Upcoming Round

NEXT RACE – Round 1

Round 1
Track: Sydney Motorsport Park
Date: 16th March 2018
Length 3.93km
Turns: 11
F3 Lap Record: 1:22.6290

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Summer Shakedown – Newsletter

FRCA Summer Shakedown
21 February 2016
Sydney Motorsport Park Druitt Circuit

 

Run in conjunction with the Festival of Sporting Cars, the Summer Shakedown was our first event outside the State Championship for some time and proved to be well worth the effort, especially for those looking to get some seat time in their new cars ahead of the Championship opener at Wakefield Park in two weeks’ time.

With a regularity and two ‘points’ races the event was designed to reward consistency over outright speed and together with  the FoSC approach – relaxed, competitor friendly and not too focussed on technicalities – it was a return to the fun of Club level racing.

Eighteen entries – about two third of which were either having their first competitive run in new machinery or renewing acquaintance with old machinery after a long absence – were reduced to 15 cars on the day:  unfortunately both Ron Coath and Richard Scarcella had minor issues with their cars and we were deprived of both our ’07 Dallaras; and the meeting was probably a week too early for Tom Brickley’s Kaditcha to be ready.

 

First up was Qualifying, and it was the two Lynch cars out in front, with Glenn taking pole at the wheel of the ’98 in its new gold livery and son Chris making a far-to-infrequent appearance in the yellow car.  In third we had Lawrence Katsidis in the first of the ‘new’ ’04 Dallaras, with Rodney Brincat taking it easier and qualifying the other in 7th.  In between the two ‘04s were Aaron McClintock in his Dallara, out for the first time in 12 months and using the time to bed in tyres and brakes ahead of the Championship;  Al Palmer in the TOMS Toyota who had some rear suspension issues; and Luc Botton having his first run in the ex-Kevin Lewis Cheetah Mk.8. 

From 8th to 11th we had invited guests in sports cars, most notably Justin McClintock in the Galloway Sports 1300 (thankfully it didn’t rain and we were saved the embarrassment of Justin giving us a lesson). Behind them were the Morrow brothers –Phil in the Mix ‘n’ Match Reynard, sporting the red livery but with the yellow car’s rear end; and Shayne in his PRS Ford AF2.  Rounding out the field were Greg Muddle in the Ralt RT30, which was parked after qualifying with fuel problems; and Ross McAlpine the ’97 Dallara with the For Sale sign, a split fuel hose keeping out of qualifying but it was repaired for later in the day .

 

Our first event was run as a regularity, and given the number of laps he’s turned in the car it was not surprising to see Justin McClintock was at the top of the list, marginally ahead of brother Aaron.  Third was Luc Botton, coming to grips with the Cheetah very quickly, ahead of Glenn Lynch, Lawrence Katsidis and Craig Watson driving a Westfield XTR2 sports car.  Al Palmer, who many would have picked to be the most consistent, unfortunately missed the session repairing his car and Rodney Brincat had to park it half way through with an air filter failure.

 I’m not sure there was a complete understanding of the regularity concept, with most of the field taking the opportunity to see by how much they could beat their nominated time and a number managing to do it by some margin!   However most were grateful for an extra run before racing began in earnest.

 

Time thento go racing proper, and from the rolling start Glenn Lynch led the field away, with both Aaron McClintock (inside) and Lawrence Katsidis (outside) pushing hard for position. It didn’t take long for the red mist to descend, and as a result Lawrence found a fair amount of grass on the way down to turn 2 – unsurprisingly it didn’t prove to be the quickest way there, with Aaron passing Glenn for the lead, ahead of the Turn Two Guru, Al Palmer, Chris Lynch and Lawrence falling back to 5th.  At the end of the first lap they were followed by Luc Botton, Ross McAlpine charging hard from the rear of the field, Justin McClintock, Rod Brincat dropping a couple of spots, and Craig Watson in the Westfield in 10th

Lap 2 saw both McAlpine and Watson undo their good work with offs, sending them to rear of field, while Brincat and Simon Bathgate in the Radical SR3 made gains to 8th and 9th respectively. Closer to the front Chris Lynch and Katsidis continued to put pressure on Palmer, but on lap 3 Lynch had a moment which resulted in Katsidis moving to 4th.

On lap 5 McClintock slowed and eventually retired, stopping in response to an oil pressure warning light.  This left Glenn Lynch well ahead of the rest of the field and able to cruise home easily for a win. Katsidis had chased down Palmer and taken 2nd, and Chris Lynch had also recovered to hold 3rd and was challenging strongly for 2nd close to the end of the race.  Brincat continued to work through the field to finish 5th behind Palmer, with Justin McClintock, Bathgate, McAlpine (despite further misadventures) Phil Morrow and Graeme Hayles in the Royale Sports 2000 rounding out the top 10.  Botton retired after running strongly, purely a precautionary measure ahead of the big Historic meeting at Phillip Island in a few weeks.

As noted however, this was a ‘point’ race with drivers rewarded for improving lap times, and maintaining gaps or improving places, so finishing positions were not the most important factor.  In the wash-up, after Rick had run the details through his super-computer, the race winners were Glenn Lynch in the Outright Class and Ross McAlpine in the Cup Class, the rear-of-grid start proving to be a useful tactic!.

 

The final race saw a very unusual turn of events and something we don’t often see in FRCA:  Team Orders!  Experiencing brake issues in the gold car, Glenn chose to take over the yellow car for the final event, leaving Chris without a drive.  Until that point Chris had been faster……. let’s hope Chris is not forced to sit out the season for making the novice error of being quicker that the team’s ‘No.1’ driver.

Somehow Glenn managed to start from pole in a replacement car (a tactical error in that he could have scored heavily by charging through the field) and he led the field away with Katsidis, Palmer, and Brincat following closely, ahead of what turned out to be an ‘interesting’ Turn 1 further back in the field.  The Sports 2000 of Hayles and the Westfield of Watson came into contact, twice, resulting in Hayles’ car spinning across the front of both Phil Morrow’s Reynard and Bathgate’s Radical – a very near miss for Phil (“I ducked” he said – mind you there’s not a lot of spare space in that cockpit to duck into) and narrowly avoiding major contact with Bathgate took avoiding action and found himself in the kitty litter.

Aaron McClintock made his way through the field to be 4th at the end of the first lap, moving ahead of Palmer on lap 2 and then ahead of Katsidis on lap 5, but had no realistic chance of reeling in Lynch in 7 laps. Katsidis kept station with Lynch in the early part of the race but lost ground once he had to deal with McClintock.  Behind them Brincat tailed Palmer for the whole race, with never much more than a second in it, but finding a way past proved difficult, especially as Turn 2 is the main opportunity and you’re unlikely to get the Guru there.  McAlpine, Justin McClintock and Phil Morrow were the remaining finishers on the lead lap.  The ‘points’ in the Outright Class went to Glenn Lynch ahead of the consistently improving Rod Brincat, whilst Al Palmer won the Cup Class.

 

So at the end of the day the Summer Shakedown Cup went as follows:

  

Reg.

Race 1

Race 2

Total

Open Class

     

Glenn Lynch

Dallara F398 / F397

12

15

15

42

Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301

15

5

10

30

Lawrence Katsidis

Dallara F304

10

12

8

30

Rod Brincat

Dallara F304

5

10

12

27

Craig Watson

Westfield XTR2

8

8

5

21

Simon Bathgate

Radical SR3

6

6

6

18

      

Cup Class

     

Ross McAlpine

Dallara F397

8

15

12

35

Justin McClintock

Galloway Sports 1300

15

12

8

35

Phil Morrow

Reynard 923

10

8

10

28

Al Palmer

TOMS Toyota 036F

0

10

15

25

Luc Botton

Cheetah Mk8

12

3

0

15

Chris Lynch

Dallara F397

5

6

0

11

Graham Hayles

Royale RP42 Sports 2000

6

5

0

11

Shayne Morrow

PRS Formula 2

4

4

0

8

 

And for those interested in who did what times, the fastest times of the day were:

Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301

1:02.304

Glenn Lynch

Dallara F397

1:02.720

Chris Lynch

Dallara F397

1:02.735

Lawrence Katsidis

Dallara F304

1:04.322

Al Palmer

TOMS Toyota 036F

1:04.540

Rodney Brincat

Dallara F304

1:04.680

Ross McAlpine

Dallara F397

1:06.427

Luc Botton

Ransburg Cheetah

1:08.110

Simon Bathgate

Radical SR3

1:08.245

Phil Morrow

Reynard 923

1:09.099

Justin McClintock

Galloway Sports 1300

1:09.234

Graham Hayles

Royale RP42 Sports 2000

1:13.737

Craig Watson

Westfield XTR2

1:15.096

Shane Morrow

PRS F2

1:17.236

 

2016: Round 1 Report – Wakefield Park

2016 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1
5 & 6 March 2016
Wakefield Park

 

AGI Sport driver Nathan Gotch in his Dallara F307 Renault has won our opening round in hot conditions at Wakefield Park.  It was a dominant display: taking pole, all three race wins and setting a new championship lap record along the way with a hot lap of 56.33 seconds around the Goulburn circuit.  Whilst none of the other drivers could match his pace, there was certainly plenty of hard racing behind him, with second place decided by less than half a second in all three races and plenty of action throughout the field. 

1

Al checks his mirrors to see if Lynchy still has his race face on.

Qualifying

A field of 15 was boosted on Friday afternoon with news that reigning champion Nick Filipetto was making a late entry.  Unfortunately by the time cars rolled out for qualifying on Saturday morning we were down to 14 cars:  Nick’s effort being stymied by gearbox issues; and the eagerly awaited debut of Andrew Tendli in the ex- Andrew Wlodek Dallara F304 delayed due to other commitments.

Nevertheless there was plenty of interest in other ‘new’ entries – Ron Coath and Richie Scarcella both debuting F307 Dallaras, Rob Sviderskas having his first outing in the ex- Dennie Rumble F304, and Ron Bennet having his first drive in the ex- Garnet Patterson F301.  Add in Lawrence Katsidis, having his first championship race in his new F304 Dallara, after a successful debut at the Summer Shakedown a fortnight earlier, and you felt a little bit left out if you didn’t have a new car. 

Even something old was something new – Peter Warren’s March was the oldest car in the field, and he’s owned it for 35 years, but it was a welcome ‘new’ addition to the FRCA ranks. 

Once things were under way a sense of familiar replaced the new:  certainly there’s nothing new about AGI Sport heading the time sheet, and Nathan Gotch added to his long list of pole positions with a 57.19 second lap, almost as scorching as the track conditions.  Aaron McClintock, back in the Dallara F301 for the first time in nearly a year, had the front row wrapped up with an impressive 58.16 lap, until Greg Muddle bettered that with a 57.99 – in the 57’s by the barest of margins but a ‘57’ non the less – placing F301 Dallaras in 2nd and 3rd.  Lawrence Katsidis impressed by taking 4th position with a 59.05, ahead of Andrew Wlodek in the F307 Dallara also in the 59’s.

Ron Bennet qualified 6th with a 60.79 second lap, loving the new car and being the most impressive of the debutantes.  Ron edged out Glenn Lynch and Peter Warren, the later having a difficult session with a spin that briefly brought out the red flags and later some contact damage.  Still, the car looked and sounded great, and was quick enough to edge out Al Palmer in the TOMS Toyota and Ross McAlpine in his ‘spare car’, the F397, who completed the top 10.  Outside the top 10 Phil Morrow struggled with timing issues and was off his expected pace, while Ron Coath and Rob Sviderskas were both working times down consistently in their new cars.  Richie Scarcella failed to completed practice, the car coming to a halt with engine issues, which on closer inspection turned out to be a sheared flywheel bolt, which finished his weekend.

 

Race 1

Peter Warren withdrew when a cracked oil cooler was discovered in the dummy grid, and that left 13 cars to roll out for the 14-lap first race in 30+ temperatures on Saturday afternoon. 

When the lights went out Gotch led the field away, but on the other side of the grid Muddle stalled, causing some disruption to the cars behind.  Wlodek made the most of this and was able to jump into second, with McClintock, Katsidis, Bennet, Palmer and Lynch following in the race to the first corner.

Gotch quickly got down to 58 second laps and then into the 57’s, opening a gap on Wlodek and McClintock, who stayed engaged a close encounter for 8 laps, the two cars never more than a second apart until McClintock found a way through at Turn 10. 

Katsidis was desperately trying to hold onto this tussle, but by lap 5 had his mirrors full of Muddle, who had worked back through the field from 8th at the end of lap 1 to 5th on lap 3. Katsidis defended his position successfully, although Muddle was briefly through under brakes at the ‘Fish-hook’ on lap 7, but ran wide on the exit, returning the place.

A great dice was going on behind these cars with Bennet Palmer and Lynch separated by less than 2 seconds through to the 6th lap.  Lynch however was starting to experience brake issues, and on lap 7 he speared straight off at the end of the main straight, rears locked and fronts doing nothing, heading off towards the tyre barrier. Fortunately the gravel trap pulled him up a metre or so short.

Eventually this brought out the safety car and, not for the last time on the weekend, mayhem ensued.  There are three fundamental problems with safety cars:  deployment, restarts, and everything that happens in between. Other than that they might work well, but not this weekend.

2

Gringo and Ron searching for the ‘Go Faster’ button before Race 1.

Getting it out involves signalling to drivers that a safety car has been deployed, but unfortunately not all drivers saw the signal, Ron Bennet dropping from 6th to 8th on the road as a result.  Laps 9 to 12 were conducted under ‘safety car conditions’ which involved toddling around at what’s supposed to be 80 kmh but resembled Driving Miss Daisy through a School Zone.

Then when racing was re-started on lap 13 there was the problem of 4 cars all eager to contest 2nd place but stuck behind lapped traffic, and that lapped traffic. The lapped cars were quite quick in a straight line and involved in their own argument for place, which made for an interesting time:  McClintock struggled to find a way through to no avail; Katsidis lost a front wing plate in contact at Turn 1; at both Turn 2 and the ‘Fish-hook’ there were cars all over the place; and when an opportunity arose at Turn 10 McClintock got boxed out on the left and Wlodek, Katsidis and Muddle all made their way through.

In the battle behind, Morrow relinquished his place (to no avail, there is no recognition of ‘redressing’ and he still copped a 30 second penalty), while both Bennet and McAlpine bot managed to pass Palmer on the final lap.

Gotch was able to open a sizeable lead with the free-for-all going on behind, and he managed to win comfortably by 16 seconds from Wlodek.  Muddle made a deep dive in the Turn 10 braking area to steal 3rd from Katsidis, with McClintock, Bennet, McAlpine, close behind and Palmer and Morrow trailing. Coath had been slow away from the line but had caught Sviderskas by mid-race, only to lose 10th spot to him on the final lap.

 

Race 2

When the cars rolled out on Sunday morning it was “déjà vu all over again” – sunny and clear, hot track, Gotch eager to clear off and leave everyone else fighting over the minor placed.  12 cars rolled out for the 12 lap race, Peter Warren’s March unable to be repaired and Glenn Lynch running his ‘back-up car’ the newly painted gold Dallara F398.  McAlpine was a late arrival as he had to be tow-started due to a starter motor failure.

This time the front row got away cleanly, Gotch leading Wlodek into the first turn.  Muddle made much better start from third, followed by Bennet, who was the big mover jumping into 4th ahead of both McClintock and Katsidis who got a poor start.  Morrow also made a cracking start, but undid the good work with a spin at the end of the lap. Behind Katsidis at the end of lap 1 there was a gap opening up to Palmer, Sviderskas, McAlpine, Lynch and Coath, who again had difficulty getting away.

The race settled into a familiar pattern, with Gotch skipping away pumping out ever faster times, getting down to a new Formula Cars state record of 56.33 second by mid-race, before winding back in the final stages.

Behind him there was an huge struggle developing between Wlodek and Muddle, and they maintained a gap of less than half a second for the majority of the race – Wlodek opening a small gap on the uphill straight, Muddle closing it on the chase down, and all passing spots resolutely shut at Turn’s 2, 8 and 10 and the drag down the straight.  Wlodek’s efforts were nearly rewarded, but on the final lap his car was baulked by a back-marker and got loose on the exit which allowed Muddle to get through on the last turn and claim second.

McClintock had lost ground and position early in the race, and although in the closing stages he was dragging in Muddle and Wlodek at a rapid rate he ran out of laps and had to settle for 4th.

Katsidis, Bennet and Palmer had fairly lonely races in 5th to 7th respectively.  Behind them, McAlpine and Lynch had capitalised on a Sviderskas error on lap 4.  McAlpine held 8th place, but Lynch again suffered brake issues (despite the change of car) and trailed away in the later stages of the race.  Sviderskas was able to recover 9th, ahead of Morrow, who recovered from his earlier excursion to post some good lap times and finish 10th, ahead of Coath and Lynch.

3

Out on his own – Nathan Gotch on his way to victory in Race 1 on Saturday

Race 3

The same 12 cars lined up for the 16 lap Trophy Race (Lynchy not having a 3rd car to change into!) and once again the race was conducted in sunny conditions on a hot but clean track.

Gotch again got the start, but it was closely held lead from Muddle, with Wlodek thinking about an inside move for second on the run into Turn 2 but not being able to make it stick.  Bennet again made the most of the start jumping from 6th to 5th.  Behind him on the grid, Palmer dropped 4 places to 11th, but aside from that everyone held station on the first lap.

With Gotch setting the pace Muddle was able to open a bit of a gap on Wlodek and McClintock in the first couple of laps, but once the pattern of the race settled they slowly started to reel him in.  Behind the lead cars, Bennet undid his good work with an ‘off’ at the top of the circuit on lap 2 that dropped him from 5th to 10th, before having a further moment a couple of laps later that put him to the rear of the field.  This lifted Katsidis to 5th followed by McAlpine, Sviderskas and Morrow, with Morrow making up a further place on lap 6.  Lynch followed, being slowly reeled in by Palmer, who was up to 9th by lap 7, and gained a further place by passing Sviderskas on lap 8.

Further up the road, Wlodek and McClintock had caught on Muddle; the gap was never much more than a second and a half but had closed to nothing by lap 5, Wlodek doing a good job of chasing considering he was busy defending McClintock off at the same time.  Wlodek’s best opportunity was a good run through Turn 2 to use his advantage up the hill, but in the effort to achieve this he locked a brake and spun the car on the way into that corner on lap 9.  He resumed racing, but must have broken something in the process because the car subsequently spun at turn 5, beaching itself on the inside ripple strip and giving us another opportunity to get the safety car right. 

Unfortunately nobody made the most of the opportunity:  McClintock missed the signal and took the opportunity to pass Muddle for 2nd, which would subsequently cost him a 30 second penalty;  and the safety car initially deployed behind our race leader Gotch, necessitating some hasty re-organisation before the restart.  To this, we had the added benefit of an intense struggle for 5th to 9th queued up in front the battle for 2nd and 3rd, so when the lights went out and the safety car went off it was action stations for the following two laps. 

With Gotch again cruising to victory, Muddle passed McClintock in traffic at Turn 10 on the penultimate lap, but both drivers were still left with the McAlpine-Bennet-Palmer battle for 5th to negotiate on the last lap.  This afforded an opportunity to watch Bennet attempt to undercut Palmer at Turn 9 (the right-hander onto the back straight), where unfortunately the ripple-strip is not very forgiving and launched Bennet sideways (with goo hang-time). Ron managed to regain control, of sorts, but not before Palmer had taken cross-country avoiding action.  Muddle was defensive into Turn 10, allowing McClintock a traditional line to cut-back for a drag to the line, and there wasn’t a bee’s appendage in it, although it was rather academic once the officials added 30 seconds to McClintock’s time.

Katsidis followed in to claim 3rd, any chance of challenging Muddle and McClintock in the closing stages lost to a gearbox that was stuck in the one gear. A lap down McAlpine finished 5th and the leading ‘Cup Class’ car, ahead of Sviderskas and Coath who were beneficiaries of the Bennet-Palmer fracas.  Lynch trailed in 10th, and Phil Morrow retired with not healthy noises coming from the engine after challenging McAlpine strongly for position in the middle of the race.

 

Outright points: 

Nathan Gotch  60,  Greg Muddle  46,  Lawrence  Katsidis  36,  Aaron McClintock  34,
Andrew Wlodek  30,  Ross McAlpine  23,  Ron Bennet  22,  Al Palmer  18, Rob Sviderskas   17, 
Ron Coath  11,  Phil Morrow  9,  Glenn Lynch  6

 

Class Based points:

Greg Muddle  60,  Nathan Gotch  51,  Ross McAlpine  47,  Lawrence Katsidis  46,  Al Palmer  43,  Aaron McClintock  44,  Ron Coath  35,  Ron Bennet  34,  Rob Sviderskas  32,  Glenn Lynch  30,  Andrew Wlodek  26,  Phil Morrow  22

 

Short Bursts

  • Is there any truth in the rumour that Lynchy only retired his yellow car to have a better shot at winning the ‘Best Presented’ award in his newly painted gold F398? Expect to see more interesting tactics appear as the battle for this prestigious award heats up.
  • Seems that the thing to acquire in the off-season was a guru. While the Team Coath has set a consistently high benchmark by employing the invaluable services of Gringo, and both AGI and Team McAlpine have very professional looking team mangers to keep their drivers in check, for this round no fewer than three other competitors turned up with their ‘National Series’ mentors in tow.: Rob Sviderskas was sporting assistance from Alpine Motor Sports, in anything but alpine conditions;  Ron Bennet had the Garnet Pattersons (Snr & Jnr) on hand; and Lawrence had Paul Scott in his corner. 
  • With all the data analysis going on – guru’s deep in though and more computers than you could poke a stick at – it was good to see that some old fashioned calculus, on the back of an envelope, with the assistance of beer, can still solve how the question of how many degrees advance is represented by one tooth on a flywheel. Too easy!  Knowing which way is forward and which is back however….
  • 0467 seconds – usually not a critical amount of time over 16 laps, but if you have a Dallara F301 you can make that up simply by moving your Dorian from the back of the sidepod to the front, as Greg and Aaron found when they crossed the line together. You never know when that might come in handy.

 

 

 

 

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