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NSW State Titles

As I said previously, it’s pretty quiet here now that I have my facebook page going, but I do like prefer this format for wrap ups

Last month I raced at the NSW State Titles at my home track SMA. Going into the event I was not feeling very confident because my lap times weren’t where I thought they should be, but once practice started it was obvious that my times were actually really good and it was just the track that wasn’t offering up as much grip as it had last year. While I was struggling a little for steering off the straight, my car was easy to drive and with the help of Vercoe, Damo Z and others during the practice day I got the car pretty well set for racing.

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Racing got underway Saturday in perfect conditions, which was just what was needed since we had a number of visitors from interstate making up a very high quality modified class that included Ryan Maker (VBC), Simon Nicholson (Kyosho), Ari Bakla (XRAY), Jordan Cullis (Durango), Justin Vergunst (Tamiya), Corey Broadstock (Yokomo), Ed Clark (Schumacher), and others.

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Q1 for mod was a super close affair with the top 8 drivers all running 19 laps, I was 2nd .9 behind Ryan with Simon just .3 behind me in 3rd, and Jessie Davis .4 behind him in 4th. Early signs were that Ryan had a slight edge and the rest of us were going to have huge fight!

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From Q2 onwards tyre strategy became a factor, Ryan and Jessie ran new while Simon and I ran 2nd run, and that was how we finished. For Q3 I ran new tyres hoping the others would run old but everyone ran new. Fortunately I was able to put in a good run and I finished 2nd behind Ryan, with Jessie 3rd and Simon 4th. This meant Ryan had 3 TQ’s and would be very hard deny 1st on the grid, and I was provisionally 2nd.

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Q4 was to be held under lights as the days are quite short this time of year. With Jessie and Ryan having used all their new tyres and Simon seeming like he was going for a standard new-old-new-old-new-old strategy I saw Q4 as a good opportunity to put in a TQ run so I opted for new tyres again. Unfortunately I had a shocker, rolling on the 2nd lap and then dumping from forgetting to charge my battery mid race. Simon pulled a surprise and ran new tyres so he was able to TQ, which relegated me to 3rd in the next regrade.

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Sunday was another excellent weather day. Q6 Simon pulled out another excellent TQ run to set up a Q6 showdown for TQ. Ryan ended up 2nd and I was 3rd. Q6 threw up a bit of a surprise with Ari the only person with new tyres putting in a TQ run, effectively sealing TQ for Ryan, though Ryan was 2nd so he would have got it anyway. I was 3rd and Simon 4th. For the run I decided to try a setup change which I thought worked out pretty well so I didn’t plan any changes for the finals.

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With  2 sets of new tyres for the a-mains, strategy was going to be less of an issue. The grid was to Ryan, Simon, Me, Jessie, Ari, Jordan, Nathan Reese, Justin, Corey, and Gary Huang. For me the finals were terrible – I got spun around at the 2nd corner of all 3 finals. In the first A-main I pulled off to save tyres, Ryan took the win from Simon and Ari. In A2 Ryan again took the win to wrap up what was a pretty dominant event for him. I ended up 4th after coming back through the field, but after 2 curb rolls I decided my new setup was too hard to drive so for A3 I put my setup back to how I started the weekend and went 2/10th faster – should have just left it! After being spun around for the 3rd time (at least a penalty was given) I came back to 4th which netted me 4th overall, Simon won A3 from Ari which meant the podium was Ryan, Simon, and Ari.

I was pretty disappointed because I felt I had the pace for a podium but I was basically denied the opportunity to even try and race with the guys in front of me on the grid in every final.

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A lot of the finals were messy and part of the blame has to rest on this terrible grid. The last time the club used this layout the grid was at least twice the spacing here and the starts were not such an issue, but also driving standards and laxed refereeing were factors. Not to harp on, but my weekend was basically ruined and 100s of dollars wasted because of the finals, so I can see why many racers don’t bother with sanctioned events.

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Finals aside, the event was quite successful and turned up some very deserving winners in Ryan Maker (mod) and Jeffery Mackie (13.5). The racing was very close in all classes, and the finals produced some excellent racing once the first lap carnage had sorted itself out. As a consolation prize, my AWESOME paint finally won a concourse! Shame the body had been so beaten up from the finals!

Now that states are behind us I’m looking ahead to AOC in Melbourne in July, and I’ve also booked the SA titles in August. Both these events should be super fun because there will be excellent competition again and they are both being held on high grip indoor tracks. Can’t beat guaranteed racing!

Finally, my mate Cam sent me this copy of Racing Lines magazine featuring coverage of the ACT Titles and some great shots of my car. Really chuffed to have myself in print, this ones gone straight to the pool room!

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