|
|The July McRae Motorsport Rallysprint was again held at the Perth Motorplex, although this time encompassing a total of 6 stages, 3 in one direction and 3 in reverse, as opposed to the usual 4 stages in the same direction.|
I had already resigned myself to not competing however was offered the sweep car role. Can't say no to that!
I took the opportunity to take long time friend Luke Nysen for a few runs in the morning. Luke and I used to mess around with older cars in the gravel in the Perth hills when we probably should have been studying. Was good to catch up with Luke.
Another Luke, Luke Porcaro took to the co-drivers seat for the reverse direction afternoon stages. Luke took the time to come and take photos at the Quit Targa West track day at the beginning of July so I was glad to repay the favour.
It was good giving the guys an insight into why I spend all my savings on Motorsport.
|The Quit Targa West Track Day & the Wheels World Evo X|
|The 6th of June marked the first day I could drive the Wheels World Evo X like it should be driven - HARD. The Quit Targa West track day at the Perth Motorplex played host with a combination of dry, damp, wet and torrential conditions making our test session as effective and varied as possible. In addition to gaining valuable experience, I also took the opportunity to take a limited number of people for rides around the 3.4km rally stage. The rides proved very popular with lots of nervous giggles to start with, followed by massive smiles and a few "Dad, can I go again?" comments. I hope to give other people the opportunity to experience a ride in a fully prepared tarmac rally car later in the year. If this sounds enticing, drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll let you know when rides are available.|
Big thanks must go to Bart and Southwest Brakes for making the day happen for us.
|Hippo Creek/AllStar Garage Evo IX Test Session 2|
|Our second test session was held on the 30th of June at Barbagallo Raceway. The HSV Owners Club of WA were very accommodating in allowing us to partake in their track day. Since our last session we have managed to dial out initial understeer on entering corners. We're still lacking mid corner and exit grip but have made some changes that should yield lowered lap times. Despite not making huge advances in suspension setup, we have managed to lap quicker than our first session instilling confidence. I feel we are heading in the right direction, I hope we can get there in time before the car needs to leave for New South Wales.|
|Hippo Creek/AllStar Garage Evo Test Session 1|
|A late decision to enter the World Time Attack Challenge in August meant preparation started really late with our first test on the 22nd of June at Barbagallo Raceway. With new Yokohama Advan A050's and an alignment thanks to Wheels World we focussed on getting the suspension setup working as effectively as possible. We only managed to do a few laps before discovering some small issues cutting our test session short; but despite this, we started to see some potential with the car.|
|Quit Targa West 2012 Announcement - The Wheels World Evo X|
|It is with great pride I can announce that I will be driving the Wheels World Evo X in Quit Targa West this August. Ivan Tan will again be sitting alongside me as my co-driver.|
A big thanks to Rohan Green and the team at Wheels World for the opportunity to drive a quick, well prepared, eye catching car for our second attempt at the rally.
As part of this announcement, thanks to Southwest Brakes I'm offering limited spots in the passenger seat on Friday the 6th of July at the Perth Motorplex running on the previous Quit Targa West Prologue and current McRae Motorsport Twilight Rallysprint stage.
For more information: http://private.franzonline.net/qtw12/Rally-Car-Ride.pdf
|Killarnee Targa South West|
|A great weekend was spent in the Pemberton/Manjimup region on the weekend of 25-28 May. A full field of 55 cars were blessed with cool, but dry weather conditions. The event ran relatively hassle free with competitors only suffering minor mechanical issues and small off road excursions. The crowds came out of their homes and flooded their yards at the street stages in Manjimup and Pemberton. |
A charity hillclimb was held for the first time the Friday before the rally giving residents, media and VIP's a chance to ride along a shortened version of the Pump Hill stage. This proved hugely successful and popular raising nearly $5000 donated to the local retirement village.
I personally had a great weekend with Lachlan Beresford in my co-drivers seat, my Evo performed faultlessly and we ran through the stages without any problems. I thank Targa South West for the opportunity to perform this highly sought after role.
|May 2012 Update|
|Its been a while since I've added an update. I haven't done any official competition since the No Limits Car Club Hillclimb however I have been preparing the Evo for Killarnee Targa South West. I have again been asked to be the Zero car, the last course car running through all the stages ensuring that it is safe and to alert all officials and spectators that the next car through is a competition car. Keep a look out for my Evo running around at the front of the field in the Pemberton/Manjimup area between the 25th and 28th of May.|
Ivan and I have also committed to giving Quit Targa West another shot this year. After the disappointment of 2009 we are both committed to giving it our best shot. At this stage, the car is TBA, we have a few options but are yet to come to a firm decision.
We are also on the lookout for sponsors to support us during Quit Targa West. In addition to signage and advertising, I am offering passenger rides in the rally car to supporting companies. Send me an email at email@example.com for more information.
If there are still some spaces for giving passenger rides, I will also sell rides off individually giving the opportunity for you, your friends and/or family a ride in a real, fully prepared tarmac rally car. Date and location are still TBC but I aim to give the closest possible experience to a real tarmac rally stage as I can!
|No Limits Car Club - Jacks Hill Hillclimb 3|
|Just three days after the rallysprint, No Limits Car Club held their third and final hillclimb at Jacks Hill, Barbagallo Raceway. I hadn't done Jack's Hill in a few years so entered as a late entry. |
The racing circuit upgrades over the past few months have meant that the track was unavailable for the No Limits' Thursday night track nights the club is known for. These hillclimb events are an awesome alternate event.
A warm morning greeted the 35 competitors for the half day event. The same hillcimb layout as used in the first two rounds was again setup for the third and final round.
I set a 65.9sec time on my first run up the hill, 4.6seconds quicker than Justin Spencer who was second quickest. By the final runs, I dropped to a best of 65.6sec time with Jason Kent (Evo 5) improving to a best of 66.8sec for second place. Third place was taken by Neil Herbert in his Subaru WRX setting a 68.1sec time.
|2011-2012 McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series - Round 5|
|The fifth and final round was held on the 15th of March. I had now changed my focus to series results rather than the round result. The more heavily modified, faster Evo's of Mark Greenham and Jamie Lister were now settings quicker stage times than I can comfortably. I had done the homework and using a basic points structure I needed to finish higher than 4th and not have Jamie finish more than 1 position ahead to equal win the series with Jamie.|
I had planned as per usual to set consistent times and managed to comfortably finish 3rd. Coming up to the fourth and final run, Jamie Lister was leading Mark by 0.4sec. In the final run, Mark set a record 2min14.8sec stage time, 4/10ths quicker than Jamie (also setting a PB stage time) and winning the round by 0.1sec meaning Jamie finished one position in front of me.
It was an exciting end to the series with Jamie Lister and I tying the series with Mark Greenham placing a very close second.
Round results can be found HERE and series results can be found HERE.
|2011-2012 McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series - Round 4|
|2012 has been travelling quite quickly and before I knew it, the February round of the McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series was upon us. I made a personal note of not changing anything on the Evo as I felt my head wasn't in the right space last round. |
I managed to set 4 consistent stage times only varying by 0.4sec. I felt my driving was better and despite all single stage times and total time being slower than I have done in previous rounds I am happy with how the night went. I felt the driving was smoother and with far less risk than the last round.
I beat Jamie Lister to second place outright by 0.1sec and therefore also took the class win. Congratulations to Mark Greenham for taking the outright win.
My consistent top finishes should still see me leading the series with one round to go (15 March).
|2011-2012 McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series - Round 3|
|The 19th of January played host to Round 3 of the McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series. I have been noting that in the first two rounds regular front runners Jamie Lister and Mark Greenham have been improving immensely and with a bit more consistency would be right on the pace. Add the return of Steve Jones and his stupidly fast Evo 9 MR and we have an extremely competitive night.|
Trying to sort my confidence issue with my brakes, I went back to a familiar and proven brake pad - that Pagid RS19. Being fairly aggressive with my brakes I needed a brake pad with less initial bite than the Project Mu's HC+ that I ran last round.
Trying to recalibrate, I found I was braking far earlier than I needed to, this then affected my mid-corner speed and quite often my exit speed. As with all motorsport that involve corners, getting in, through and out of corners as effectively as possible is crucial to setting a quick time - even more so when other competitors have more straight line speed.
Excuses aside, I placed 4th outright, 2nd in class. Still a very respectible result and one I cannot be disappointed in. This result comes as my first loss since September 2010, ending a 10 event winning streak. Congratulations goes to Steve Jones (1st place), Jamie Lister (as always, the bridesmaid) and Mark Greenham (3rd).
|2011 - a year in review...|
|So I've been procastinating in writing this although I am not sure why! I haven't competed in as many competitive events this year as I had in previous years however I have ticked off my #1 item on my bucket list - to drive the Nurburgring! I'd also made it to the Goodwood Festival of Speed; one of, if not the best all round motorsport event in the world. I drove a Ferrari 458 Italia and a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4SV on a race track in the UK. I got to meet my favourite motoring journalist, the Harris Monkey himself Chris Harris. As an added bonus I went for a passenger lap with him at the Nurburgring in his Mercedes Benz SLS AMG. I also went for a passenger lap with current Nordschleife lap record holder Michael Vergers in a Radical SR3. My dad, Joe, also went for a ride with Michael and seeing the huge smile on his face after the lap was priceless. I was also fortunate enough to drive the 0 car at Killarnee Targa South West and one of the 000 cars at Quit Targa West.|
On top of this, I won every round of the 2010/2011 Speedaware Twilight Rallysprint Series and in turn won the series. I won the inauguaral Japanese Car Day Superkhana held at the Midvale Speed Dome. I also won the Street Class at the third round of Track Battle, the Australian Time Attack Series setting a 65.1sec lap at Barbagallo Raceway on Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 street tyres. In total, I entered 8 events and I won 8 events. I cannot ask for a better result!!
I also had the pleasure of watching and assiting my girlfriend Steph compete in the WRX Club of WA Club Championship. Watching her confidence, skills and results improve throughout the year was very satisfying to watch.
I would like to name a few people who, without their help and support, much of the above would have not been possible:
Steph Leach, Ivan Tan, Cameron Pewsey, Wayne Chan, Dieter Von Mollendorf, Danny Cerro, Denver Parker, Josh Horton, Richard Emery, Ross Tapper, Brent Matthews, John Fowler, Dean Smith and the late great Bob Murray at Wheels World, Sean Keating, Nic Box and Caleb Ash at Allstar Garage, Brenden Walker at Southwest Brakes, Jamie Davies and Phil Wilson at Tokyo Motorsports, Fats and Jan Liddle and Jon Mortimer at JWS, Rob and Dean Herridge and the late Steve Wisby at Maximum Motorsport, Gareth Simpson from Hippo Creek, Alister McRae and Mark Braeckmans at McRae Motorsport, Guy Rogers at Demon Tweeks, Nicky Grist and Leighton Morris at Nicky Grist Motorsport, Dick Ward and Roy Menz at Go Gear, Phil Luyer at Highoctanephotos.com, Miles Wood at Hogs Breath Cafe Minarie, Baz and Megan Liddle and last but not least, my parents. I am sure there are people I've missed, I am very sorry if I've missed anyone!!
|McRae Motorsport Twilight Rally Sprint Series - Rnd 2|
|Wild weather forced a postponement of the second round of the 2011/2012 McRae Motorsport Twilight Rallysprint. It eventually ran on the 15th of December under warm, still conditions. Thanks to the sun setting later, the first run was held in good daylight. The second run is normally run in twilight assisted by the Perth Motorplex's lights. However, a major power failure in the southern suburbs meant there was no power to the venue. No power meant there were no lights anywhere and it also made the time keepers job that much harder. It also made the task of negotiating the course that much harder - you don't realise how much ambient light makes a big difference and how often you are outdriving what your headlights shine on! Thankfully all timing beams are run by battery so it’s just the entering of the data and working out total times quickly and easily that became a problem. Unfortunately this meant we had no idea how we or our competition were going.|
This round was also my first event using Project Mu pads and rotors front and rear. I also had the master cylinder rebuilt after finding my rear brake pads had unusually barely worn. This led to an interesting evening at the rallysprint as I was trying to come to grips (so to speak!) with the new pads and rotors and the amount of pedal pressure required to keep the Evo from having to use ABS. My confidence in the brakes was growing with every run.
A couple days after the event, the results were released and to my excitement I won. Jamie Lister placed second and Mark Greenham in third.
Big thanks must go to Brenden Walker at Southwest Brakes for the supply of the Project Mu gear and Brent Matthews at Perth Brake Parts for the rebuild of the brake calipers and the master cylinder in such a short time frame. Thanks to Phil Luyer at Highoctanephotos.com for the use of the ReplayXD 1080P camera - as seen below, the low light quality is awesome! Thanks must also go to my parents who again made it down to spectate and to take care of catering!
Results can be seen by: CLICKING HERE.
Onboard Video of Run 4:
|Track Battle Australian Time Attack Series - Rnd 3 - Barbagallo Raceway|
|Earlier in the year there were murmurs from the MotiveDVD crew about a three round national time attack series along with a national drift competition (The Australian Drift Grand Prix) with WA being the final round. Before long a website was created and classes were announced being heavily based around the World Time Attack Challenge held once a year at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney. Having a mildly modified Evo, the Street Class looked to be a perfect fit, the requirement of running a street tyre being the biggest requirement. Entry form submitted it was all go for the 18th and 19th of November.|
The week leading up to the Track Battle was one of diagnosing the misfire that I had experienced at the 1st round of the McRae Motorsport Twilight Rallysprint Series. Without being able to be 100% confident that the problem was fixed I went armed with new spark plugs fitted. A spare set of spark plugs with smaller gap, a new set of leads and a pair of coilpacks temporarily donated from Danny Cerro's Evo 9 all made the trip to Barbagallo Raceway as spares. Thankfully none of the spares were needed to be called upon, confirming the misfire was due to an old spark plug.
The Time Attack competitors were first on the track; cooler air and track temperatures and a track not lined with marbles from the drifters doing their thing, I figured that this may be one of the best opportunities to set a quick time.
After a couple of sighting laps and making sure everything was all warmed up I set out on my first quick lap of the weekend, surprisingly setting a time of 1min05.1489sec. I knew the Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tyres were good but never did I believe a time that quick could be set.
After 2 days, 8 sessions and another 30 laps that very first quick lap in the first session proved to be my quickest and netted me 7th outright, 1st in street class and fastest AWD in the street class.
Huge thanks must go to Go Gear, Allstar Garage, Wheels World and Tokyo Motorsports for their support over the weekend.
Expecting a bit too much from street tyres:
Quickest lap of the event:
|McRae Motorsport Twilight Rally Sprint Series - Rnd 1|
|After the success of last summer's Speedaware Twilight Rallysprint Series at the Perth Motorplex, I knew it would be hard to stay away!|
Series runner-up Jamie Lister is now piloting the proven race winning ex Blaise Paris Evo 6 TME. Since Jamie purchased the Evo earlier in the year we had not yet lined up head to head. To try and give myself the best chance at beating Jamie, the move to ethanol and a new set of Yokohama Advan A050 tyres were sorted. Not to be discounted, Mark Greenham in his 2.3l Evo 7 racecar now too running the proven Yokohama Advan A050's. This was going to be tough!!
Recce went well de-greening the tyres along the way. The first timed run didn't quite go to plan, shortly after leaving the start line, my Evo developed quite a big misfire. Coughing, spluttering and backfiring, I tentatively pushed on all the while taking in all the information I could hoping I hadn't done any terminal damage. Surprisingly I still managed to set the quickest time on the first run, 2.9sec quicker than Jamie Lister, 2.3seconds quicker than Mark Greenham and 7.2sec quicker than Rob Hoare's first run. Checking leads, looking at plugs and making sure coilpacks were tight, phone advice from Sean at Allstar Garage suggested that the spark may be being blown out and that turning the boost down should reduce if not make the misfire disappear. Rest assured it wouldn't hurt the motor, the boost was turned down and the second and third runs were completed still with a misfire present however far less imposing and managing to set identical 2min19.00sec times. Jamie Lister had now dropped to 2min22.1sec stage times while Mark Greenham dropped down to a 2min21.6sec run.
At the end of the night, I managed to continue my success winning from Jamie Lister by 8.3sec with Rob Hoare a further 4.5sec behind.
A great start to the new series!
|Japanese Car Day at the Midvale Speed Dome|
|The 16th of October played host to the first Japanese Car Day held at the Midvale Speed Dome. AEM, famous for running the Superkhana events at the Midvale Speed Dome and the annual Classic Challenge took the challenge of organising a car show and a Superkhana event together at the same venue.|
AFARCC was in attendance and faired well in the Superkhana. I entered my Evo 8 MR (1st PM session and quickest of the day), Russ Knight's Evo 4 (4th AM session), Scott Lambies Evo 6 (7th AM session), George Eames's R33 GTR (10th PM session), Wayne Chan's Toyota Sprinter (putting on a great show sliding everywhere) and Chris Hotsinki's Mivec powered Lancer (along for support in the AFARCC display).
Superkhana results can be found at http://www.classicrally.com.au/JCD_superkhana.htm
Below is incar video from my quickest run of the day:
|Test and Tune at Barbagallo Raceway in a Subaru WRX|
|A few months ago, my good friend Ivan Tan mentioned to me that the WASCC was planning on reviving an enduro race that was last run many years ago, the Wanneroo 300. Details were pretty vague at the time but it soon came to light that there would be two 40 lap races followed by a 45 lap race with a compulsory driver change. It was soon set as Ivan had let me know he'd paid the deposit for nominating to run in the race to be held on 12th November.|
With the 12th of November a few weeks away, I figure I should get some seat time given I've never driven Ivan's WRX before. Our first test session ended after a few laps with some minor technical issues getting in the way. Below is a couple of laps from the second test session. There are still a few outstanding issues that we should have since solved, ready to line up on the grid for 300kms of door handle racing at WA's premier race circuit.
|Wanneroo Kart Hire Super Sprint Karts|
|Recently, I've been enjoying driving the Super Sprint Karts at Wanneroo Kart Hire. It's cheap, good fun and keeps my mind sharp. Not to mention its the easiest way for you and your mates to get out there, do some racing, do some rubbing and having a blast.|
In late September, I went karting with my girlfriend Steph and a few mates. I recommend getting out to Wanneroo Kart Hire and having some fun in what I think are WA's best hire karts. Enjoy the close racing!
|2011 Quit Targa West|
|The last weekend in August hosted the 7th running of the Quit Targa West tarmac rally. The stages this year were the same as last year with the addition of running the popular Bullsbrook stages twice rather than the previous once. Steve Jones won his third Modern Competition title while Tolley Challis won his second in Classic Competition.|
I again had the opportunity to drive a course car, this time one of the two 000 cars. The 000 cars run before the Event Checker (in car 00) and ensure that everything is setup and secure, ensuring gates have been tagged, intersecting roads have been blocked, all course items have been set in the correct place, all officials are in place and all spectators are in a safe spot. This year Northside Nissan came on board to support Quit Targa West by supplying all of the course cars. The Nissan Dualis I was allocated for the weekend was comfy, smooth and quiet making easy work of urban duties.
My co-drivers Phil Shepley and Cameron Pewsey did a sterling job being another pair of eyes on stage and made for great company all weekend. Cheers guys.
|2011 AFARCC Driver Training Day at Barbagallo Raceway|
|The 6th of August played host to AFARCC's annual Barbagallo Driver Training Day at Barbagallo Raceway. It was great to see a fully subscribed day of 40 participants ranging from founding members to first time track drivers. There were very few offs and the driving standard was of a general high standard.|
I took the opportunity to drive my Evo, the first time I'd driven my Evo since the end of May at the WRX Owners Club Driver Training Day and as shown below had a good time.
I also got the chance to take Teddy Sardjono's Evo 9 for a few laps on the long track. Earlier this year I drove Teddy's Evo to a 55.8sec short track time on Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 street tyres. Showing their versatility, I used the same tyres to record a 65.9sec long track time. I can't sing praises for the AD08's enough!
|Drive the Nurburgring. ...done!|
|The whole reason for my trip to Europe was to drive the Nurburgring, a trip and a dream that has been in the planning for over 10 years. At over 21km long it is considered one of the most, if not the most demanding stretch of road in the world. With over 300m of elevation change, the countless blind crests and corners, the bumps and the close proximity of the armco barriers it certainly lives up to its reputation.|
Arriving at the Nurburgring a few days before actually driving the track allowed the reality to set in; I was actually at the Nurburgring! Going to the Touristenfahrten carpark that I had seen many times before on the famous webcam, going to the Tankstelle alongside the Döttinger Höhe straight famous for souvenirs and being the closest fuel station to the Nurburgring, watching cars come down Pflantzgarten, and the Pistenklause where we enjoyed the renowned steak on a rock, I was a kid in a candy store!
As well as doing our own sightseeing, we joined in on one of RSR's Nurburgring Road Tours. The tours consist of driving Lotus Exige S cars in convoy to see the Sudschleife, along the best roads in the area (as if you weren't spoilt enough with having the Nordschleife there), and to all the good spectator points giving general info, history and some track driving tips as to the best lines to take and what to look out for. Craig from RSR Nurburg was from the UK and gave an excellent tour, something highly recommended.
I took the opportunity to drive the 'ring in an two day track day organised by Destination Nurburgring rather than the more common (and more dangerous) Touristenfahrten or "Tourist Session" meaning I didn't have to deal with suicidal motorcyclists, trucks, vans and Mum and Dad in the family van and any other weird and wonderful vehicles that have to do that 'one lap' just to say they've done it. All track day participants had to sit through driver briefings which clearly stated some essential safety topics and indicating that the whole track would be flagged - remember I mentioned the blind corners and crests!
I organised my rental race cars through RentRaceCar.de. Theo, Heide and Christian were absolutely awesome to deal with. My first 'ring weapon was a 3.0l BMW Z4. I also hired Christian, one of RentRaceCar's instructors for the first half of the day to ensure I got the most from my experience. Christian's tips were priceless in ensuring I relate information learnt from the virtual worlds of GT5 and Forza 3 with the real world. I ended up doing 14 laps in the Z4 with a best lap of 9min 10sec on the first day.
I've been waiting to drive this track for over 10 years, why stick to driving base model cars!? For day 2 I was at the wheel of a BMW E46 M3. The iconic 3.2l 340hp inline 6 cylinder engine, rear wheel drive, flappy paddle 6 speed SMG gearbox, lowered suspension, race seats and a half cage all combine to make an awesome drivers car. The weather started better than Day 1 and by mid morning the sky was all clear bar a few white fluffy clouds. The M3, a more focussed and communicative car than the Z4 I really started to feel comfortable with the it, the track, my driving and more importantly my memory with which way the track went. BTG lap times became consistently sub 9 minutes, I also started to notice that I wasn't really getting overtaken anymore and that I was doing the passing - all while not driving on the edge and risking expensive armco, expensive car and insurance excess, life and limb.
I completed 11 laps in the E46 M3 totalling 25 laps in two days. Its not often you get to share a trackday with Gumpert Apollos, McLaren Mercedes SLR's, Mercedes SLS AMG's, Porsche Carrera GT's, Ferrari 599 GTO's, 458 Italias, 430 Scuderias, Porsche Turbos, GT3's, GT3RS's, GT2's, GT2RS's, GT3 Cup Cars, BMW M3s, X5M's and a bucket load of M3CSL's, not to mention drivers like Adrian Sutil, the famous Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris, former F1 and current WTCC driver Alex Zanardi and current production car lap record holder Michael Vergers.
Another great aspect of the Nordscheleife is being able to go for a passenger lap (more commonly known as a pax lap) with just about anybody. Michael Vergers was on hand giving rides in Dave Tilley's Radical SR3RS through Unique Track Days, not quite the speed and power of the SR8 that was used to set the record, but slicks and the same amount of committment netted a lazy 7min24sec BTG lap - all while waving to all the traffic for letting him through and a relatively low 130mph top speed.
Running into Chris Harris who, in my opinion, is one of the best motoring journalists in the world was a big thrill for me too. Chris happened to be in the area with Evo Magazine's long termer SLS AMG and graciously let me go along with him for a lap. Passing GT3RS's around the outside of corners in what is considered a GT car is just mind blowing. Given the performance, I would love to see what Mercedes could do with something that they focussed on track work with.
Care should always be taken when deciding who you go for a passenger ride with, but if you get the opportunity to do so, go for a lap with a skilled and knowledgable driver around the Nordschleife. A lap with drivers like Michael or Chris that have great track knowledge and superb driving skills makes rollercoaster rides look second grade.
The surrounding towns and the track itself are just awe inspiring... I have driven most of what I consider Australia's best roads and even if you put them all together it wouldn't even come close to a single lap of the Nordscheleife. I can completely understand why car manufacturers test there, I can completely understand why car manufacturers want the distinguished title of having the quickest lap time for their production car, and I can completely understand why thousands of people return as often as they can to the holy grail of motoring, the green hell.
More images are available HERE.
|Driving Supercars at Thruxton Motorsport Centre, UK|
|As part of our European Trip we had the opportunity to drive some supercars at Thruxton Motorsport Centre. The Thruxton circuit has the honour of having the fastest average speed of all circuits in the UK. I took the opportunity to drive the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4SV and a Formula Renault open wheel race car. Included with this was some familiarisation laps in a Porsche Cayman.|
Ferrari 458 Italia
Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4SV
|Goodwood Festival of Speed|
|July has been a motorsport packed month for me heading off to the UK and Europe starting with two days at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK.|
What can I say... there is no motorsport show/festival/event that encompasses so many different types of cars and motorsport in one spot - not to mention the calibre of cars and drivers in attendance.
From early and late model F1 cars, Le Mans winners now and then, Pikes Peak winners, early and late model Indycars, GT racers, classics, concept cars, rally cars, supercars, bikes, boats - just about anything you could think of was there. Then there were the drivers, Sir Stirling Moss, Current F1 drivers including Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Karun Chandhok, Nico Rosberg, past champions including Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell, Gymkhana star Ken Block, Porsche idol Hans Jochaim Stuck, rally aces Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo, in the extreme sports arena Danny Macaskill and Robbie Maddison just to name a few. Nearly all these drivers and cars weren't just sitting around, they were doing what they do best on the 1.16mile hillclimb that runs straight through the middle of the place. The sights, sounds and smells were something else.
Here are some links to photos I've posted on Facebook...
Click HERE for Saturday - Part 1 of 2
Click HERE for Saturday - Part 2 of 2
Click HERE for Sunday
I can't speak highly enough of this event. I will definitely be back!!!
|The Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 at Barbagallo Raceway|
|At a recent WRX Owners Club of WA Barbagallo Driver Training Day, I got the chance to take my own Evo onto the track. I thought this would be a great chance just to confirm how good the Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 street tyre is. They proved they work well on a tarmac rally stage, how about the circuit...?|
The below video indicates a 66.90sec laptime, just 2.1 seconds off my PB set on new Bridgestone RE55s's a few years back. Silly me didn't turn the boost controller up meaning there is still a quicker time possible. Lets see next time I go to Barbagallo Raceway.
|2011 Kilarnee Targa South West - driving the Zero car|
|Killarnee Targa South West is a non-competitive timed tarmac event held over two days around Pemberton and Manjimup, Western Australia. 2011 was to be the second running of this event, which is designed to give beginners a taste of 'real' tarmac rallying. With a full field of 40 cars, I was lucky enough to be asked to drive the zero car, the last car to run the the special stages before the first competitive car. Essentially my role was to perform a final check to ensure the course is safe and to alert all spectators and officials that the stage is now live. |
I headed down to Pemberton with my Evo in tow a couple of days before the start of the rally to check the road book, to drive the stages used the year before and to drive the new stages added to this years event.
The day before the event started turned out to be a very wet one, with constant drizzle making the roads that are covered in leaves, tree sap, diesel and oil from the logging trucks very, very slippery. I took most of the day to drive through the stages with my co-driver Dieter von Mollendorf and make any additional notes for particular things we needed to check or be reminded of when we drove the roads at speed.
Day 1's (Saturday's) weather turned out to be cool, overcast and mostly dry with the roads remaining damp and slippery. The first two stages ran smoothly with all competitors starting out gently, easing into the speed of the tree lined roads. On stage three however, just 20m before the flying finish, was a very slippery sharp left hand corner, complete with loose gravel, tree sap, water and being off camber. This corner turned to be tough for a few competitors and reminded everyone that these roads need to be respected.
The "rally" then moved to the longest stages of the event, Gloucester East and Gloucester West, 16km of fast open sweepers with a few blind corners thrown in run in both directions. This stage also passed under the Vasse Highway providing a great spot for spectators to catch the action.
The afternoon saw the two stages run at Manjimup, both run three times. The Manjimup street stage had a great atmosphere and was absolutey awesome to drive - definitely one for the drivers and the crowds!!
Day 2 consisted of two different stages, the Pemberton street stage which was run four times and the new addition Pump Hill Rd, run three times. Occasional showers made the roads very slippery and inconsistent, keeping the competitors on their toes and giving Killarnee Targa South West a very exciting finish.
All in all, another successful event. It was great to see the involvement of the Pemberton and Manjimup residents. There were so many families watching the city stages from their front lawn and some of the locals even volunteered their time as officials. The difference between when the residents and shires want the rally in the area, compared to some areas where Quit Targa West is run is astounding. For the shires and residents that have the event and don't really want it - you don't know what you've lost until its gone.
Huge thanks go to Wheels World>, Yokohama, Allstar Garage and Hogs Breath Cafe Mindarie and Koncept Industries for their support.
|2011 Wheels World WRX Owners Club of WA - Rnd 1|
|Since the final Speedaware Twilight Rallysprint event in February, I had resigned to not doing much competitive motorsport before our trip to Europe and the Nurburgring. This changed when Baz and Megan from Japanese Wholesale Spares along with my girlfriend Steph decided it would be fun to enter the first round of the 2011 Wheels World WRX Owners Club Championship held on the 3rd of April. Being primarily a WRX event, I didn't want to enter my Evo and be the outcast; so through Baz, Jon Mortimor graciously offered up his 2006 WRX STi Spec C.|
Round 1 was held at the RAC Driving Centre and comprised of six runs on two different layouts utilising two skidpans. The short courses demanded precise driving, patience and throttle control. Thankfully, I was rewarded with a win on the day over Steve Pummer (1.25sec behind) and John Fowler (a further 5.84sec behind). This win has extended my 2011 competitive year to 4 wins from 4 starts.
Big thanks to Baz and Megan from JWS and Jon Mortimor for the use of his Spec C.
Course 1: http://youtu.be/bGh9_u7s3C0?hd=1
Course 2: http://youtu.be/OuqHBkU1V0k?hd=1
|2010/2011 Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint Series - Round 4 - A perfect result!!|
|The 24th of February was a full and action packed day for me. I had planned to do some spectating and general chatting at Barbagallo Raceway during a track day organised for Ryan Palazollo - essentially it was his bucks party! It soon came to light that there were a lot more inexperienced people than the organisers were expecting so I grabbed my helmet and helped out instructing. With a combination of a really hot and humid day along with hot cars you very quickly start to feel the effects of dehydration.|
Leaving Barbagallo Raceway at 3pm to battle the traffic and a chance to rehydrate and sit in the aircon, I headed to the Perth Motorplex with my trusty Evo in tow. Being closer to the coast, you expect air temperatures to be more bearable, but not this afternoon; the air stayed warm stressing the 70 cars and competitors more than usual. This Round, the fourth and final in the Speedaware Twilight Rallysprint Series held the strongest field of competitors of all the rounds with the likes of Targa Wrest Point competitors Blaise Paris (2nd in Early Modern) and Stewart Liddle (7th in Modern) in their awesome tarmac rally cars, Kim Ledger in the LF Performance Nissan R35 GTR, Matt Cherry in Steve Cherry's TMR prepared Evo X and Julian O'hara in his spectacular Ford GT40 Replica. Michael Lloyd (Subaru WRX) was also on the entry list for the first time as a driver. Along with the usual front runners Jamie Lister, Ross Hamilton, Mark Greenham and Rob Hoare, it was going to be an interesting night.
The night started well, recording a 2min 25sec run, just 1sec off my PB on the same course. A few mistakes in the second run cost me 2seconds. On the 3rd run I again recorded a 2min 25sec. At this point my efforts were enough to secure the round and the Series victory. My 4th and final run were with far less pressure and consequently I managed to equal my PB and the course record with a 2min 24sec run.
All in all, a great evening and a great series. Big thanks for the support go to Hogs Breath Cafe, Wheels World and Allstar Garage, Steph Leach and Lachlan Beresford for being my trusting co-drivers, Ross Tapper, Dieter Von Mollendorf and all the officials that helped out during the whole series, Alistair Mcrae and Speedaware for supporting the series and lastly, fellow competitors for making this series such a great success.
|Warehouse Gymkhana - filmed for PSSTV|
|When a friend says he's starting a TV show, and that he wants you on as a guest and to do a bit of driving, here's what happens.... |
Filmed in June 2010 at a warehouse/yard in Perth, Western Australia. First aired on WestTv (www.wtvperth.com.au) on the 7th of February 2011 in Season 1, Episode 1 of "PSSTV".
Sadly, I've had to sit on this for months, but finally I get to put it online. Hope you enjoy it, I certainly had fun making it!
|2011 Superkhana Series - Rnd 1|
|AEM this year are again running their Superkhana Series at the Midvale Speed Dome. Round 1 was combined with a postponed ladies training session that preceded the competition. 14 ladies competed on the day showing they too can have fun in a safe controlled competitive environment.|
I competed in Danny Cerro's Evo 9, a vehicle I hadn't driven in quite some time and it didn't take long to become acquainted again setting a time 1.1sec quicker than all other competitors on the first of four runs. I managed to keep hold of the competitors through the next three run and placed first outright by 4.07sec.
This event was the first time my girlfriend Steph drove JWS's Subaru WRX and the also the first time we have competed against each other in the same event. Steph's confidence, car and race experience hugely improved over the four runs and was a pleasure to watch all day. Well done Steph!
|2010/2011 PSSTV Drift Battle Series - Round 3 - The Chase/Camera Car|
|Throughout the 2010/2011 PSSTV Drift Battle Series I have been fortunate enough to be driving the chase/camera car for PSSTV. This has been quite a rewarding challenge being able to watch WA's best drifters go flat out from the best seat in the house. With thanks to PSSTV, I'm able to give you an over the shoulder view of what I see and how alert I have to be when following at a close 5-20m while these mad guys and girls doing their thing.|
Big thanks to Richard Emery for letting PSSTV use his immaculate MkIV Supra.
Check out the next round on the 27th of February at Barbagallo Raceway where PSSTV will be running a raffle with the prize riding alongside me in the chase car!
|2010/2011 Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint Series - Round 3 - the winning roll continues...|
|Since the start of the Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint Series, I had high hopes for the series but to win 3 from 3, I couldn't be happier! |
Round 3 returned to the running of my preferred direction, the same used as in Round 1. A nearby bush fire fuelled by strong winds delayed the biggest field to date of 70 competitors from starting on time however time was quickly made up and the whole event ran smoothly as per usual.
Big thanks to Richard Emery for letting me use his GoPro HeroHD cameras that managed to capture an awesome flame out the exhaust.
|Motorvation 25 - Event Preview - I make the promo reel again!|
|For a few years in a row now, I've managed to make the promo reel for Motorvation. For the 2011 event, "Motorvation 25", it seems organisers aren't keen on promoting the import car entrants. I'm proud to be one of three imports included. Check out my Evo blazing all four wheels at the dirt autokhana held in the Speedway Infield at the 15 second mark!|
Sadly, due to other commitments, I won't be entering this Motorvation but will certainly be along spectating!
For more information, visit Perth Motorplex's website at www.motorplex.com.au.
Promo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loOnjrRw1EI
|2010 Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint Series - Round 2 - 2 rounds, 2 wins!|
|Round 2 of the Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint Series was held on the 16th December. Overcast, warm weather greeted a healthy field of 68 competitors. I again ran my Evo 8 MR however had Lachlan Beresford, a long time official and first time competitor sitting in the co-drivers seat. |
The direction of the course had changed and for the first time in the series, the course was run in the same direction as Quit Targa West's Prologue; the only difference being the addition of two chicanes to slow the field down.
I came away with my second win of the series, ahead of Jamie Lister (Subaru WRX STi) who improved from a 3rd place finish in the first round. It wasn't smooth sailing however, on the second run a fellow competitor running a few cars in front of me had an incident on the last corner of the course and hit ten pine copper logs. One came to rest on the ideal line around the blind left hand corner and I unfortunately could not avoid it, destroying my front pipe causing an exhaust leak and throwing the wheel alignment way out.
Onboard video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oll9ai2mLUY&hd=1
Big thanks to Wheels World for sorting out my alignment the very next morning and to Greenline Japan for sourcing and sending another exhaust system so close to the festive season.
For full results, click HERE.
|PSS TV have released a teaser for their upcoming TV show. I've been a part of it, being a special guest and having them film me having some fun at a warehouse. I have also been their camera car driver at every round of the WA Drift Series. It should air on WestTv early next year. Check it out |
|2010 Speedaware Twilight Rallysprint - Round 1 - 1st place!|
|The 11th of November was host to the long awaited return of the Twilight Rallysprints at the Perth Motorplex. After two successful trial events held late 2009 and early 2010, a packed motorsport calendar delayed the anticipated series that was due to run over the 2010 winter. Speedaware has held their interest by supporting the four round series running from November 2010 to February 2011.|
Round 1 yielded a maximum field of 60 cars on a dry though relatively cool and windy evening - great for cars but not for people! My Evo 8 MR performed flawlessly all evening recording the quickest time on all four of the timed runs. In the end, I finished in first place, 11 seconds ahead of Ross Hamilton in his Evo 8 MR who finished 11 seconds ahead of Jamie Lister and Simon Gunson sharing third place.
Round 2 entries are already filling. For more information and entry forms, check out the Speedaware website at www.speedaware.com.au.
Below is onboard video from my fourth and quickest run. This was the first time I used a Radcam HDPro bullet style HD camera available from Racerecall and am very impressed with its low light capabilites and picture quality.
Onboard video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfGbo9bNSEM&hd=1
|PSSTV 2010/2011 Drift Battle - Round 1|
|On the 10th of October, Barbagallo Raceway hosted Round 1 of the PSSTV 2010/2011 Drift Battle Series. After my recent involvement with Perth Street Scene (PSS), through approval from the WASCC I was asked to be the driver of a chase car to get that unique shot for upcoming episodes - watching drifting from the best seat in the house, "yeah ok, I'll do it!".|
The day didn't start so great, being T-boned on the way to the track in the chase car - Carla Fry's S13 by a 90 year old lady! Everyone was fine, however Carla's S13 was not. After some panicked calls by Josh from PSS, he managed to source a modified HSV Clubsport owned by Gordon from Malicious Intent - complete with 20" whitewall tyres!
We plan on making a return in future rounds to capture all the footage from a unique angle. Here's a quick teaser of how some of the footage came out: CLICK HERE
|2010 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Champion after Round 4 at Kwinana Motorplex!|
|AEM and the Kwinana Motorplex played host to the 4th and final round of the 2010 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Series.|
Round 4 was scheduled to be held at the Collie Motorplex but due to logistical reasons was moved only a few months ago. This move in my opinion was a very good one enticing a much fuller field of competitors to enjoy a day of motorsport without the 4 hour return trip to Collie from Perth.
There were three courses designed to be run in both directions, each competitor had two attempts at each stage with only the best time from each stage counting towards the day result. This gave competitors a chance to perfect their runs and also to see just how tight and sometimes difficult the stages can be. it gave other competitors a second chance if they had gone the wrong way on their first run.
After a win in Round 3, Simon Gunson (Evo 7 and Evo 8) elevated himself into third place outright (second place Evo) and had a very good chance at taking out the series victory. For me to win the series I needed to finish higher than Simon in Round 4.
The days results netted Blaise Paris (Evo 6.5) in first, myself in second and Simon Gunson third. This also confirmed that I had won the 2010 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Series for the second year running!
Big thanks to the series sponsors (Wheels World, Tokyo Motorsports and JWS), the round organisers (AEM, MC Motorsport and WASCC) and the series organisers (especially Mandy Lister, without her this year's series would not have gone anywhere near as well as it did). I'd also like to thank Steph Leach, Ivan Tan, Dieter Von Mollendorf and Wayne Chan who supported me all year.
For Round 4 results, click HERE.
For Driver Series results, click HERE.
In terms of EVO vs WRX, the EVO's won the series quite convincingly, 175 points vs 103 points respectively.
Stage 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXfUAbJeGmw&hd=1
Stage 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIn8hSKgfew&hd=1
Stage 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQmR183JNuw&hd=1
Stage 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp0fj_A2eH4&hd=1
|2010 Quit Targa West|
|The 2010 Quit Targa West tarmac rally has been run and won by yet another R35 GTR, this time driven by Peter Major and Kim Screigh, 2nd place went to the popular duo of Jim Richards and Barry Oliver 51 seconds behind in their Porsche 911 GT2. Peter Rullo and Simon Iseppi, like Peter Major moved from an Evo to an R35 GTR and took the last remaining podium spot.|
Classic Competition was won in controversy by Tolley Challis. The Speedaware '74 911 RS caught fire just before the second last stage and was given a derived time. Despite this, he still beat Mark and Mitchell O'Kane who in my opinion put the drive of the rally in! One of the favourites for a win, David and Vicki Moir placed third in their Datsun 240Z.
My co-driver from last years Targa West, Ivan Tan, co-drove for Chris Wilson in his '74 911 RS and finished a respectable 7th.
I had the pleasure of driving Car #00. A course car that runs through all the stages before the competitors and makes sure that the stage has been setup correctly and that its safe for spectators, officials and competitors. I would however to have loved to have been competing instead! ....there's always next year!
|antilag.com and driving proficiency test and tune - Midvale Speed Dome|
|I've been out to the Speed Dome quite a few times recently and just about every time in a different car. Members from the popular antilag.com forum and Driving Proficiency collaborated to create their second test and tune session at the Midvale Speed Dome.|
Test and tune is a loose term with all of the 14 entrants letting off some steam rather than trying to improve car and/or driver.
Thanks must again go to Wayne Chan for letting me use his S/C Toyota Sprinter. The grin factor this car carries is beyond belief!
Onboard video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-F4fBd--Y0&hd=1
|JWS at the August Superkhana - Midvale Speed Dome|
|I had the plesaure of driving AEM's Superkhana at the Midvale Speed Dome. Not having competitively driven a Subaru since 2007 and only first driving this particular WRX from the workshop in Wanagara to Midvale, it was going to be an interesting morning.|
The WRX given its limited tarmac rally modifications was more than impressive, nailling every launch, every gear change, every braking point and every apex, I managed to always remain at the front setting quickest times in each of the four rounds and taking out the day from Bruce Hawley in his Nissan R34 GTR by 2.72 seconds.
This WRX is available for rent for most motorsport events, contact Megan at JWS for more information at www.japanesewholesale.com.au.
Huge thanks to Fats, Megan, Baz and all the guys from JWS for letting me use their WRX.
Onboard video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9emFLh-vpdk&hd=1
|Wheels World EVO vs WRX - Round 3 - Autotest at the RAC Driving Centre|
|After 2 months of non-competitive driving I stepped back into competitive motorsport with Round 3 of the 2010 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Series. Having not done an Autotest since Round 3 of the 2009 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Series and with all new courses I knew this round was going to be a tough one.|
Simon Gunson has been continuously modifying his Evo VIII into quite the weapon. After competing in the morning on a similar course, Simon blasted out of the blocks with a time of 62.89sec, I managed a 63.95... it was going to be a long day...!
With time restraints coming into effect and the 6th round being scratched from the cards I was left with 4 runs to make up the time deficit. With our 4 best times added together to give a final result, I placed second by 0.17sec, finishing 3.97sec ahead of third place Jamie Lister (Subaru WRX).
A good result in Round 3 has enabled me to keep my lead in the Series outright. The details on Round 4 are TBA but it is expected to be in October.
Onboard video from my quickest run (61.83sec): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCS7Rd9SDko&hd=1
|Targa South West - Pemberton|
|The inaugural running of the Killarnee Targa South West tarmac rally took place on the weekend of 29-30 May. A lack of rain and more importantly wet roads made for great conditions for the 31 entrants that enjoyed closed roads in the Manjimup and Pemberton region. The event culminated on the Sunday morning with the streets of Pemberton closed with most of the town's residents enjoying motorsport right on their doorstep - these people don't know how lucky they are!|
I had the pleasure of driving Course Car 00 with Leo Iriks in the navigators seat. We were responsible for checking the stages and declaring them safe for spectators, officials and competitors. I am grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed myself immensely.
A huge thanks to the Shire of Manjimup and the people of Pemberton for being so open to have motorsport in their little town, all the Targa West staff and finally (and most importantly) all the volunteer officials for without them, an event like this could not happen.
For information and photos from the event, check out http://tsw.targawest.com.au.
|LF Performance Speed Event Series - Rnd 4 - Busselton Special Stage|
|Topping off a packed fortnight of motorsport, I headed down to Busselton for the annual Shannons Sprint held on the tarmac special stage on the Busselton Foreshore. This event is part of the LF Performance WA CAMS Speed Event Series and is always popular by competitors and spectators alike. Lined with concrete walls and large hay bails, there is no room for error.|
This year's field of competitors is one of the strongest seen in WA motorsport in some years with more than 10 competitors having a realistic chance in winning the event. With a broad range of cars ranging from open wheel, winged monsters, to essentially fully prepared time attack cars with no expense spared, I knew it was always going to be tough!
In the end, I placed 6th outright, 3rd in class (4wd). I was the highest place competitor with a full interior including backseat, carpets, aircon and stereo.
Incar video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5aS0nW7zHI
Huge thanks to Steph for making the trip down with me and generally lending me a hand and Maximum Motorsport for the use of their car trailer.
|Wheels World EVO vs WRX - Round 2 - Autokhana at Midvale Speed Dome|
|Just three weeks after Round 1, Round 2 was upon us; An Autokhana held at the Midvale Speed Dome organised by AEM. After analysing the data in Round 1, I found all time lost was in the launch and not having the stationary rev limiter set high enough to overpower the grip from the Yokohama Advan A050 R comp tyres. |
With a higher stationary rev limiter and making a return to one of my favourite venues I was out for a good result. Tough competition from Round 1 winner Michael Lloyd, Round 1's Runner up Jamie Lister and 2009's Series Round 4 winner Blaise Paris was going to make times tough.
Through determination I took out the win by 0.8sec's over Blaise in his Evo 6 TME helping the Evo's again dominate over the WRX's.
Incar video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP8HOxMuAHs
Round 3 will be held at the RAC Driving Centre on the 4th of July.
|Driving Proficiency Test and Tune - Midvale Speed Dome|
|On the 10th of April, Driving Proficiency held a Test and Tune at the Midvale Speed Dome. Wayne Chan again offered me the use of his Supercharged Toyota Sprinter.|
The Midvale Speed Dome is a daunting place to test your abilities at the best of times complete with big square kerbs, trees, drains and hidden ditches in the grass. Throw in a welded diff and low grip street tyres and you've got a recipe of a huge challenge and fun.
Incar vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBwm5vDb9g4
Thanks again to Wayne for lending me his Sprinter and Ivan Tan for the use of his car trailer.
|Wheels World EVO vs WRX - Round 1 - Hill Climb at Jacks Hill|
|EvolutionOz and the IWRXOC have again collaborated to create an EVO vs WRX four round series in Western Australia for 2010. Round 1 was held on the 20th of March where 12 Evo's and 14 WRX's attacked the National Course at Jack's Hill, Barbagallo Raceway.|
Franz back in his Evo 8 MR placed 3rd outright and was quickest Evo on the day. Despite WRX's being the fastest 2 cars, it is the Evo's as a marque who currently lead the points score (48 points vs 30 points). Round 2 will be held at the Speed Dome on the 11th of April. Hopefully an Evo can take the win and keep the Evo's on top.
Big thanks to series sponsor Wheels World and marque sponsors Tokyo Motorsports and Japanese Wholesale Spares. Without their support the series would not be able to run.
|Dowerin Dirt Superkhana|
|AEM held the first official motorsport competition in recent times at Dowerin on the last day of February. 15 competitors traveled to the North Eastern town to be greeted by friendly faces and extremely smooth gravel roads at the Dowerin Field Days site. This event was a feeler event to see how the events would run and to gather feedback from competitors, officials and local residents. All feedback was positive despite one vehicle coming to grief cutting the day short.|
Franz joined the two wheel drive ranks driving Wayne Chan's Supercharged 1.6l 1983 Toyota Sprinter. The car performed well all day with Franz and Wayne sharing the car. Franz finished 3rd outright and first two wheel drive car on they day, with Wayne finishing 11th in his first ever competitive event. Big thanks to Wayne for the use of the Sprinter, Ivan Tan for towing it and support on the day, Paul Blank and all the volunteer officials along with the Dowerin locals for putting on the event.
|Speedaware Twilight Rally Sprint|
|Ross Tapper and Dieter Von Mollendorf organised the second running of a Twilight Rally Sprint at the Perth Motorplex on the 11th of February. Event naming rights went to Speedaware, a Perth based company specialising in driver training lead by former WRC driver Alister McRae.|
Due to a lack of confirmed competitors, entry was open to those with non-caged cars just the day before the event to help boost numbers. This made it possible for Mark Conacher in his Nissan R35 GTR to take third place. Franz again claimed a solid second place with Steve Jones in his mightly Evo 9 MR placing first.
Ross and Dieter are looking into running a series of twilight rally sprints throughout the year open to caged and non-caged cars. More info will be posted on the Speedaware website (www.speedaware.com.au) when available.
|Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series - Rnd 3|
|31 entrants lined up for the third and final round of the 2009/2010 Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series. Moderate temperatures and the Full circuit had all competitors buzzing. UWA brought out their Formula SAE car (www.motorsport.uwa.edu.au) and ended Franz's run of victories. The UWA Formula SAE car took the honours with Franz finishing second. John Otter in his Evo 2 placed third.|
Second outright in this round was enough for Franz to take outright honours in the series earning 70 points from a maximum of 75 available. The series has cemented a great start to the year!
|Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series - Rnd 2|
|Thanks to the hot weather, Round 2 of the Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series was postponed a week thus giving Franz the opportunity to complete the entire series. Warm temperatures greeted the 25 entrants who attacked the Jack's Hill National Circuit. Franz took the victory from John Otter in his Evo 2 by 0.8sec with a time of 38.96 seconds.|
The 3rd and final round is scheduled for the morning of the 31st of Jan.
More information on the series can be found at www.wascc.com.au.
|Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series - Rnd 1|
|Franz concluded his 2009 motorsport season in style dominating the first round of the 2009/2010 Jack Nelson Summer Hill Climb Series at Jacks Hill, Wanneroo on the 20th of December. 24 entrants competed in 34+ degree heat running four times up the National Course. |
Unfortunately due to prior commitments, it doesn't look like Franz will have the opportunity to compete in the remaining two rounds of the series held early in 2010.
Results for Round 1 can be found at www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?20/12/2009.JACK.Q4.Y
More information on the series can be found at www.wascc.com.au.
|2009 Mt Buller Sprint|
|Australia's greatest hill climb lived up to its name on the weekend 4-6 December. 74 crews entered with Tasmania's Jason White/John White combination coming through with the win in their Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. WA's Steve Jones/Ben Searcy and Dean Herridge/Chris Murphy took 2nd and 3rd respectively. Unfortunately numerous cars came to grief over the weekend, Weeks/Crunkhorn had issues in their new Lamborghini Gallardo and DNF'd. Finnimore/Bryan had a gentle roll in their Evo 6, WA residents Templeman/Howlett and Crimp/Van der May also went off the road. Thankfully throughout the weekend the only thing hurt were cars and pride - a credit to the build quality of the modern rally car!|
Franz was lucky enough to be at the event providing mechanical and moral support to Danny Cerro and Bianca Anderson in their first tarmac rally event driving the Evo 9 campaigned by Franz and Ivan Tan earlier in the year at Quit Targa West.
Danny and Bianca understandably started out nice and easy, getting a feel for the longer stages, having pace notes read and the challenging road. By the tenth and final stage, Danny and Bianca had dropped their stage times by a minute with a final result of 45th outright. A big well done to both Danny and Bianca in their first event and keeping the car straight.
Full results can be found at http://www.mountainmotorsports.com.au/results09.html.
Danny and Bianca acknowledge their support from Wheels World and Tokyo Motorsports.
Some of Franz's photos from the weekend can be found HERE.
|Ktec Twilight Rally Sprint|
|The Inauguaral Ktec Twilight Rally Sprint was held at the Perth Motorplex on the 26th of November.|
53 entrants lined up to run a modified 3.2km Targa West Prologue stage in reverse direction. The tight and fast course was a real challenge to drive at night.
For the first time, Franz ran VP109 race fuel yielding more power and torque from the Evo 8 MR resulting in a 2nd outright and one of only two cars to go under the 2min 20sec mark.
Class results can be found HERE, Outright results can be found HERE.
Franz's onboard video from Run 3 of 4 can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1WN7LZcyJM
A big thank you goes out to All Star Garage for the retune of the ECU.
|2009 Fabcar 1 Day Rally|
|The Perth Motorplex, Gloucester Park and Midvale Speed Dome all host stages of the Fabcar 1 Day Classic Rally on the 15th of the November. 63 cars made the start on a fine day of short sprints, autokhanas and motorkhanas.|
Franz co-drove for the first time with Andrew Brown in his 1995 Mitsubishi Evo 3. The car showed true potential despite on the day having a sticky clutch, an unreliable brake pedal and a handbrake which refused to lock both rear tyres.
Despite having a garage penalty (thanks to the unreliable brake pedal) and one wrong way, we still managed to finish 8th outright and 4th in class, showing that with some changes to suspension settings and sorting those small ningling issues this car is a potential event winner for very little money!
Full results can be found at http://www.classicrally.com.au/Fabcar_1-Day_Classic.htm
|2009 Wheels World EVO vs WRX Series|
|Collie Motorplex hosted the final round of the four round series on Saturday the 18th of October. Franz had a successful weekend with a 2nd outright on the day and claiming Top Scoring Evo Driver for the Series. In addition, by finishing ahead of Jamie Lister (highest scoring WRX Driver), Franz cemented the Series outright.|
Unfortunately Evo numbers were down on the day and despite a 1st outright (Blaise Paris in an Evo 6) and Franz's 2nd outright, the WRX's could not be held off and became the dominant manufacturer for the 2009 Series.
Onboard video from Event 3, the Hill Climb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8OyOTNO3q0
|Quit Targa West 2009 - onboard video on youtube.com|
|I've uploaded to youtube some onboard video...|
Most stages are in very wet conditions. Speed is in the bottom right hand corner.
SS02 - John Forrest 1 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KRb1yO-dz8
SS07 - Kalamunda 2 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Z938iZ3yc
SS11 - Western Range 2 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj5fx7q-WRM
SS12 - Bindoon Country 1 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh0KRfXYe7w
SS13 - Blue Plains 1 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDXEqVrSTjY
SS20 - Toodyay 2 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jvANyshSd8
SS23 - Chittering Long -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaLtcVWaryk
SS30 - Racecourse 2 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrV5oKeEbLQ
|Quit Targa West 2009 - We finished!!!|
|2009-08-24 - What a weekend... what an experience!!! From the extreme disappointment of knowing any hope of a decent result is gone thanks to a hose clamp on Stage 3 of the rally to the joys of a 3rd outright in extremely wet and difficult conditions on day 2.|
I have learnt a lot this weekend; I thought I knew what fast was, I didn't! But Quit Targa West 2009 gave me a lesson and a reality check. I have a new found appreciation and respect for anybody that competes in a rally, tarmac, gravel or otherwise because only now can I understand and relate as to how fast the crews go and how much they risk to get their stage results!
I also learnt this weekend at what a great support network I have, who in their own way gave me their confidence and support. Believe me, none of it went unnoticed and it is completely appreciated!
First and foremost my co-driver Ivan Tan, who has put his faith, life and trust in my hands and has donated months of weekends and evenings without complaint and making every effort to give this rally our best shot and to make this experience most worthwhile.
I'd also like to mention Danny Cerro who entrusted me with his Evo 9; I am sure there was a lot of self doubt as to whether agreeing months ago to lease me the car was a wise decision; I can only imagine it would be very difficult watching your car leave a service park with someone else at the wheel only to wonder whether it will return in one piece, if at all to the next service!
Jamie, Phill and the friends of Tokyo Motorsport who along with Wayne Chan and Denver Parker gave their time and efforts in keeping the Evo 9 running smoothly and efficiently all weekend. A simple phone call on the way to service is all that is needed to spark the guys into action. Ivan and I are completely appreciate that working in the mud pit of the Bindoon service park was not easy and the efficiency and efforts of the guys throughout the whole weekend was second to none. It is the best feeling pulling into service, jumping out of the car and watching all the guys work together checking to make sure the car is still safe and making minor changes to the cars setup to keep it at its best; if you ever get to a rally service park, watch a service crew work, it’s worth watching the experience!
My girlfriend Steph, who is always there by my side and without her full support over the last few months, the weekend wouldn't have been possible. Along with Rob Hoare and Matt Jones she also chauffeured my parents around all weekend from the service parks to the spectator points. You guys are great!
Dave and Todd for always getting out to the spectator points to get photos and video of Ivan and I as we flew by! I can't wait to see the media you guys got!
Finally, my sponsors; without whose faith and support we wouldn't have been able to make the start line. Thank you all.
In terms of outright results, officially we finished in 36th position. The mechanical issue on Stage 3 destroyed any chance of achieving our goals of finishing in the top 20. However, given our other stage results and despite being given a high derived time for Stage 3, we would have finished in 10th outright. All in all far from a disappointing weekend.
Stay tuned for some onboard video on my youtube channel over the next few days....
|Quit Targa West 2009 - Day 2 ...done!|
|2009-08-22 - What an awesome day despite it being sooooo wet!! I am starting to get used to the speed that I need to go to try and keep somewhat on the pace. Results show I'm setting consistent top 10 outright times with a 4th on SS11 (Western Range 2) and 3rd SS12 (Bindoon Country 1).|
No mechanical issues today either! :)
Last day tomorrow; would be nice to have a go at these stages in the dry. Here's hoping...!
|Quit Targa West 2009 - Day 1 ...done!|
|2009-08-21 - What a day of ups and downs! Driving through the Murray St Mall during the morning peak hour rush, skipping along the bitumen in the John Forrest stage and then disaster, the intercooler pipe popping off half way through SS03, the Zig Zags. The disappointment felt there was one I haven't felt before nor am I able to describe. Alas the boys from Tokyo Motorsports replaced all the hose clamps and the intercooler pipe as soon as we got to them at service!|
Disappointment turned to joy after SS07, Kalamunda 2 setting another top 10 outright time!
The evening helded a show and shine in Northbridge with sponsors Hogs Breath Cafe bringing the hog out and serving up a great dinner.
Tomorrow I'm told the real fun roads start... I can't wait!
|Quit Targa West 2009 - Day 0 - Prologue ...done!|
|2009-08-20 - I have officially started my first tarmac rally! ...my two week rain dance has worked - almost too well! Alas though, 7th outright from 100 competitors. Unfortunately a number of other competitors found the conditions tough and had some incidents. Hopefully the crews can burn the midnight oil and get the cars to Day 1 where the rally really starts.|
If you're out and about this weekend, cheer on car #62!! :)
|Quit Targa West 2009 - starts today!|
|2009-08-20 - Today's the day. The pacenotes have been made, the car has been prepared, the butterflies are in full flight, today's the day that marks my first tarmac rally start.|
Prologue starts at 3pm at the Motorplex... lets see how we go...!
|Quit Targa West 2009 - less than 2 weeks to go!|
|2009-08-09 - After months of research, financial and personal preparation, car build and anxiety, its all very soon coming to a head, it's now less than two weeks before the first 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! call from co-driver Ivan Tan and the excitement is building!|
This weekend marked a significant day in preparation, with the Evo 9 passing scrutiny on its first attempt. What a great start to the cars CAMS logbook! There has been a huge effort and approximately nine months of build has taken a street car into a M2 spec tarmac rally car!
I should mention that this personal endeavor of mine in competing in a top level tarmac rally event could not be possible without the support of the following generous sponsors.
* Dataline Visual Link (DVL) - www.dvl.com.au
* Wheels Word and Yokohama - www.wheelsworld.com.au
* Hogs Breath Cafe Mindarie, Northbridge and Joondalup - www.hogsbreathcafe.com.au
* G & S Industries - www.gsindustries.com.au
* Tokyo Motorsport - www.autoworkshop.com.au
* All Star Garage - www.allstargarage.com.au
* Images Embroidery - www.images.cx
In addition, many hands make light work, the countless hours of help, support and advice from the following people can not go unnoticed:
...and for those I've forgotten, I sincerely apologise!
Stay tuned for more updates...
|2008, a year in review...|
|2008 has been a reasonably busy and suprisingly successful year in my short motorsport career.|
Contesting 23 events in less than 12 months demands some strain, both financial and mechanical...To the best of my memory, thirty "R spec" tyres, two clutches, one Evo IX rim, twelve oil filters, seventy two litres of Mobil 1's finest, two sets of front rotors, two sets of front brake pads, two sets of rear brake pads and one carbon fibre front lip round out the "consumables" between my Evo VIII MR and Danny Cerro's Evo IX.
I don't even want to start thinking about the financial values of the above "consumables" plus entry fees, travelling fees, accommodation fees and labour (I stopped counting after the seventh wheel alignment!!) . Do I regret any of it? ...not one bit!
Said 23 events gave me outright nine wins, five second places, two thirds, four fourth places, two fifths and an eigth place, my worst outright finishing position of the year.
Class results yielded ten wins, eight seconds, and two thirds.
My highlights of the year include leading after Day 1 in the WA round of the Dutton Rally and not finishing out of the top three in any of the stages on Day 3, Winning the Transcore Classic Challenge despite making an error on the first day and winning a very cold and soaked Mt Clarence Hill Climb in Albany.
I'd also like to thank those who supported me, firstly Danny for letting me drive his Evo IX so many times this year, my girlfriend Steph, my parents, Dataline Visual Link, All Star Garage and everyone else who provided me advice and support throughout the year.