With a weather forecast for some rain to occur leading up to the Day/Night Autocross, track conditions were expected to be a little to a lot damp, depending on what Mother Nature sent down.
Instead, with no rain arriving, the surface had dried out and proved to be a bit of a handful as the hard crust on the top of the track broke up into a large dust bowl creating problems with the running of the event.
Round 5 of the McPherson Mechanical 2021 Autocross Series took place on Saturday, getting under way in sunny conditions, with the first car let loose at about 4.30pm.
Dale Cagney, wearing the Number 1 plate from the 2020 series tackled the slippery layout in his usual style, flat out, for most of the track and laid down a pretty quick 1:48.10 seconds that would prove to be hard to beat for the 49 eager starters.
Aaron Bowering, having a guest drive of the Raedel Rally Falcon, followed Cags and clocked a sub-2-minute lap in the “Taxi” for his first outing, pretty impressive when he had not driven the car prior and had been sent out with nearly bald rears by the car’s owner.
Damien Brand took the CanAm Buggy for a lap from #4 and made the best of the slippery track surface to stop the clock at 1:50.65 seconds, pretty good considering how slippery the track was.
Geoff and Damien Wilson were fifth and sixth away and with totally different styles, times were very close, with Damien at a 1:54.33 and Geoff a 1:54.85 to keep the family bragging rights well alive for the day.
Jayden Edwards took on the slippery track in his Commodore and in true Speedway style managed to wrestle the “Dore” home in a 1:58.98 seconds, well deserved, considering the track surface.
Jason Winterfield, out at number 16, got the Subaru Legacy up and running on song to put in a good lap with his time of 1:52.60 good enough for fourth quickest.
Starting at No.20, Simon Feil had a job to do and set out to be the quickest around the Park, achieving that with a spectacular drive to get home in 1:47.85 seconds, heading Cagney Senior by less than three tenths of a second.
Dion Becker took to the track in 22nd starting position and while his lap looked every bit as spectacular as Feil’s, he had to settle for seventh spot with a good run setting a time of 1:58.50 seconds.
By the time 47 drivers had done the first round, dust had become a safety issue, causing the director to modify how the competitors ran.
Reverting to one car on the track meant a two hour session to complete the second round, but it made for safe competition.
The track had been swept a little for the second round and whilst the top four were the same culprits, the finishing order had changed at the top, with Dale Cagney having a good run for the top spot with his time of 1:47.14 bettering his first run time by nearly a full second, to head Feil’s slower run of 1:49.68 seconds in second.
Damien Brand shaved 2/10ths off his earlier time and held on to third spot with a 1:50.40 to hold off a challenge from Jason Winterfield’s Suby, clocking a 1:51.64, also nearly a full second better than run one.
Geoff Wilson enjoying another SEAC Park Skid, also ran the Pug a little quicker on the second outing to hold fifth quickest spot with a 1:53.70, as did Dion Becker in the Ford Falcon getting home with 1:56.15, an improvement of over two seconds.
In what would be the last run of the night, still suffering from very dusty track conditions, Dale Cagney headed off for another blast around the complex track, improving on his previous run by a half a second with a 1:46.89 seconds lap to again list at the number one spot.
Damien Brand put it all on the line and found a little more grip somewhere to improve by over two seconds on this lap, enough to fill second spot on this round, heading the WRX of Simon Feil with a similar two and three lap times, this one at 1:49.10 and third slot points.
Jason Winterfield found more grip and pulled a 1:50.04 seconds run to hold on to a trio of fourth spot points.
Damien Wilson got in a tidy 1:52.02 second lap, trying to make amends for a very slow second lap.
As has been the case through the year, 4WD’s were at the top of the list, with Dale Cagney holding on to position one for the fifth round with a total time of 5:22.13 seconds to hold out Simon Feil with his total of 5:26.63 seconds.
Damien Brand’s Can Am Maverick held on for third outright, having a total time of 5:28.96 seconds for the three runs.
Fourth outright, fourth on each round, Jason Winterfield finished the day with his total of 5:34.28 seconds.