After much confusion caused by COVID scares in Mount Gambier, the all clear to run the fourth round of the McPherson Mechanical Autocross Series at SEAC Park was given to the persistent organising crew.
Director Curtis Boyd and his right-hand man Ross Shephard kept at it until the club received the conditional okay for the weekend’s activities to go ahead.
With the track layout receiving a tickle-up late in the week, all that was needed was some good weather and Mother Nature came to the party, albeit with a few dark clouds and a couple of sprinkles through the day.
Sunday’s racing would have been the best in the series so far, with the weather not giving a benefit or handicap to any of the competitors on the day.
A good field of 37 competitors made the decision to have a go and were rewarded with a fast track that went black (took rubber) after the first couple of runs, giving the serious challengers an extremely good and consistent race surface.
No surprise to find the 4WD group at the top of the time sheets throughout the day, with previous round winner, Simon Feil out to prove that his Subaru WRX was the quickest on the brilliant SEAC Park layout.
Nicholas Cagney, also piloting a WRX, was hell-bent on spoiling the party for Feil, beating him home in the first two heats.
This pair traded places through the day and ended up being separated by 0.27 seconds after the 5 heats had been completed.
Jamie Pohlner has settled into the EVO8 that he had been campaigning recently across the state events with some success and may have been guilty of trying a bit too hard to catch the Feil/Cagney pair, along with Dale Cagney in his EVO6, with these two also swapping positions through the day.
Damien Brand’s CanAm Buggy is a purpose-built weapon in loose or wet conditions, but drops off the pace as the track goes slick.
His first couple of runs were right up with the other 4WD’s, but as the track took more rubber, his times dropped away regardless of the work at the wheel.
Jason Winterfield’s Subaru Legacy is always well presented and he takes no prisoners when driving, mixing it with the top group.
While the first and second runs were on a “slippy” surface, once the grip level improved, his times came down, but the gap reflected the big difference in technology/power of the more modern top runners.
Family bragging rights were up for grabs with the Wilson pair, dad Geoff and son Damien, who are always competitive whenever they race.
Damien’s style suited the slippery early track, but could not match the old man’s efforts with the later runs giving the front wheel drive a slight edge for the last two runs.
Damien’s buffer ended up being just enough for the day to get the gong by 2.5 seconds.
Adam Jesse made the trip down from Bordertown and had a mixed day out with the Subaru Liberty, showing some good pace through the later part of the day.
Falcon pilot, Dion Becker, pushed the big bird as hard as was possible all day, with some runs better than others, but all very enjoyable.
Commodore pair Barry and Jayden Edwards are usually up in the top 10 area.
Jayden hovered around this for his runs, but Barry put the enjoyment switch to “on” for his runs with a couple of longer runs through the day.
Hyundai Excel steerer Anthony Tos brought out the rally-prepped Hundy and gave it a workout to see what it was capable of, with some respectable times and an enjoyable day of competition.
Preparation is in full swing now for the upcoming “Legend of the Lakes” October 29-31 at the Valley Lakes.