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The Southern Clash is held each year in the South Island of New Zealand. The Dunedin Radio Enthusiast’s Car Club runs the event in a car park by the beach in St Kilda, Dunedin. The event was supposed to be run on the Saturday with 3 rounds of qualifying and 2 finals. Unfortunately it rained most of the day, and we all ended up holding off till Sunday.

Well Sunday came around and it had dried up well. Sadly it was still very cold and windy though. I drove down on Friday from Christchurch with my pit girl Nat, and was competing in the Pro Stock class (27 turn stock). XRAY team mate Mark Harling from Christchurch also entered racing the new T2'008, as well as Serpent racer Ian Rickerby from Christchurch and Tamiya man David Beck from Invercargill also racing. These guys are all extremely experienced and hard racers. Several of the Dunedin racers had entered as well as Christchurch old hand Kevin Dench making a one off appearance. There were several other gas and electric classes racing on the same day as part of this fantastic event.

Heat 1 got underway with XRAY racer Mark Harling leading the field. It took me a while to get through the field due to starting a way down the field. Once things had sorted themselves out a bit Mark was leading by a couple of seconds from myself. That was how we finished up with David Beck 3rd.

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Heat 2 was very interesting. Due to the fact I could feel my Sorex 28R tyres starting to overheat in heat 1, I decided to not use tyre warmers but stay on the same compound due to the fact that the track temperature was still only in the early 20's - a bit cold for Sorex 32R's. Early in the race the car did suffer a bit, but after about lap 5 or 6 I was starting to get some decent grip. By that time Mark probably had about a 2 second lead. Lap by lap I moved in on him. In the last few laps I was giving it my all to pass and did get maybe a foot ahead a one point on the last lap, only to find myself starting to get into the marbles out wide.... Mark ended up taking the win by about a car length.

I had a long think about where the car was at set up wise and decided that maybe the car was still a touch loose especially when the tyres were cold. So I changed the rear toe from 2.0 degrees to 2.5 degrees for the final heat. The conditions had got worse (track temp around 19 degrees or so), which made me decide to fit the tyre warmers on for the last heat. Everything went to plan well!!!! I got past team mate Mark down the straight on the first lap and then slowly started to pull away. By the end of the race the gap was around 5 seconds or so. It was fantastic to take pole position for this event!

It was really hard luck for Mark who had to take his kids back to Christchurch on Sunday so they would be at school ok on Monday. He started on his long 4.5 hour drive home after qualifying had finished. I bet he would have been right up there if he could have raced the finals.

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The finals were extremely eventful. The temperature had changed once again, rising to a track temperature in the early 20's. It was a clean start with David Beck following myself and Ian Rickerby trying real hard to get past David. Eventually that happened and he then started attacking me!!!!! I held him off for several laps after constant attacks. I could feel my tyres just starting to let go again. Eventually he got the better of me and got through, soon after I had a bit of a crash loosing 2nd to David. Well on the 2nd to last lap I was right behind David. We got to the really tight hairpin and his car did not accelerate out of the corner........... I hit him out of the way with no where to go. Apparently his pinion came loose. Thinking 2nd was going to be mine, about two seconds later I hear a bang and find out that its Ian stuck against a barrier. The lead was gifted to me. I took the win by 1 second from Ian and Kevin Dench also racing an XRAY picked up 3rd.

By the time the 2nd final came around the track temperature had hit 28 degrees. I was really concerned about the 28R's not lasting the distance with these changing conditions. On the other hand I didn't want to risk trying some 32R's as I hadn't even bedded any in due to the cold day. I choose to use 28R's with no tyre warmers. Another clean start followed for all. Ian quickly got by on David but stayed about 1.3 seconds behind myself. Nothing changed for several laps until I hear Ian walking off the stand...(his car broken). I put in a couple of real hot laps to set the track record at 16.70 seconds at the start of the race and then had to slow down due to tyres feeling like jelly. Fellow XRAY racer for the day, Kevin Dench came home a very creditable 2nd with the races combined.

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Prostock final results:

1st Mike Jones - XRAY
2nd Kevin Dench - XRAY

3rd David Beck
4th Michael Grainger - XRAY
5th David Hodgins
6th Stewart Ross - XRAY
7th Ian Rickerby
8th Mark Harling - XRAY

Stock final results:

1st David Hodgins
2nd Dave Loughhead - XRAY
3rd Aaron Sperling
4th Allan Bailey - XRAY
5th Steve Weir - XRAY
6th Brian Loughhead - XRAY

7th Mike Cadogan
8th Daniel Webber - XRAY

There were only 8 cars in the finals due to the size of the drivers stand.

I would really like to thank Team Xray and Zoom Resources for everything, and I will be debuting the T2'008 at the next CRCCC club meeting in March.

Michael Jones