There was no stopping Mark Dwyer’s Lola T400 at the final round of the 2011 MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at the Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix meeting, held March 25-27 2011 at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. The visiting British driver completing a qualifying-and-race clean sweep with another lights-to-flag victory in the six-lap season finale.
Despite downplaying his achievement – ‘everything just fell into place really,’ he said afterwards – Dwyer was the class of the MSC field this year, adding two more victories at the Albert Park track to the one he earned when the MSC series first joined the support class roster at the annual Australian Grand Prix meeting in 2009.
Sunday’s race, which was shortened from eight to six laps when a track marshal fell ill just before the MSC field took to the track, followed a similar format to Saturday’s with Dwyer easing away from his fellow front row starter (in this case top local driver Aaron Lewis in his Chevron B24) and building a lead that no one – not even local hotshots Andrew Robson and James Davison (both Lola T332), and Dwyer’s compatriot Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) – could make an impression on.
That the trio tried is evident by the results – Robson was able to get all the way up to second place with Davison third while fourth placed Thornton set the fastest race lap on his way to fourth – but all three were up against it after failing to finish the first race meant they had to start the second from the back of the grid.
As it was the trio was lucky the second race wasn’t red flagged on the first lap after an incident saw McRae GM1 drivers Stu Lush and Aaron Burson tangle on the start/finish straight.
Of the three Robson was the one who really had the bit between his teeth, making it up to seventh place at the end of the first lap, fifth by the end of the second and second – where he stayed till the flag came out – by the end of the fourth lap.
Davison and Thornton both took a little longer, the former still in 13th place at the end of the first lap, the latter just ahead in 12th. Both made big gains on the second lap however – Davison to seventh Thornton to ninth – before Davison put in a last late race charge to claim two more places – from fifth to third – on the final lap.
Local driver Bryan Sala (Matich A50) did well to grab second place from compatriot Aaron Lewis early on but like Lewis he was eventually shuffled back by the hard-charging Robinson/Davison/Thornton trio, the order at the flag, Dwyer, Robson, Davison, Thornton, Lewis and Abbott.
Former MSC series champion Ian Clement (Lola T332) was another to spend the race working his way forward, eventually getting to 11th, the Christchurch man another to have to start the race from the back of the grid, in his case after not even making the start of the first race when his car’s clutch cried enough.
Not so lucky were South African Greg Mills (Sana RD11) and Australian driver Chris Hocking (Matich A53), the pair out after contact saw Hocking’s car catapult over Mills’.
Top local driver Darcy Russell (Lola T330) was another who failed to finish, puncturing a tyre after a scrape with one of the trackside walls.
Gearbox problems, meanwhile, meant series newcomer Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) didn’t even get to complete a lap.
Race 1 (Saturday) 8 laps
Race two winner Mark Dwyer had a similar lights-to-flag run in the first MSC race of the weekend on Saturday, eventually crossing the finish line just over 20 seconds ahead of Aaron Lewis and David Abbott.
After qualifying on Thursday, high hopes were held for local young gun James Davison, son of period F5000 class racer Jon, and grandson of four-time Australian Grand Prix winner Lex Davison.
But after joining Dwyer on the front row of the grid for the race on Saturday Davison managed less than a lap before his car’s magneto cried enough.
Chris Lambden was also in the wars on the opening lap, clashing with fellow McRae driver Aaron Burson as the paired braked for the first turn and ending up – with Burson – in the gravel trap.
Initially Greg Thornton and Andrew Robson slotted into second and third place respectively with Aaron Lewis fourth and David Abbott fifth.
That’s the way the race could well have finished too had Robson not been slowed and eventually stopped by a fuel starvation problem and Thornton not ended up in a gravel trap after an unsuccessful move on race leader Dwyer.
With both Thornton and Robson out Lewis inherited second place, Abbott third, with Darcy Russell leading home an all-Australian mid-field pack consisting of Tony Floreani, Bryan Sala, Paul Zazryn, Chris Hocking, Peter Brennan, and Bill Hemming.
Next step for the globe-trotting Kiwis behind the successful New Zealand-based MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is a trip to the UK to contest two major historic motor racing meetings at the end of June and beginning of July.
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.
MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series Rnd 6 (final) Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix Thurs-Sun March 24-27 2011
1. Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) 1:58.3670*
2. James Davison (Lola T332) 1:58.9207
3. Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) 2:00.2644
4. Andrew Robson (Lola T332) 2:01.5289
5. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 2:01.6281
6. David Abbott (Lola T430) 2:01.6358
7. Aaron Lewis (Matich A50) 2:01.7577
8. Darcy Russell (Lola T330) 2:02.5688
9. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 2:03.9307
10. Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) 2:04.4438
11. Tony Floreani (Elfin MR5) 2:04.6603
12. Bryan Sala (Matich A50) 2:06.4325
13. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 2:07.3634
14. Hamish Paterson (Chevron B32) 2:07.7439
15. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8AC) 2:07.8941
16. Chris Hocking (Matich A53) 2:08.2103
17. Peter Brennan (Lola T332) 2:09.7768
18. Stuart Lush (McRae GM1) 2:10.7922
19. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 2:12.2482
20. Graham Smith (March 732A) 2:13.1866
21. Mike Glynn (Lola T400) 2:16.7204
22. Stan Redmond (Lola T332) 2:17.7850
23. Greg Mills (Sana RD11) 2:18.9143
24. Phillip Lewis (Chevron B23) 2:19.2726
25. Paul Trevethan (Elfin MR6L) 2:41.3675
26. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5)
Race 1 (Saturday) 8 laps
1. Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) 16:00.7637
2. Aaron Lewis (Chevron B24)16:21.0098
3. David Abbott (Lola T430) 16:23.5591
4. Darcy Russell (Lola T330) 16:35.2766
5. Tony Floreani (Elfin MR5) 16:48.6778
6. Bryan Sala (Matich A50) 16:58.8270
7. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 17:06.4960
8. Chris Hocking (Matich A53) 17:09.6347
9. Peter Brennan (Lola T332) 17:25.9869
10. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8 AC) 17:41.4580
11. Greg Mills (Sana RD11) 17:44.3344
12. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 17:47.6896
13. Mike Glynn (Lola T400) 17:47.7809
14. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 17:50.3077
15. Paul Trevethan (Elfin MR6L) 17:17.0768
DNF. Andrew Robson, Greg Thornton, Phillip Lewis, Graham Smith, Chris Lambden, Stan Redmond, Stuart Lush, James Davison, Aaron Burson, Hamish Paterson,
Race 2 (Saturday) 6 laps)
1. Mark Dwyer (Lola T332) 12:01.1481
2. Andrew Robson (Lola T332) 12:07.3879
3. James Davison (Lola T332) 12:13.0904
4. Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) 12:15.0150
5. Aaron Lewis (Chevron B24) 12:17.0923
6. David Abbott (Lola T430) 12:24.5510
7. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 12:39.4151
8. Tony Floreani (Elfin MR5) 12:40.1382
9. Bryan Sala (Matich A50) 12:43.1505
10. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8 AC) 12:58.7037
11. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 12:58.8475
12. Stan Redmond (Lola T332) 12:59.3378
13. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 13:15.1463
14. Mike Glynn (Lola T400) 13:24.8204
15. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 13:26.4004
16. Peter Brennan (Lola T332) 13:38.9485 2
17. Graham Smith (March 732A) 13:42.7392
18. Paul Trevethan (Elfin MR6L) 14:15.5173
DNF. Greg Mills, Chris Hocking, Darcy Russell, Chris Lambden, Stuart Lush, Aaron Burson
NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival 2011 Race Calendar
Rnd 1: Oct 30/31 2010 Christchurch Casino Wigram revival meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 2: Jan 21-23 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Chris Amon meeting x 1 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 3: Jan 28-30 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Chris Amon meeting x 2 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 4: Feb 05/06 2011 Skope Classic meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 5: Feb 19-20 2011 Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting, Teretonga Park Invercargill
Rnd 6 (Final) March 25-27 2011 Qantas Australian Grand Prix March Albert Park Melbourne, Australia
[Source: NZ F5000 Assoc.; photo credit: Fast Company/Dirk Klynsmith]