October 2018 was a long time ago! That was when the previous round of CSCA supersprinting was held, so there was much anticipation from competitors and the Club Lotus Australia Motorsport Committee as our first sprint of the year approached.
The first round of 2019 saw the introduction of a new class scheme to the series with the goal of improving parity between competitors, especially around modifications and engine sizes. After a little bit of head and bum scratching, the classes seem fairly straightforward. It will be interesting to get feedback from members as we get deeper into the season.
The forecast was looking good, if a little warm (actually, very warm) for the weekend. At least 46 competitors arrived on Friday and were scrutineered – taking the pressure off Saturday morning.
Saturday morning arrived cool and sunny with 93 competitors ready and willing. Thirty five of those competitors were CLA members, making this, from memory, the largest Lotus contingent assembled at a CSCA sprint. This is a great number, even considering that this is our round, so thank you and well done all!
Club Lotus Australia members turned out in force to assist, even if they weren’t running. Brett Stevens, Peter and Lachlan Klumper, Anne Blackwood, Cathy Sheppard, Mike Basquil and Neal Trama all made the road trip to Goulburn to help out, even though they were not entered. Many of these members spent the whole day helping and marshalling. Many, many thanks to all involved. You made a huge contribution to the success of the day!
As we gathered for the driver briefing, the Group 1 contingent were ready to go on the dummy grid, with Lotus the weapon of choice in the majority and presented in a vast array of colours, engine sizes and series.
But wait, there was movement before the off, with Duncan Andrews, 2018 CSCA Champion Driver, seen driving back to the pits. Have the S1s of the Mackie Bros spooked him? Has the Yella Terra of Leigh Fuller or the Green Machine of Martin Duursma sent too many shivers down his spine?? Well, nothing so sinister.. it was a missing transponder – just one of those early season jitters and the right order was quickly sorted out.
The day progressed with a few spinners early, but as the track heated up this became a rear event, with the exception of one Queensland-registered green Elise, that decided to play in the gravel and bought out the red flag. As the car and driver (Hello, Mr. Mather) returned to the pits, it was obvious why the new shade of ochre wasn’t a standard colour for S1 Elises!
CLA even pioneered a new sequence of groupings under the outstanding leadership of Kyle ‘Doc’ Lange. As the day progressed you normally fill up the grids with a mix of groups of similar speeds – like 1 and 2. But as an ‘ideas’ man, Doc decided why not make it super-efficient and bring together groups 5,6, 7 and 8! So impressed was the Clerk of Course that Doc received a personal visit on the grid to thank him for his efforts, but to relay the message that he was way too ahead of his time. Order was soon restored – amongst some ‘friendly’ CLA banter and air-kisses. (To be fair – Doc was trying to sort out the only hiccup of the day that happened before he got there – but never let a ‘Doc’ opportunity go to waste!)
So, on to the results!
Fastest marque car of the day was ‘Mr. Transponder’, Duncan Andrews with a 1:04:2 – what a great time – well done Duncan. (Also fastest in P2). Next up was the Green Machine of Martin Duursma in the Cup 430 with a 1:05.2 (fastest in M3). Tim Mackie was next in the S1 Honda Elise with a 1:05:4 (fastest in R1). The ‘1:05’ brigade was rounded out by Leigh Fuller with a 1:05:7 (Fastest in P3). The close sprinting between Martin and Leigh was fantastic and had many a punter on their feet – it’s great to see how close these combatants are at speed.
Mark Meletopoulo had a great run and set a 1:06:6, followed closely but the mercurial Syd Reinhardt with a 1:06:9 in the S1. Syd never ceases to amaze with these great times. Dave Mackie set a 1:07:180, closely followed by the ‘Brown Bomber’, Barry Maher with a 1:07:187 – oh so close with Dave.
Len Goodwin set a sensational time with a 1:07:5, with his goal being to set a time in the ‘7evens’. He certainly did that with superb and consistent driving (fastest in CD1 – pre 1986 competition cars).
Liam Sheppard came home with 1:08:2, fastest in M2. He was close to his PB and almost a second clear of the second place competitor. Graham Burton posted a 1:08:8 in the Hawke FF, Peter Deller a 1:08:9 and John Deller a 1:09:1, both in the Commodore, so that family rivalry is alive and well – great times.
Peter Taylor finished with a 1:09:1 and was nudging so closer to the 1:08s all day. It will be there next time. Brendan James came in with a 1:09:2 – a great time as this was the first shakedown of the Cup 250 since Targa High Country.
Kyle ‘Doc’ Lange came in with a 1:09:2 – a terrific time and the fastest in M1. Well done ‘Ideas Man’. Steve Madden set his PB with a 1:09:3 and his excitement was there for all to see – great job Steve. Rex Hodder was also shaking down the car and came in with a 1:09:7. “Always On It” Ashton Roskill posted a 1:09:9, followed closely by James Kinghorn with a 1:10:4. Ashton and James battled it out all day and it was great to watch.
Gino Valdes posted a 1:10:7, David Hogan a 1:10:7 and the immaculate Banks Europa of Terry Waugh posted a 1:11:4 – a great time, a great car and a great driver. Craig Sheppard posted a 1:11:8, Keith Edwards a 1:12:1 and Phil Easterbrook a 1:13:1 – we believe that a least one time was a PB here.
The next driver could very well be the CLA driver of the day. Ryan Lange (son of Doc) was attending his first supersprint. He started off tentatively and continued to improve during the day. Doc was never far away mentoring the young Lange and Ryan set his fastest time of the day on his last lap – a 1:13:6. Brilliant result Ryan – well done! It should also be noted that on this last lap – Ryan ‘dragged’ a track-focussed Commodore down the straight – piping it by half a car length on the line. Big smiles by the Lange family all round!
John Culvenor’s immaculate S1 Elise posted a 1:13:8 and Peter Wolsey came in with a 1:14:0.
Jen Hogan posted a 1:15:6 in the Super 7 – a great time to win the AB1 class. It was also wonderful to see Jen and this car on the track. Dennis Brady posted a 1:15:6 with Mel Valdes on a personal best 1:16:9 – great stuff.
Gemma Gibson, well known to us all, was also attending her first CSCA event and posted a PB 1:20:0. A terrific time – well done Gemma.
None of this would have happened without the herculean efforts of Dave Mackie and Mel and Gino Valdes. These folks had everything organised so that the day ran like clockwork (yes an analogue clock!) You guys make the CLA look good.
A big thank you to all of the CLA members who volunteered both leading up to and during the day. Nick (Clerk of Course), said to a few of us that the CLA event is the best organised club event of the year held at Wakefield and only one of a few club events that he officiates at.
So, that’s a wrap for the CLA CSCA event of 2019 – the next event will be at SMSP (South) on the 14th April hosted by the Sprite Car Club. We look forward to seeing you there!
Yours in motorsport,
The CLA Motorsport Committee.