NEW ZEALAND CLAS­SIC CAR NA­TION­WIDE NEWS Tas­man Cup Re­vival

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words: Ross Mackay Pho­tos: Lyall Chin­nery & Alex Mitchell/ Fast Com­pany

By win­ning New Zealand’s MSC NZ F5000 Tas­man Cup Re­vival Se­ries for a third time, Dunedin driver Steve Ross (Mcrae GM1) has joined a se­lect group of multi–time ti­tle hold­ers.

Se­ries orig­i­nal Ian Cle­ments (Lola T332) from Christchurch, was the first to win the MSC ti­tle three times — in 2003/04, 2005/06 and 2006/07 — and 73-year-old Ken Smith (Lola T430 and now T332) was the sec­ond, and the only one to do it (from 2008/09 to 2010/2011) in con­sec­u­tive years.

This year’s se­ries was the 12th, with three other driv­ers — Christchurch pair Mur­ray Sin­clair (04/05) and Chris Hyde (07/08), and Auck­lan­der An­drew Hig­gins (13/14) join­ing Cle­ments, Smith and Ross as ti­tle win­ners.

This year’s ti­tle chase was again a true trans-tas­man af­fair with two rounds in Australia and four in New Zealand.

Mel­bourne’s Sandown cir­cuit hosted the open­ing round in early Novem­ber, Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park (for­merly Eastern Creek) the sec­ond later that month.

The se­ries then re­sumed with the two ‘World Se­ries’ rounds at the Gulf Oil-spon­sored How­den Ganley F5000 Fes­ti­val meet­ings at Hamp­ton Downs in Jan­uary, the penul­ti­mate round at the Skope Clas­sic meet­ing in Christchurch in early Fe­bru­ary, and the fi­nal a week later at the 60th an­nual New Zealand Grand Prix meet­ing at Man­feild.

Ic­ing on the Cake

There was a 50-point bonus for any­one who con­tested all six rounds; the ic­ing on the cake for Ross, whose win­ning mar­gin was an im­pres­sive 252 points over even­tual sec­ond place-get­ter, Rus­sell Greer (Lola T332) from Blen­heim, and a fur­ther 60 over Ken Smith (Lola T332) in third.

Though he chose not to cross the Tas­man (or Cook Strait) this sea­son, Smith was en­sured a place on the se­ries’ podium by win­ning ev­ery race he started, be­ing un­beaten at both Gulf Oil Fes­ti­val rounds at Hamp­ton Downs, then break­ing his own cat­e­gory lap record on the way to three more wins from three starts at the Man­feild fi­nal.

In his ab­sence Syd­ney-based young gun Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24) took on the role of man-to-beat at the two Aus­tralian rounds, though a quick start saw Steve Ross take a race win off him at Sandown, and Clark Proc­tor (March 73A/1) claim pole and win the first race at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park.

Like Ross, Proc­tor com­mit­ted to do the early sea­son rounds, but af­ter a stick­ing throt­tle forced him out of the third race at the first Hamp­ton Downs meet­ing, gear­box is­sues at the sec­ond meet­ing ef­fec­tively ended his cam­paign early.

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