Recap round 5 of 2018’s CSCA sprint series, kindly hosted by MG Car Club Sydney at Sydney Motorsport Park, with this report from Craig Sheppard of the Motorsport Committee and photos thanks to Seth and Mel Valdes.
The MG Round
Rain was forecast for the entire week leading up to the MG Car Club Sydney’s round of 2018’s CSCA sprints, which gave us ample time to mentally prepare for a wet day of sprinting.
When Saturday the 25th of August dawned we awoke to rain, some torrential, for the drive in to the circuit. However, the hearty souls who braved the journey found themselves at a grey, cool and entirely dry and pleasant Sydney Motorsport Park. Good for the drivers and great for the cars – particularly those with forced induction!
Lower than usual numbers meant competitors went out in smaller groups. This meant that early on in the day session times could be increased so that up to seven laps of the Druitt/North layout could be completed in one session – unheard of at SMSP.
Once again Club Lotus Australia and their collective Lotii where the largest club represented on the day. All of the usual supersprinters were present, with the exception of those that had their steads on the way to Far North Queensland for the inaugural Targa Great Barrier Reef.
It was great to welcome back Barry Mather to the CSCA ranks. It has been five or so years since Barry last competed at a CSCA event and, while his car has changed series and colour, Barry’s lost none of the pace and good humour – great to see you again Barry!
So, on to the competition!
Group 1 was an all-Lotus affair with the addition of a Juno (aka the Pack of Cards). All Lotii ran well and a number of personal bests were set. It was also great to see no issues cropping up during the course of the morning!
Duncan Andrews lead the field and set the fastest lap of a 1:08:8, heading DM4 and also setting fastest marque car of the day. Great work Duncan!
Duncan was closely followed by Leigh Fuller, whose new clutch had more bite than jaws (last pun I promise). Leigh set a 1:10:0 and headed DM5. Great time and I believe a PB by the Yellow Exige CR.
With the Exige’s ‘spline’ mated, Dave Mackie set a 1:10:3 with no issues and was the fastest car in R1. He was closely followed by Barry Mather, who put in a 1:11:3 despite having not driven the track in this configuration before – great result. Unfortunately, the Green S1 Elise shook its ‘booty’ off a rear drive and covered the wheel arch with grease and was retired around lunchtime.
Gino Valdes set a stunning time of 1:13:8, a PB, and had a grin from one side of the garage to the other. Brendan James closely followed with a 1:14:1 and was a happy camper with a PB.
The ongoing battle and mentoring between Rex Hodder (DM2) and Liam Sheppard (DM4) continued unabated from the previous round. Liam took the Lotus mantra of ‘Just add lightness’ to a new level by turning up the dummy grid sans helmet and HANS, which was an effective strategy for weight loss, but not for safety. After an eager sprint back to the garage, he returned to the applause of the entire dummy grid. Throughout the day the call of “Liam don’t forget your helmet” was heard even as he headed off to the loo. Regardless, Rex and Liam were no more than 0.1 sec separated all day until the last session when Liam put in a personal best time of 1:14.1 to Rex’s 1:14:6.
Brett Stevens (1:14:99) and James Kinghorn (1:15:2) battled closely all day with some spirited driving and competition – PBs set by both. Craig Sheppard followed with a 1:15:8, a BP and narrowed the gap to Liam, who Craig shares the car with.
Peter Deller (1:15:9) followed in the Commodore, closely followed by Stephen Alcorn with a 1:16:5. Steve’s tyres had seen the ‘better side of life’ some events ago, so it was a great time considering the shape of the ‘boots’ (Not Barry’s mind you!)
Keith Edwards (1:17:6) continues to charge hard in the Audi RS3, as did Colin Rudd who continued to improve every session and set a 1:18:0. Great to see new participant Colin having fun and developing his skills.
Drum roll… 1:20 was the target and that was smashed with a 1:18:9, a PB and the Fastest Marque Lady Driver of the day. Well done Melanie Valdes! Mel’s driving just continues to get better and better – watch out Gino!
A great time was had by the CLA crew and it was great to see Mike Basquil and Angus Mackie cheering on their chargers.
So now it’s onto the Sprite round at the SMSP South Circuit on the 8th September – see you all there and … LIAM, DON’T FORGET YOUR HELMET!
Until next time,
The CLA Motorsport Committee.
Thanks to Mel Valdes
Thanks to Seth Reinhardt