Wet weather is never fun, nor is it very helpful to those seeking grip on a race track to set a perfect lap time. Sadly this was the setting that greeted everyone who arrived at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo.
Having never been to a superlap round before, I was not sure what to expect. Walking through the pit garages I was astounded by the level of aero and mechanical work most cars underwent for such a under rated event. Gold was struck when I walked past Andy Duffin and his machine for the weekend, a 20B FD RX7, amazing aero work was on point and the engine bay, albeit very concealed, was immaculate. Scott Kreyl’s Evolution was found buried at the far reaches of the pit group but was worth the search! Massive aero work adorned the car and with three time World Time Attack champion Garth Walden behind the wheel, spectators knew they were in for a treat. Andy set a blistering time that saw Scott’s team needing to push the envelop a little to clinch the top spot. Garth showed why he is a champion with a lovely time of 1.29 taking first, sending Andy to second and third place went to Leon Scott and his impressive Evo that set a good time of 1.36.
Sunday saw teams dial in adjustments to suit how the car was behaving due to not being able to set the cars up properly the previous day due to rain. Pro street class saw the mighty R35 GTR driven by Ian Clegg of ST Hi-Tec take on the wolf in sheep’s clothing AE92 Levin driven by Barry Manon, with the R35 posting a perfect 1.39 around the circuit. Fate works in mysterious ways, and with the R35 encountering some mechanical problems toward the end of the sessions Barry had a chance to pull back the times and take the lead. Great driving saw Barry achieve a 1.37 which meant the R35 had to settle for second place.
Street front wheel drive class saw the JTune Honda take the win due to there being no other entrants, and the fact that the car was blisteringly quick, as shown by the massive fireballs exiting the exhaust. A 1.45 was achieved by driver Ray Williams, and seeing as there were no other entrants to compare that time to, I would have to say it was rather quick.
Street all wheel drive saw Brad Jesson in his mighty Evo push hard all weekend and setting a beautiful 1.45 with some spot on driving, however a cracked manifold saw Brad having to retire early and settling for the time that he set. A stroked GTR R34 came to do business and with the owner Emil behind the wheel, a time of 1.43 put him in the top spot instead. Will be watching eagerly at Hampton Downs as Brad should come back strong after setting some quick pace in the rain on Saturday and looking very impressive on Sunday before retiring.
Street rear wheel drive class had Shamil’s Toyota Supra against a varying range of other cars. Glenn Hodges pushed the mighty 300ZX around the track in 1.45 and was looking on form through all of Saturday and into Sunday until Shamil found the weak link in his Supra and managed to fix it just in time to set a 1.44, just clinching the lead away. Darren McDonald pushed his Holden Commodore through the well layout out track and set a respectable 1.46.
With everyone coming away with things to work on for the finals at Hampton Downs Motorsports Park, I am very excited to be going back for the finals as I am sure it will only exceed the enjoyment I have had at Taupo. A massive thank you to Shamil for taking me down for the weekend, Emil and his wife for their company, Michael and Michelle Nealis for their Saturday night antics and lastly but most of all Kaz, Kerri and Rene for the opportunity to photograph Superlap.
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