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SMITH AT THE DOUBLE AT HAMPTON DOWNS

Runaway series points leader Ken Smith (Lola T332) has made a winning start at the final round of the 2018/19 SAS Autoparts/MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at Hampton Downs today, qualifying on pole in the morning and leading the first 8-lap race of the weekend from start to finish this afternoon.

The 77-year-old, contesting his 61st consecutive season of national level motor racing in this country, was particularly proud of his pole time – at 1:00.487 only a second off the class (and outright track) lap record he set earlier this year, but lamented the fact that arch-rival Michael Collins (McRae GM1) could not make it to the meeting.

 

“I have enjoyed today, it’s been good,” he said, “but it’s always better when you have someone to push you along.”

 

Behind Smith, and also enjoying a quick and trouble-free run, was David Banks (Lola T332) who set a personal best lap time of 1:01.911 in qualifying and crossed the finish line just 2.260 seconds behind Smith in the race.

 

“That’s the quickest I’ve ever been round here,’ the man behind series co-sponsor SAS Autoparts said as he held the qualifying sheet. “I’ve done plenty of 1:02s but never a 1:01 and I did two in a row, so yeah I’m stoked.”

 

Banks maintained that momentum in the race, leading a mid-field battle-pack consisting of Glenn Richards (Lola T400), Brett Willis (Lola T330), a fast-finishing Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) and Aaron Burson (McRae GM1), from start to finish.

 

That included a late-race, last lap burst after the Safety Car had been deployed when Peter Burson’s BRM P207 F1 car – running as a guest entry with the SAS Autoparts MSC F5000 cars – slowed and stopped out on the track.

 

Burson Snr (who usually races a McRae GM1 similar to the one his son Aaron drives in the SAS Autoparts MSC series) was looking forward to his first full race-length run in the unique ex-Larry Perkins car after an extensive rebuild, and though he was able to get back to his pit under its own steam it was a frustrating end to a promising debut run in the car.

 

“It just stopped,” he said,” just stopped. And I couldn’t get it started again under its own steam.”

 

In theory the Safety Car should have negated any advantage Smith had. But the canny veteran read the track going green again like the pro that he is, getting the jump again over the close running David Banks, Glenn Richards and Brett Willis, who in turn edged ahead of Aaron Burson and Kevin Ingram with Ingram getting a better run off the final turn and beating Burson to the flag by  a margin of just 0.024 of a second!

 

Behind them Hampton Downs track co-founder Tony Roberts led home an entertaining three McLaren battle pack consisting of his recently acquired M10B, Frank Karl’s similar car, and Tim Rush in the his M22.

 

Three seconds separated the three McLarens in qualifying but in the race all three lapped in the 1:07 bracket.

 

There are two more 8-lap SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at the season-ending Legends of Speed meeting at Hampton Downs tomorrow, one in the morning, and the season-finale – for the Alain Prost Trophy – in the afternoon.

 

Ends

 

CAPTIONS

Ken Smith (Lola T332) qualified quickest and won the first 2018/19 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race of the weekend at Hampton Downs today. Aucklander David Banks (Lola T332) was second. Quickest of the three McLarens contesting the race was the M10B of Tony Roberts. Category regular Peter Burson swapped his usual mount, a McRae GM1, for his recently acquired and rebuilt BRM P207 F1 car. Photo credits: Fast Company/Geoff Ridder

 

2018/19 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series Rnd 5 (Final) Hampton Downs

Qualifying

  1. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 1:00.487
  2. David Banks (Lola T332) 1:01.911
  3. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1:02.926
  4. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1:04.059
  5. Brett Willis (Lola T330)  1:04.215
  6. Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) 1:05.892
  7. Tony Roberts (McLaren M10B) 1:06.220
  8. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) 1:08.588
  9. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 1:09.435
  10. Peter Burson (BRM P207 F1) 1:11.688

 

Race 1 (8 laps)

  1. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 8 laps
  2. David Banks (Lola T332) +2.260
  3. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) +2.775
  4. Brett Willis (Lola T330) +3.351
  5. Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) +4.756
  6. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) +4.780
  7. Tony Roberts (McLaren M10B) +7.032
  8. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) +8.101
  9. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) +10.171

Dnf. Peter Burson (BRM P207 F1) 5 laps.

 

Points after Rnd 4 of 5

  1. Ken Smith (Akld) Lola T332 752 points
  2. Michael Collins (ChCh) McRae GM1 627
  3. Brett Willis (Rot) Lola T330 519
  4. Greg Thornton (UK) Chevron B24 518
  5. David Banks (Akld) Lola T332 501
  6. Kevin Ingram (Fldg) Lola T332 473
  7. Aaron Burson (Akld) McRae GM1 465
  8. Tony Galbraith (Akld) Lola T332 439
  9. Tony Roberts (Nap) McLaren M10B 390
  10. Glenn Richards (Akld) Lola T400 372
  11. Shayne Windelburn (Akld) Lola T400 326
  12. Peter Burson (Akld) McRae GM1 306
  13. Russell Greer (Blen) Lola T332 266
  14. Frank Karl (Akld) McLaren M10B 215
  15. LeRoy Stevenson (Qtwn) Leda LT27 188

 

Class A

  1. Tony Roberts (Nap) McLaren M10B 199 points
  2. Frank Karl (Akld) McLaren M10B    122

 

Calendar:

 

Rnd 1.  2-4 Nov 2018 - Supercars ITM Auckland SuperSprint - Pukekohe, NZ.

 

Rnd 2.  19-20 Jan 2019 – Historic Grand Prix - Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupo, NZ.

 

Rnd 3.  25-27 Jan 2019 – Speedworks NZ Champs/HRC – Hampton Downs NZ - Short Track, Waikato, NZ.

 

Rnd 4.  2-3 Feb 2019 - Skope Classic - Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna, Christchurch, NZ.

 

Rnd 5.  23-24 Mar 2019 – HRC Legends of Speed Hampton Downs NZ - Short Track, Waikato, NZ.