Four IPRAWA drivers set off for the Hidden Valley V8 Support Races
Dion doing the hookup
IPRAWA – HIDDEN VALLEY V8 SUPERCAR ROUND 2013 - PART 2
As covered in Part 1 of this story, the contributions of the JP Pallets crew and the Just Commodore folk, should not be understated in respect of the logistics to get four WA cars to Hidden Valley.
All four cars arrived safely and were ready for practice early Friday morning Courtesy of JP Pallets and Just Commodore. The purple army of Wilsons were always busy doing stuff.
Meanwhile all Timbo had to do was put fuel in, but it’s a Toyota.
Right up front it should be said that we were made most welcome at the NT event. IP is renowned for it’s camaraderie, but trust us on this – the NT racing community are in a class of their own. Special thanks to the North Australian
Motor Sports Club and to Shannons for organisation and sponsorship of the
The facility is awesome with well-engineered approach roads resulting in easy access and exit. The track itself has a 1.1 Km straight linked by fourteen corners, which when combined, challenge every aspect of car and driver.
With 37 cars entered for the combined Improved Production (IP), Commorode Cup (CC) and HQ Holden event there was going to be plenty of diversity for spectators and fun for drivers.
The purple army of Wilsons were always busy doing stuff. Meanwhile
all Timbo had to do was put fuel in, but it’s a Toyota.
After two laps the first casualty was Frank Panizza’s Commodore with low oil pressure.
The brand new engine / dry sump package was somehow not delivering the
slippery stuff properly. An oil inspection revealed much metal and so it was ‘game
over’ before it really started.
To say Frank was disappointed would be a huge understatement.
The car was fine the previous weekend during testing at Wanneroo.
Riley was nearly the next casualty through trying too hard. After two
small adventures, he had a big one at Turn 14 and nearly collected the tyre
barriers 100m off track. After querying locals about the special oily grass, Riley was told of the early morning dew hazard. Riley swears the car accelerated on the grass and the day was only saved by distantly remembered cadence braking.
Riley accepted the warning and ‘dew’ly backed off a bit, deciding that as the only U1 600 in the field, it might be best to adopt a survival strategy to beat his pesky two litre rivals.
Thirty seven cars lined up with the field dominated by the IP class which was itself dominated by two rotary powered Mazdas .
Jason Wilson in the JP Pallets six litre Commodore led the WA charge in 5th, and knowing they had ‘gone the wrong way’ with a suspension change after practice were confident for Race 1
Wayne Chrystal had some electrical issues, thought to be a faulty alternator connection, but qualified 17th in the Online Rental Group 5.7 litre Commodore.
Regretfully, the gremlins had not finished their evil efforts.
Tim Riley was taking it steady in the Fuel Technology Corolla 1 600, but qualified 22nd (6th in U2L class).
Riley commented that with the endless 1.1Km straight, taking a 1 600 to Darwin was rather like ‘taking a knife to a gunfight’.
Wilson in the JP Pallets Commodore has a great run for 3rd place, bested only by a Mazda 808 and a Chrysler Pacer.
The latter car driven by Andrew Marcos from SA was awesomely quick out of the vital Turn 14 onto the long straight.
It is not common to see any car out-drag Wilson’s Commodore but it was happening, leaving Wilson only able to challenge in the twisty bits.
Nonetheless, there were worrying signs of coolant leakage from Wilson’s donk, tracked down to a blown blanked-off connection in the coolant plumbing. This was repaired and Wilson was ready for Race 2.
Wayne Chrystal suffered a DNF (did not finish) when the gremlins struck on Lap 5 and the donk died an electrical death of unknown cause. The Coroner’s inquiry could be a long story.
Meanwhile Riley had a great race with a young lady called Ebone Coats.
The two went ‘at it’ the whole race long, swapping positions regularly without car contact.
Riley narrowly prevailed by 0.6 seconds. IP had two NT ladies in action, with Karla Karpenko finishing 16 seconds ahead of Riley.
By WA standards, Riley considered the number of local (NT) female contenders unusual and went off to investigate. It transpires that many years ago in Darwin, school kids were encouraged to go racing and develop / maintain their cars. This
programme is ongoing and is clearly responsible for some very capable and
self-disciplined young drivers.
Riley commented he’s happy to race close with the NT folk anytime.
Wilson was in a comfortable 2ndposition when the engine overheated on Lap 7 and it parked itself on the outside of Turn 1. Riley couldn’t believe what he saw, but was pleased to see Chrystal circulating ahead.
But Riley was busy. In a drag race off the line, Ebone got the start, but then slowed with Riley assuming she’d missed a gear. She hadn’t – she’d blown a half shaft. Game over.
That left Riley with the task of reeling in a Ford Escort 2L driven by Clayton Ottley. It took Riley about 5 laps to close with the Escort, but despite agility, the little 1 600 suffered down the long straight.
Finally Riley got a good run out of Turn 14 and was busy passing the Escort, which suddenly slowed. It transpired that poor Clayton saw the chequered flag being prepared for the race winner and mistakenly thought the race was over. Luck of the Irish for Riley.
With all this going on, Riley did not notice that Chrystal had stopped at the final corner, courtesy of the gremlins (again).
So where were we at going into the final Race 3?
In O2L, Wilson would start off P22 with new plumbing arrangements and Chrystal on P25.
Riley had top WA grid position at P11 after starting from P22, but this was not really a reflection of ability or speed, but more the misfortune of others.
The problem for Riley was the vast bulk of U2L had moved forward too. In fact, IP U2L cars held 7 of the top 14 spots.
The other problem was that with 13 cars (most of them fast ones) starting Rear of Grid due to DNF’s in Race 2, folk up front were going to be looking in their mirrors nervously.
Turns 2 and 3 are very fast ‘esses’ and whilst it can be done two cars wide, it needs both awareness and a willingness from both to sacrifice their
ideal lines. Not for the faint hearted, or a good place to be ‘surprised’.
This was to be confirmed by major televised incidents in both the V8 Utes and V8 Supercar events.
A major incident at the esses resulted in a one-hour delay and our final race was shorted from 8 to 5 laps to assist with scheduling of the televised event.
Whist a shorter race might suit Chrystal and Wilson who both seemed to be having heat related dramas, it would not suit Riley’s little 1 600.
The local two-litre cars were quicker off the start and were slipping up the inside of the Toyota in the approaches to Turn 1, leaving Riley having to re-take them in twisty parts of the circuit. That takes time that would not be available. Riley
decided to pretend to leave the door open again, but gently shut it down to hold
a tight inside line thus luring the predators towards a gap that was not going
to be there. This worked and after a brief tussle with Clayton Ottley’s Escort, Riley was getting his gun-sight lined up on the yellow Escort of Simon Bulasch, just two seconds ahead.
That did not happen, as the little Toyota developed a nasty tendency to turn to the left under heavy braking. Something was clearly very wrong, so Riley backed off by about 1 second per lap to try to manage the new risk, whilst the mirror showed Ottley steadily catching him again. Now Riley was thankful for the shortened race as he crossed the finish line just 0.13 seconds ahead of Ottley.
So what happened to Wilson and Chrystal who both started Rear of Grid?
The good news is that both cars made it to the finish, with Wilson obviously having a storming drive through to 4th in the shortened race. The guy must have fitted afterburners when re-plumbing the cooling system.
Hopefully his cameras were working, so watch out for this one on You Tube.
Chrystal managed to claw his way up to 12th before the flag fell, thus both Commodore pilots can only wonder about ‘what might have been’.
Sadly, no silverware for WA, but both Wilson and Riley came close in 4th and 4th equal respectively in their classes .
Written by Tim
Jason Wilson chasing the very quick Valiant
The field negotiating turn 4
Under the shade
Drivers briefing for IP, HQs and Commodore Cup