Wild weather wills Whitehead a win

The second round of the McPherson Mechanical Autocross Series took place at SEAC Park recently amid some challenging driving conditions.

Director Paul Height had a good entry list of nearly 40 competitors willing to brave the conditions the wet weather had created.

Caution was stressed at the driver briefing, before a sighting lap to see where any tricky spots were around the 1.9km course for the day’s activities, but as everyone knows when the green light says go, care is the last thing of concern to the seasoned competitors and it is pedal to the metal and go, go, go.

Surprisingly, the first round was completed without too many on-track incidents, with some good lap times recorded even though the initial course surface resembled a bowl of porridge in many spots.

First to start was John Whitehead in his lightweight Buggy with considerable care and bravery, to set a reasonably quick time of 1:51.34 seconds for a tidy drive while Dale Cagney was in full attack mode in his Mitsubishi Evolution 6 and set a time of 1:50.22.

Dion Becker had his Ford Falcon foot to the floor and set a time of 2:00.69 but it was outrun by Geoff Wilson in the Peugeot that came in with a time of 1:59.22 to earn third place.

Barry Edwards started at 24 and benefited from the track having been “swept” by a few other competitors to put in an impressive lap time of 2:00.96 and list at fifth quickest spot.

Not so lucky, Jayden Edwards at start position three had to contend with the muddy surface and drove “speedway style” to come home in sixth, just in front of Kenneth Moore’s Commodore.

Making the trip across from Warrnambool for the first time in around two years was Matt Kirby who showed that he still has some speed with the Laser.

The track had dried out for run two where Whitehead headed out for his second blast to set quickest time for this run. As the rain poured down he came home for a 1:57.15 run as Cagney followed with a time of 2:02.47.

Kirby splashed his way through the puddles for a 2:11.56 and third in points, just in front of Geoff Wilson’s 2:12.34 second swim through the rain and Falcon “boat captain”.

Run three got under way with a light sprinkle to keep the track damp and Whitehead made the best of it to get top spot with a quick 1:52.68 second run, closely followed by Cagney’s 1:54.01 seconds.

Colin Shephard, found some good speed on the ever-changing track surface and put in a good run for third spot with a quick time of 2:04.03 seconds.

Bailey Perryman’s Excel stopped the clock at 2:04.19 seconds to share fourth spot with Barry Edward’s Commodore at exactly the same time recorded.

Geoff Wilson went “safe mode” and battled Dion Becker and finishing sixth and seventh.

Racing continued after a short break with a “drying” track and the Whitehead, Cagney battle continued.

Cagney set the pace with a quick 1:46.44 followed by Whitehead at 1:48.69.

With the better race surface on offer, Cagney and Whitehead did their best work at the wheel in the following run.

It was Cagney that topped the list this time around with a much improved 1:44.47, two seconds faster than Whitehead’s best run of 1:46.68.

Barry Edwards, had a good day also improved on his last run by four seconds to finish in fourth with his 1:50.84 second run to pip Jayden Edwards, finally getting some grip with his 1:51.31 seconds an improvement of nearly six seconds.

John Whitehead held on to finish the day in first outright with his total time of 9:16.54 edging out Dale Cagney’s 9:17.48 for second outright.

Geoff Wilson had a mixed day but put in enough to get a 10:06.12 total time for third outright.

Barry Edwards was another to enjoy a good day at the wheel collecting 4th spot with his total of 10:06.87 ahead of Becker and Jayden Edwards

The first Junior home was Chris Catalano, who filled 13th slot with 10:44.16 seconds, while Theresa Lipscombe’s effort in the family Ford Falcon XR6 finished one spot behind.

Good to see a few new faces front up for their first Autocross even though the track conditions were not ideal.

Next event listed as a touring road event to be held in Rennick area starting from the speedway on Saturday, May 21.

Also, a Khanacross will be held the following weekend at Curtis Boyd’s property, Burrungule.

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