Wellington the capital city of New Zealand was the venue for these championships held recently on Saturday 23rd January to Sunday 24th January. Surface was clay and the track had been renovated by the local club and had many more jumps included. Back breaking work by Wellington club members was evident and everyone arrived in high spirits.
We marvelled at the wonderfully warm day which heralded our arrival into Wellington airport. We could see this wasn’t going to last as where we were headed to was framed by wonderfully dark grey clouds which threatened heavy rain. Into the rental car we went to head off to the track, which we had not previously raced on, for some much needed practice.
After unloading gear we found that we were in time for the practice session to begin. A nice warm welcome from the friendly locals it was time to get down and dirty on the track. We were limited to a fuel tank run and then off to marshal, over 12 minutes on my RB powered XB808.
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My first run was diabolical and I was questioning why I had come. The second run went much better so I was looking forward to more practice so I could improve even more.
Unfortunately it was not to be as the wet weather arrived and stopped any further racing on the track. Nothing to do but pack up and get ready for the evenings entertainment in the city.
Judging by the amount of rain we had it was obvious it would be a late start in the morning so as it was XRAY team driver Tim McKay’s last event for off road before he moves to Australia the boys decided to put on a show he would not forget. Needless to say there were some very interesting sights the next morning at the track and I believe the pharmacies would have done a roaring trade in medicinal sales for the tender heads!!
The track was very wet and the rain teemed down so at around midday the organisers cancelled qualifying that day. This meant we had to qualify and race finals on the Sunday regardless of weather. So it was off to see more sights around Wellington and then prepare for the final day.
Sunday was still wet so it was decided to have 5 min qualifying heats and in the worst case scenario if we couldn’t have any finals results would be called on that round. The gods look kindly upon us as we stumbled in the slippery clay to and fro the drivers stand and pit lane. Mud splattered into peoples eyes and mouths and if you required to be marshalled you had to be patient as it was so slippery everywhere.
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We managed to get two rounds of qualifying and then the finals were reduced significantly so we could fit the racing into one day. As they progressed through, the sun began to shine so the main events were run in nice sunshine and the track had dried significantly.
No one had a direct berth into the A Final. So there were two semi finals ran. In the first we had James Tacon with XB808-10 on pole, Jamie Buttolph XB808-09 in 2nd postion on the grid and Jerry Davis XB808-09) in 4th, Kent Perry XB808-10 in 9th and Paul McBreen XB808-10 in 10 so it was looking very good for XRAY in the buggy class. Actually XRAY was the most popular car in the buggy class at this event.
There was quite a lot of changing positions in this semi final.
In the second semi final we had Tim McKay XB808-10 on grid 1 plus he posted fasted heat time & therefore he was TQ, Shane Adams XB808-09 on grid 10, he had worked his way from two other finals to be in this semi a really good achievement. Tim lead until just after his first pitstop when he had a flameout. It turned out his glowplug had died which took a little time to replace and therefore lost a few laps. Most drivers laptimes were in the low 40sec so Tim had a big job to work his way from 10th position back to at least 5th. It proved too onerous for him and he missed out on the A final by 8 seconds despite posting the fastest lap of the race by over o.5 of a second……..
6th Tim McKay XB808-2010
8th Shane Adams XB808-2010
This was to be the very first A final which Tim was not going to compete in all year so I guess it was very hard for him to watch from the sidelines…….
XRAY had two drivers in the main event Jerry Davis and James Tacon. Jerry led the race for all but two of the laps and proved consistency was the key to winning this race. Jerry was the first driver to pit but despite this he had such a comfortable lead he left pitlane & was still out front. Once he had gained a safe margin in front of second place he appeared to ease off the pace very slightly but no doubt had performance in reserve should he need it. His average lap times were faster than other drivers as he smoothly drove around the track with a very rich motor which at times sounded as if would stall but fortunately never did.
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The final results were:
1st Jerry Davis XB808-09
2nd Nathan Toia
3rd Graham McDougal
4th Mark Cleland 5th James Tacon XB808-10
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Again no one was guaranteed a direct berth into the A final. In the first semi final we had Paul McBreen XT8-09 on grid 7 and Tim McKay XT8-09 on grid 9 vying for a place in the main event. Tim managed to win the semi with 35 laps 25m 26.519 after holding the lead for the second half of the race while Paul had problems and DNS. Jeremy Wells was in the other semi in position 10 with his XT8 and unfortunately did not manage to get a berth into the main event as he finished 9th with 25m 26.916.
Tim started from Grid 2 and after 5 laps he had worked his way into the lead but then started to get throttle servo problems. It was behaving erratically with inconsistent braking into the corners. He came into the pit’s briefly to isolate the problem but nothing could be done so back onto the track, once again it was a battle to try and catch up positions. Tim completed the race to finish 7th.
1st Malcolm Namana
2nd Chris Banham
3rd James Tacon
4th Nathan Toia
5th Graham McDougal
6th Dave Edhouse 7th Tim McKay XT8 09
Although there were many disappointments at this event it was extremely pleasing to see that XRAY had taken yet another title. A sincere congratulations to Jerry Davis for his great drive and deserved win.
This was the last major IC Off Road event for Tim McKay while racing in New Zealand, I would like to publicly thank Tim for his great contribution he has made for Xray while being a team driver. His efforts over the years have netted in 2009 several regional championship wins plus the Nationals event as well as other events in previous years.
He has been a great representative for the brand and has always been willing to assist other XRAY drivers either at events or via website forums/email. His talents on the track have seen him acquire respect from many drivers throughout the country and his easy going but professional manner will be missed by us when he moves to Australia next month.
We wish you the very best for your racing in Aussie and look forward to seeing Tim extend his skills to the next level.