The Math - 2020 Round 2 Manfeild

November 12, 2019

The math for the current season of the ENZED Central Muscle Cars Championship has become immensely fun early on due to the ever-present close competition and dramatic position changes across each race.  Given that a handful of the competitors choose to run at Bathurst this year, those particular drivers are missing two rounds and therefore have no chance at taking the title away from five-in-a-row Dean Perkins – well all but one of them anyway.

Angus Fogg is the exception to that group as he was willing to take the big gamble this season, giving himself every opportunity for glory. Knowing the potential dangers involved he ran at Pukekohe and was lucky enough to then pack his rig into a container the day after, and then with the understanding that he would be unable to get it back in time to run at the second round of the season held at Manfield, he gained permission from the club committee to run in a borrowed car – which is allowable in the club rules.

Now whilst it meant he would be unlikely to feature as high up in the points as expected from using his own machine, he would still have the ability to lock up some points.

This doesn’t mean that Perkins is simply walking away with the title chase or that Fogg is his only challenger as there are still plenty of others putting up a fantastic fight – and at the early stages of the season, the strongest of those seems to be Dean Hansen in the HQ Monaro and Andy Knight in the Oldsmobile.

Running in only his third season of CMC – which also happens to be only his third ever season of racing a car – Hansen is making serious moves up the top of the order. He seems to have the car dialled in and is forcing others to drive much harder this season.

The other initial contender is, or should we say was, Andy Knight. In the first race of Round 2 Knight was superbly fast and somewhat untouchable. There was an issue for Perkins in the opening battle as he had a broken rear leaf spring, but Knight was definitely on fire. However, as we all are fully aware, motorsport is a cruel mistress, and Knight lost his brakes down the front straight with two laps remaining. He knew what was coming and immediately flicked it into a spin try scrub off some speed. It worked. He still went straight across the kitty-litter and into the tyre wall side on - it was certainly at a lesser speed than what it might have been had he not taken the sacrificial path so cleverly.

He was fine, but the car not so much. He extracted himself and had to watch under local yellows as Perkins took the chequered flag.

Knight was out for the weekend; Hansen secured a second placing with Fogg moving from 7th to 3rd.

But again it wasn’t just about those few, Steve Ross was on song, and so too was Tony Boyden. Both drivers were punching hard, and they too grabbed some valuable Championship points.

In Group 2, the weekend started well for Andrew Sinclair, he was able to hold off newcomer Shane Holland who is running the season in his father’s last season Championship winning Camaro. Both of them though were able to hold off veteran racer Steve Noyer.

The entertainment is often found in the second and third races of a CMC weekend – the handicap grid. Both Perkins and Hansen starting at the rear of the field had plenty of work to do, although it was Perkins that shone the brightest.

His crew had done the temporary repair to the broken spring, and it worked. He was able to come through for the win even after starting 45 seconds behind the first car. It was sensational to watch. Hansen moved up to 5th after battling mirror to mirror with the majority of the field, but the car and driver that really had everyone taking notice was Tristan Teki. After spending last season trying to get the setup right in his new batman themed Camaro he looks to have it nearly right, he claimed 2nd spot and is looking much more confident behind the wheel. The interesting news is that he will be following many of the other Group 1 competitors and will soon have a NASCAR engine powering the black beast, and with some minor tuning to the setup to allow for the increase in horsepower he will soon be hunting the major points.

The handicap grid also mixed up the Group 2 cars, with Kett and Noyer having a great tustle, with the new benchmark Shane Holland unable to catch them. It has cemented what will be a wonderful fight in the production category across the remaining rounds.

The third was again highly entertaining, but it ended poorly for Perkins. The old red Falcon took the race win, but Perkins was going to be an unhappy chap upon his return to the pits. He was deemed to have jumped the start, going at the wrong wave of the handicap flag and he was demoted to 9th with a post-race time penalty. It handed the win to Fogg, but if that wasn’t dramatic enough, it was a Group 2 machine that took 3rd. The youngster Holland grabbed the spot ahead of one of the club founders, Steve Hildred. Having the new recruit and definitely the next generation of CMC driver grabbing a podium finish alongside the club’s elder statesmen was quite the sight.

It then came down to the final race. Normal transmission resumed, the grid was set at scratch, and Perkins had to forget about the previous result and simply get on with his job.

He didn’t start well, in fact it was a shocker, and he was swamped by three other cars by the end of turn 1. However, that was the only blemish of his run. He regained his composure, kicked himself into action as by the end of that first lap he had regained the lead, never to be challenged.

Further back in the opening couple of laps, Hansen was having a spirited fight with Steve Ross and Tristan Teki, but it wasn’t to last. Hansen had the unfortunate issue of losing power steering and had to spend the remainder of the race simply trying to force the HQ around the somewhat curvy circuit.

Fogg was never in the hunt in the borrowed Mustang, but he did his job by not losing spots. He started 5th and finished 5th – points in the bank.

Group 2 as always showed the crowd how much fun can still be had with a more production based machine. Holland and Sinclair lead the way, chopping and changing as the laps counted down with Kett in his Camaro doing everything possible to hold off the Mustang of Noyer. The horsepower and handling difference clearly showing between the two rigs, Noyer catching and trying to pass in the turns, but Kett always able to pull away a small gap on the straights. A highly entertaining show in the mid-pack.

The final lap had all eyes on Teki and Ross.

Teki was no doubt faster, but couldn’t find a way to get around the Ross Commodore. Then on the final lap he decided to take the big risk. He went and extra few metres at the end of the front straight before applying the brakes down the inside of Ross, and as expected he was ahead, but he was possibly one or two metres out of judgement.

He was unable to make the turn, he locked up, spun, and ended up stuck in the gravel. No doubt a few choice words were spoken, and whilst the DNF hurt his points tally for the season, it didn’t hurt all of those watching on – it was spectacular racing and having a driver put himself on the edge is exactly what we want to see. Sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t but seeing a driver take risks is what race fans enjoy the most.

Perkins can forget his penalty and reduction of points from race 3. His focus can now be on consolidation at the next round in Pukekohe. The only setback for him is that he will have to deal with Fogg back in his own car, and the rest of the Bathurst adventurists returning to the fray. Who to look for? Well both of the Andersons will be wanting to front that mob, and the highly entertaining math for 2019 is about to get a whole lot more intriguing …

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