Fastest qualifier Ken Smith drove his Lola T430 to win the rain-affected first MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race, held January 22nd, 2011, at the Hampton Downs circuit in the northern Waikato region of New Zealand.
After topping the time sheets in qualifying on Friday afternoon defending series champion Smith started the combined F5000/F1 race on the first day of competition at the first of two NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Chris Amon meetings favourite but found himself on the back foot after running wide into the first turn.
Making light of the streaming track conditions, however, he came back and in a dramatic move wrestled his way past fellow front row starter Mark Dwyer’s Lola T400 to reclaim the lead.
As it turned out that was very much it as far as the race was concerned, Canadian visitor Jay Esterer bringing out the red flag (to stop the race) soon after when he lost control of his McRae GM1 and clouted the infield wall on the way up the start/finish straight.
By the time the track was cleared the rain which had been falling steadily since earlier in the day had increased to such an intensity that a decision was made to complete the race under the Safety Car, Smith credited with the win from Dwyer, series young gun Michael Lyons (Lola T400) and fellow UK visitor Peter Dunn (March 73/A) with last season’s series runner-up Steve Ross (McRae GM1) fifth and F5000 category original Reg Cook (Lola T400) first of the series new faces in sixth.
Torrential rain has forced event officials to postpone Sunday’s programme at the first NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Chris Amon – meeting at Hampton Downs.
Since the first day of racing was compromised by the monsoon-like conditions, officials decided to call an early halt to proceedings because of the on-going effects of the inclement weather.
Fortunately the meeting was the first of two over consecutive weekends at the new circuit so entrants – particularly the many from overseas – will at least get a chance to contest their categories, including the programme-leading MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races, hopefully in better conditions, next weekend.
The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.
2010/11 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series – Qualifying
1. Ken Smith (Lola T430) 1.01.162
2. Michael Dwyer (Lola T400) 1.01.723
3. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 1.02.066
4. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.02.212
5. Roger Williams (Lola T332) 1.02.261
6. Peter Dunn (March 73/A) 1.02.670
7. Jay Esterer (McRae GM1) 1.02.681
8. Alastair Russell (McRae GM1) 1.03.245
9. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.03.432
10. Reg Cook (Lola T400) 1.03.852
11. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 1.03.997
12. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 1.04.252
13. Ian Cements (Lola T332) 1.04.633
14. Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) 1.05.122
15. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 1.05.167
16. Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) 1.05.585
17. Clark Proctor (March 73A-1)1.05.634
18. Ron Maydon (Amon AF1-01) 1.06.304
19. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 1.06.517
20. Frank Lyons (Gurney Eagle FA74) 1.06.709
21. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1.08.618
22. Peter Sundberg (Lola T332) 1.09.600
23. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 1.10.266
24. Poul Christie (Lola T190) 1.10.870
25. Kerry McIntosh (Begg FM2) 1.11.341
26. Hamish Paterson (Chevron B32) 1.13.511
NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival 2011 – Chris Amon Festival Race Results
1. Ken Smith 11:16.102
2. Mark Dwyer
3. Michael Lyons
4. Peter Dunn
5. Steve Ross
6. Reg Cook
7. Russell Greer
8. Ian Clements
9. Gregory Thornton
10. Brett Willis
11. Hamish Paterson
12. Michael Whatley
13. Frank Lyons
DNF. Jay Esterer
DNF. Poul Christie
DNF. Peter Sundberg
DNF. Aaron Burson
DNF. Ron Maydon
DNS. Roger Williams
DNS. Alastair Russell
DNS. Andrew Higgins
DNS. Sefton Gibb
DNS. Clark Proctor
DNS. Peter Burson
DNS. Warwick Mortimer
DNS. Kerry McIntosh
DNS. Shayne Windelburn
DNS. Stuart Lush
[Source: photo credit: NZ F5000 Assoc.; Fast Company/GroundSky Photography]