Club Track Day & 2017 Interstate Challenge
17 December 2017 / Words by Ian Combes, Photos by Rob Wilkins & Keith Monaghan
The track day at Sydney Motorsport Park Amaroo Circuit on 18th November 2017 was the Interstate Challenge with the MX-5 Club of Victoria & Tasmania. Unfortunately, a number of our regulars were away at the Bathurst Challenge that weekend. Still, being on one of our home tracks, we felt quietly confident of wresting the trophy back from the Victorians. The weather forecast guaranteed rain throughout the day, but It turned out to be good day – fine, but not too hot. Some of our drivers were dismayed because they had only brought their "wet" tyres, giving away a significant advantage to the Victorians.
There were 85 entrants on the day, including 11 from the Victorian Club. In the Interstate Challenge, the MX-5 Club of NSW was represented by Michael DeMaio, Greg Unger, Phil Reid (class 1), Luke Kovacic (class 3), Graham Fletcher, Danilo Poropat (class 4), Gustavo Elias, Mark Kavanagh (class 6), Andrew Digney (class 7), Josh Fitzgerald (class 8) and Russ Maxwell (10). Unfortunately, the Victorians hadn't entered anyone in class 2 or class 9, so two of our strongest contenders (Bryan and Ralph) were without dance partners from the South. That would prove costly.
The day got off to a rocky start with some issues with radios delaying the start of proceedings. It was bemusing sitting on the dummy grid watching Blake Hotz doing laps of the track in Mike Hicks’ course car. I think Blake almost got more laps in than I did that day!
All the action was at Brocky’s corner (05). Jon Fox had a day that he would probably like to forget, creasing a few panels after losing it on the exit. One of our Victorian friends split a coolant hose going into turn 5, ending up in the kitty litter after spinning on his own coolant. Been there, done that (at Winton funnily enough).
In the Interstate Challenge, the Victorians took out class 1 (Gareth Pedley), class 4 (Max Lloyd), class 7 (Alan Conrad) and class 8 (Kim Cole). NSW claimed class 3 (Luke Kovacic), class 6 (Gustavo Elias) and class 10 (Russ Maxwell). Overall, the Victorians retained the trophy with a 119 to 99 point victory. Not being able to compete in class 2 or class 9 was unfortunate, as was having a number of our fastest regulars competing at Bathurst on the same weekend. We will be taking the next Interstate Challenge at Winton in Victoria a bit more seriously!
In our Club Championship battle, the class winners were Michael DeMaio (class 1 - 1:09.867), Bryan Shedden (class 2 - 1:06.466), Luke Kovacic (class 3 - 1:05.580), Graham Fletcher (class 4 - 1:09.590), Mat Fraser (class 5 - 1:06.303), Gustavo Elias (class 6 - 1:05.657), Andrew Digney (class 7 - 1:06.254), Phillip Donnelley (class 8 - 1:06.837), Ralph Thompson (class 9 - 1:03.023), and Russ Maxwell (class 10 - 1:02.689). Fastest non-MX-5 was Cody Skoumbourdis - 1:06.944. The fastest of the visitors from Victoria was Kim Cole (1:05.327).
Rob Wilkins' Photos: