Steve Ross added his name to the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy after a near perfect weekend at the annual Wigram Revival meeting, held Oct 26-28 2012 at Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna.
Competing in the 2012/13 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series, Ross, driving his McRae GM1, set the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday morning and went on to win all three F5000 category races, driving away from the field in each one while drama unfolded behind him.
Series super-vet Ken Smith (Lola T430), who was hunting for his fifth Lady Wigram title, finished second in the 15-lap Lady Wigram Trophy feature, while the youngest driver in the field, Alan Dunkley, from Auckland driving the oldest car, a high-wing 1968 Lola T140, finished third.
Ross, the defending MSC NZ F5000 series champion and early 2012/13 season points leader, was thrilled to have won the Lady Wigram Trophy, one he had been chasing for several years.
“It’s just brilliant. The car went beautifully all weekend and we got a bit of a buffer and just carried on,” said Ross.
As he did in the first two MSC races of the weekend Ross got the jump on fellow front runner starter Clark Proctor (March 73A) at the start of the Lady Wigram Trophy race but Proctor spun on the second of 15 laps allowing Smith to move into second.
Proctor dropped down to eleventh but then provided a crowd pleasing spectacle as he fought his way back through the field.
For much of the race Melbourne-based Kiwi expat Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) and Christchurch’s Ian Clements (Lola T332) provided a great battle for third until Clements spun coming onto the front straight when a suspension upright broke.
This gave Lambden some breathing space until he was caught two laps later by the hard charging Proctor.
Unfortunately these two then tangled at the hairpin with four laps to go when it looked as though a podium was within Proctor’s grasp. Both retired allowing young gun Alan Dunkley through to third.
“I’m absolutely stoked with it (the race),” said 22-year-old Dunkley. “Driving the oldest car on the grid and getting on the podium? You can’t ask for better than that. We set off with a medium pace not wanting to cook the tyres and just kept to that pace while others in front of us fell off.”
Although disappointed not to be have caught Ross, Smith was thrilled with his podium after earlier winning the Wigram Cup race driving one of his other cars, a 2-litre Swift DB4 Formula Atlantic single-seater, in the John Hawkins Memorial Formula Libre Invitation class.
“The weekend was mighty. I loved it,” said the 71-year-old. “At the end of the day we’ve had good fun in the little car (Swift DB4) and run second here today which is no mean feat.”
“He (Ross) had too much horsepower and I was losing brakes so I had to back off for the last six laps or so. The pedal was going flat to the floor and I had to pump it.”
Ross’s winning run began with a lights-to-flag victory in the weekend’s first MSC series race on Saturday afternoon. Clark Proctor joined Ross on the front row of the grid after beating Ken Smith to the second quickest qualifying time, but like Smith – who started from P3 on the second row of the grid – he was no match for Ross who set the fastest race lap – a 1:18:533 – as he edged away to cross the finish line just over 10 seconds ahead of Proctor with Smith a further three-quarters of a second back in third.
Fourth was Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua, fifth, former MSC series champion Ian Clements from Christchurch and sixth Chris Lambden.
Alan Dunkley showed signs on Saturday of what was to come with a qualifying lap which put him on the fourth row of the grid and early pace in the opening race which saw him up to sixth place. A spin put him back down the field though and he crossed the line back where he started – in eighth place.
Ross also won the weekend’s second MSC race on Sunday morning, this time by just over 17 seconds with Ken Smith this time pipping Clark Proctor for second. Smith didn’t get the best of starts and after being swamped in the run to the first corner found himself with some work to do.
“Steve (Ross) eased off at the line which was unfortunate,” said Smith. ” He should have kept it going as everybody had to back out and that’s when everyone jumped me.”
That dropped Smith from third to fifth after the first corner with Chris Lambden emerging in third place behind Ross – who was already pulling away – and Proctor.
It wasn’t long before Smith was making progress, however, the determined veteran catching and passing Brett Willis by the end of the first lap then Chris Lambden a lap later.
By this time Ross had a six second gap on Proctor with Smith a further three seconds back and catching. Smith then caught Proctor after six laps, passing him coming out of turn one. This was the order they finished.
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, Avon Tyres and Exide.
2012/13 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series – Round Two Wigram Revival Meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch Sat-Sun October 27 & 28 2012
1. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.17.850
2. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 1.19.375
3. Ken Smith (Lola T430) 1.20.002
4. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 1.20.352
5. Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) 1.20.968
6. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.21.180
7. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 1.21.289
8. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 1.22.081
9. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 1.23.389
10. David Abbott (Lola T430) 1.23.438
11. David Banks (Talon MR1A) 1.24.050
12. Lindsay O’Donnell (Begg FM5) 1.24.451
13. Stan Redmond (Lola T333CS) 1.26.278
14. Phil Mauger (McLaren M23 F1) 1.27.235
15. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) no time
Race 1 (8 laps Sat)
1. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 10:38:117
2. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 10:49:188
3. Ken Smith (Lola T430) 10:49:848
4. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 11:00:442
5. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 11:02:749
6. Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) 11:11:877
7. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 11:13:296
8. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 11:18:994
9. David Banks (Talon MR1A) 11:30:505
10. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 11:35:008
11. Lindsay O’Donnell (Begg FM5) 11:35:218
12. Phil Mauger (McLaren M23 F1) 11:40:157
13. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 11:42:493
14. David Abbott (Lola T430) 11:42:579
15. Stan Redmond (Lola T333CS) 12:01.939
Fastest lap: Steve Ross 1:18.533
Race 2 (8 laps Sun am)
1. Steve Ross 10:32.175
2. Ken Smith +17.811
3. Clark Proctor +17.940
4. Brett Willis +25.331
5. Ian Clements 11 +32.078
6. Chris Lambden +33.846
7. Aaron Burson +34.199
8. Alan Dunkley +35.383
9. David Abbott +39.343
10. Russell Greer +41.900
11. David Banks +45.225
12. Stan Redmond +53.470
13. Phil Mauger +53.486
14. Lindsay O’Donnell +55.101
dnf: Peter Burson
Fastest lap: Steve Ross 1.18.279
Race 3 Lady Wigram Trophy Race (Sun pm 15 laps)
1. Steve Ross 19:53.634
2. Ken Smith +20:24.787
3. Alan Dunkley +20:56.515
4. Aaron Burson +21:01.308
5. David Banks +21:06.773
6. Russell Greer +1 Lap 1:23.520
7. David Abbott + 1 Lap
8. Peter Burson + 1 Lap
dnf Phil Mauger, Clark Proctor, Chris Lambden, Ian Clements, Stanley Redmond,g/box Brett Willis, g/box Lindsay O’Donnell wing support
Fastest lap; Steve Ross 1:18.961
NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival 2012-13 – Calendar
Rnd 1: Aug 31-Sept 02 2012 Muscle Car Masters meeting Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) Sydney (full circuit)
Rnd 2: Oct 26-28 2012 Wigram Revival meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 3: Nov 23-25 2012 Tasman Revival meeting Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) Sydney (non-points)
Rnd 4: Jan 18-20 2013 NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Denny Hulme meeting x 1 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 5: Jan 25-27 2013 NZ Festival of Motor Racing – Denny Hulme meeting x 2 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 6: Feb 01-03 2013 Skope Classic meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch (provisional)
Rnd 7: Feb 15-17 2013 Classic Speedfest meeting Teretonga Park Invercargill (provisional)
[Source: MSC NZ F5000; photo credits: Fast Company/Alex Mitchell]