Southern Rookies Look to Bring Strong Form to Teretonga

The Southland Sports Car Club are preparing for their annual January race meeting from 15-17 January and two of their younger members enjoying strong rookie seasons will line up on the South Island Formula 1600 grid at the event.

The oldest of the duo is Harry Wilson who will turn nineteen on the Saturday of race weekend. Wilson has been competing in Class 3 of the championship in a car that the category provides to a scholarship winner. At the midway point of the championship Wilson leads the class and sits a highly creditable 13th overall in the points amongst some very seasoned competitors. Wilson is an Auto Electrician and arrives in Formula 1600 by the traditional route of karting, having raced for about ten years coming through the classes locally, winning two club championships in a row in Rotax Light.

He took a break for a couple of years when he crewed for his father, Boyd, who was running a Ford Falcon, and also participated in the Gateway on site work experience programme. While participating in that programme he was working with Rick Michels at Evolution Motorsport when he spied an orange Toyota Corona in the workshop. Rick explained that the Corona had a few issues that required attention and told Harry “if you fix it, you can race it.” Fix it he did, and Harry participated in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Series at the wheel of the Corona at two Classic SpeedFests and a club meeting.

It was Rick who approached Harry about the South Island Formula 1600 Championship scholarship. “I thought sweet, but I also thought it was too good to be true. I had to do a proposal and I worked really hard on it. There were heaps of names in the mix but I managed to get the drive in the scholarship car, a Van Diemen RF88 owned by Gary Love,” says Wilson.

Harry is thoroughly enjoying the experience. “I loved karting and always aspired to do something like this. It is a cool class, very competitive. It is like karts. In Clubmans you may be dicing with one or two cars whereas in Formula 1600 there are cars all around. At Mike Pero Motorsport Park at the opening round of the championship the track was full. It was a big field.” Wilson has surpassed his objectives in his rookie season. “The goal was to go out and have some fun. I did not expect to be doing so well and leading the class at the halfway mark of the season,” he says.

Ironically Harry is leading two other Southlanders, Noel Atley and Dave McKenzie, and when asked how he gets along with his fellow Southlanders, he replies, “they are a friendly bunch. The whole Formula 1600 community are great. If you have a problem you just walk down the pitlane and someone will help you.” Wilson also extends his thanks to Gary Love. “Without him it would be hard to race without a car! I am also grateful to Evolution Motorsport and my other sponsors.”

Alex Crosbie is the other Southland rookie in the class. Crosbie only celebrated his fourteenth birthday three days before Christmas but has been performing well in the championship in his ex-Steve Heffernan, ex-Corey Hodges Van Diemen RF92.

Alex Crosbie in his Van Diemen RF92 at Teretonga Park in December, Photo:Ron Veint

Crosbie got the car just prior to lockdown but had to wait to drive it. He tested at Teretonga Park and then travelled to Ruapuna and Timaru for testing before Round 1 of the Championship at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch where he raced mid-pack in a massive field of 34 cars. He has continued to race well at both Timaru and Teretonga Park prior to Christmas and will roll out at Teretonga in January eleventh in the overall points and ninth in Class 2 against some very experienced and talented competitors.

Crosbie also comes from a karting background. As a twelve-year-old he trekked to Hamilton for the 2019 Kartsport New Zealand National Sprint Championships, finishing third in the Vortex Mini ROK Class for 9-12 year olds in a highly competitive field of twenty-seven entries. He followed that performance by finishing second at the School Nationals in Wellington before he flew to Melbourne to compete in the 2019 City of Melbourne Titles. The entries were massive compared to New Zealand with 335 entries across 12 classes. There were 26 karters in Alex’s class alone and he was driving in a class higher than he normally would back home – using the same chassis but with a bigger engine and stickier tires. With Alex competing against some of the top kids in Australia he managed to finish a respectable 11th. He was lucky enough to have Sera Driver Development and Erebus Motorsport helping out the team he was in, with the use of their data engineer and Supercar star Anton de Pasquale showing up for a chat on the Saturday. Crosbie also competes in Speedway Youth Saloons where he is successful in the 1600cc & under class for 12-16 year olds.

He has also competed in Clubsport in a Honda which he also raced at SpeedFest early in 2020 before competing in the South Island Formula 1600 Championship.

The duo will be in action in the South Island Formula 1600 category at Teretonga Park from 15-17 January in a meeting featuring Drift South action on the Friday and Saturday of the event, plus OSCA Super Saloons, the 2K Teretonga Challenge, Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Series, and Sports & Racing Cars.

Massive Start to 2021 at Teretonga Park

It will be a massive start to 2021 at Teretonga Park with three superb motor racing events scheduled for the circuit in the opening three months of the year.

January has been a traditional month for motor racing fans to head to Teretonga Park and so it will be again 2021. The weekend of 15-17 January will feature several classes of motor racing allied to an appearance by Drift South which promises to be an exciting weekend of action presented by Downer.

The thunderous OSCA Super Saloons return for their second appearance of the season supported by South Island Formula 1600 who provided some really close wheel to wheel racing in their recent appearance at the track. NZ Six Saloons, the 2K Teretonga Challenge, Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons plus Sports & Racing Cars add to the programme.

Steve Ross (Dunedin) Jaguar XK, Photo: Ron Veint

The racing will be supported by Drift South who will appear on Friday and Saturday of the weekend. If you have never experienced a drifting event this is the perfect time to discover a motorsport discipline with a huge following.

While the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is confined to the North Island this summer Southland Sports Car Club Race Committee Chairman Bevan Gerrard says, “the January meeting is a traditional one for Southland motor racing fans and we hope people keep the weekend free to make their regular pilgrimage to Teretonga Park.”

Tickets to the event will be available from Auto Centre and E Hayes & Sons from 16 December. A discounted weekend pass presale is $20 while gate sale prices are a weekend pass $25, Saturday only $15 and Sunday only $20, Children 14 & Under are free (if accompanied by an adult).

After that event the Mobil 1 Classic SpeedFest will see the circuit’s weekend of classic motor racing from 19-21 February with the final race meeting of the season entitled Southern Thunder featuring NZ Super Trucks, Mainland Muscle Cars and plenty more over the weekend of 20-21 March.

First Shots Fired at Teretonga Park

A big weekend of racing is underway at Teretonga Park in Invercargill with plenty more action to come tomorrow (Sunday) at the Southland Sports Car Club’s pre-Christmas motor race meeting presented by Downer.

Chris Henderson of Dunedin led all the way from pole position in his LS – powered Toyota GT86 in the OSCA Super Saloon race today to cross the line 4.572 seconds ahead of Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald in his Falcon. MacDonald finished with another Dunedin driver, Steve Ross, who had qualified down the order close behind in his Jaguar XK.

James Penrose of Rangiora maintained his unbeaten record for the season in the South Island Formula 1600 Championship race, leading all the way in his Van Diemen Stealth to win from Cameron Freeman of Dunedin with 15-year-old Jacob Douglas of Christchurch third in his motor racing debut. The victory gave Penrose Class 2 honours while Ryan Low of Christchurch in sixth took Class 1 while rookie, Harry Wilson of Invercargill, won Class 3 from veteran Noel Atley. Southlander Ethan Anderson and Zachary Christensen of Rolleston were dicing hard over second place until a coming together that saw both finish down the order.

Russell Watt of Alexandra won the Group B Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloon race in his Holden Commodore from Invercargill drivers Rachael Beck (Fiat 850) and Daniel McIntosh in a Mitsubishi Mirage with Leon Hallett of Mosgiel fourth in his Ford Galaxie after a short delay for a red flag after Invercargill driver David Hendry rolled his Nissan Sentra at the loop.

Kyle Dawson of Invercargill took the Group A race in his Nissan Skyline. He was chased all the way by Jordan Michels in his Honda Civic TCR car with Jason Crosbie third in a Nissan Silvia. Liam MacDonald took fourth in his Nissan NX ahead of Arron Black of Dunedin in his BMW E46.

The Pre 65 Saloons and Mini 7 South cars ran together and Corey Ross of Christchurch put his Mustang on pole and then led from start to finish to take the Pre 65 win. Invercargill driver Wayne Tuffley in a similar car was second until near the end when he slowed and another Southlander, John Smolenski who had made a blinder of a start from fifth on the grid, took the position off him to place second. The Mini 7 South battle went the way of Christchurch driver Justin Neill from Adam Box of Rolleston and Steve Scobie of Christchurch.

The Pro 7/8 cars and the NZ Six Saloons are also running together this weekend with Jared Pyke of Rangiora taking the Pro 7/8 honours in his Mazda RX8 by half a second from Cameron Davies of Waimate and Kris Mackie of Christchurch while in fifth place Simon Wheeler of Lincoln was the best of the RX7’s. The NZ Six race went to Justin Ashwell of Christchurch in his Ford Falcon ahead of Steven Gordon of Alexandra in his Commodore and Cody Welch of Omakau (Falcon).

Andrew Gibson qualified fastest and won the SS Cup race in his Honda Civic ahead of fellow Timaru driver James Liemburg and Jared Pyke of Rangiora in his Mazda RX8.

Racing continues from 9.00am Sunday morning with a full programme of seventeen exciting races.

A pass purchased at the gate tomorrow costs $20 while children 14 & under are free if accompanied by an adult.

OSCA Super Saloons a Drawcard at Teretonga Park

OSCA Super Saloons are the big attraction at the Southland Sports Car Club’s pre-Christmas motor race meeting presented by Downer this weekend.

They are just one of eight classes on the programme in what is traditionally one of the most varied line ups at any meeting during the season. They will be joined by the South Island Formula 1600 Championship, the SS Cup, Pre 65 Saloons, NZ Six Saloons, Pro 7 South, Mini 7 South plus the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons.

For many, the OSCA Super Saloons will be the drawcard with the clash of several big, fast, earth shattering V8’s against some extremely rapid machinery with alternative power plants. Local driver Liam MacDonald will be the fore as always in his Falcon but will face stern opposition from Dunedin driver Steve Ross in his Jaguar XK. Winton driver Pierre Neame will be prominent in his Ford Mustang while former Teretonga 1 Hour Endurance race winner Chris Henderson of Dunedin has his new LS powered Toyota GT86 ready to run. Doug Munro is another local driver in a Commodore in a field chock full of superb machinery.

Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald in his Ford Falcon at a recent
Teretonga Park meeting. MacDonald will line up in the OSCA Super Saloon
races this weekend, Photo: Ron Veint

The South Island Formula 1600 Championship features plenty of talent with James Penrose (Van Diemen Stealth) unbeaten to date and leading fellow Cantabrians Jack Noble-Adams, the defending champion in a similar car, and Zac Christensen in a Ray GR20 as the series arrives at Teretonga Park. Southland is well represented on the grid with Ethan Anderson sitting fourth overall and third in Class 2 while rookie Alex Crosbie is seventh in Class 2. Veteran Noel Atley and rookie Harry Wilson lie first and second respectively in Class 3 with Dave McKenzie fifth in the class. Southland Sports Car Club members from further afield, James Dicey (Cromwell), John Stevenson (Queenstown) and Graham Dickie (Dunedin) also line up in the field.

Wayne Tuffley in his Ford Mustang and Ford XP Falcon drivers John Smolenski, David Robertson and Super Truck racer Garry Price contest the Pre 65 Saloon races while cousin’s Bradley and Jeremy Dawson plus Dayle Kirby fly the Southland flag in the SS Cup which features a big field of varied machinery. Wayne Elliott is the sole Southland entry in the Pro 7 field.

Kyle Dawson of Invercargill and Dunedin driver Arron Black (BMW E46) will be amongst the quickest in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons. Leon Hallett of Mosgiel brings his Ford Galaxie south after tipping his Capri on its side at the last Teretonga race meeting while Anthony Ralston makes a farewell appearance in his impressive Nissan Bluebird before relocating to Northland.

The on-track action starts at 10.00am on Saturday with testing and qualifying. Racing commences at 2.10pm while Sunday sees a full programme of racing from 9.00am.

Pre-sale weekend passes are on sale from Auto Centre in Tweed Street, Invercargill and E Hayes & Sons in Invercargill at a cost of $20 each. Weekend passes sold at the gate are $25. Day passes are available at the gate, Saturday only at a cost of $15 and a Sunday only pass $20. Children 14 & under are free if accompanied by an adult.

New Faces at ClubSport

Interest is growing in entry level motorsport in the south and it continued to show at Round 4 of the 2020/2021 Evolution Motorsport ClubSport Championship at Teretonga Park on Sunday.

Four new faces contested the Motorkhana, held in the morning, and they included 15-year-old Carter Dougherty who drove a Ford Ka that is available to competitors for a small charge.

Carter is a promising young talent in two sports, hockey and softball, representing Southland in both. He is a client of IHD Coaching, a company run by Tony Fryer that takes a holistic approach to nurture young talent for success. Tony deals with both high performance athletes and those starting out and his training covers physical, mental, sport specific and life skills.

Tony has volunteered to assist Southland Sports Car Club ClubSport co-ordinator Malcolm Mitchell to run ClubSport events this season and invited Carter, who enjoys cars, to help set up and pack down the courses for Sunday’s event. Tony mentioned to Carter’s dad, Larry, that there was a car that could be hired to compete in and despite the fact Carter had never driven a manual before he had a go. He acquitted himself well and intends to get his own car and return for the next round in January.

“It was good,” says Carter. “I was nervous initially but everyone helped me into it and gave me pointers and tips and things to do. We are looking for a car for me to compete in now.”

Andrew Lawrie took the Motorkhana honours for the third event in succession in his V6 powered Mitsubishi Mirage ahead of Craig Allan in a Honda Prelude and Liam MacDonald, the Round 1 winner in his Nissan NX Coupe. Lawrie goes into the Christmas break leading the championship from Allan and MacDonald.

The same three drivers were to the fore in the Autocross later in the day, MacDonald winning from Allan in a Nissan 180SX and Lawrie. MacDonald leads the point standings from Lawrie and Josh Cooper while Cooper leads the Discount Tyres 0-1600cc class from Cole McKinnon and Malcolm Mitchell while MacDonald leads the Stresscrete 1601cc & over class from Lawrie and Jordan Michels.

The Championship resumes at Teretonga Park on Sunday 31 January. For information, phone ClubSport co-ordinator Malcolm Mitchell on 021 666 956 or email [email protected].

Classic Speedfest All Go Next February

Teretonga Park and the Southland Sports Car Club are gearing up for one of their biggest events of the 2020/2021 motor racing season, the Mobil 1 Classic SpeedFest 2021.

A popular fixture on the Teretonga Park calendar for over 25 years the Mobil 1 Classic SpeedFest 2021 will take place from 19-21 February and will feature Historic Touring Cars, Formula Junior and Invited Cars, Vintage Racing Cars, Classic Saloons, Sports Cars, Racing Cars and Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons.

The classes assembled will cover many different eras of motorsport with the Historic Touring Car class featuring cars from the pinnacle of the British Touring Car Championship in the 1990’s and New Zealand Touring Car racing. Formula Junior has proved very popular on past visits with classic marques such as Cooper, Lotus, Brabham, Lola and the like on the grid while the other classes never fail to bring forth rare and exotic machinery which are still raced extremely vigorously on the circuit.

While the racing is always willing Classic SpeedFest also offers a relaxed atmosphere for the public to spend time in the pits chatting with the owners of the spectacular cars on show in what is a great celebration of motor racing through the years.

Southland Sports Car Club Race Committee Chairman Bevan Gerrard says, “Classic SpeedFest is always one of our most popular and well supported events and with the line-up we have this year the racing will be as good as ever.”

Tickets to the event will be available early in the New Year.

Family Fun at ClubSport Events

Round 4 of the 2020/2021 Evolution Motorsport ClubSport Championship takes place on Sunday at Teretonga Park, and the Fitchett family of Mokotua are sure to be among the competitors.

Matt Fitchett and his family are dairy farmers at Mokotua and last year a flyer promoting the Southland Sports Car Club’s entry level ClubSport events arrived home from college with one of his sons. Having two sons – James, who was at that stage was 14 years old, and Ryan, 12, – who were keen petrolheads meant Matt gave the club’s ClubSport co-ordinator Malcolm Mitchell a call prior to the 2019/2020 season commencing.

James and Ryan duly lined up in the Evolution Motorsport car which was available for hire to contest their first motorkhana, a series of events around coned courses run against the clock.

The family soon had a car of their own to use, a Renault Clio which was quickly joined by a Subaru Legacy. They quickly expanded their involvement as the boys progressed into contesting both motorkhana’s and autocross events before the end of that first season. Autocross involves more speed and higher safety requirements. With the boys getting fully involved Matt also started competing. The Clio was soon replaced by a Mitsubishi Diamante. “I wanted something with a little bit more grunt but the Mitsi was a little big so we are looking for something smaller for the cones,” Matt says.

Despite only becoming involved a little over a year ago the family are fully committed to ClubSport. “It is really good to do it with the boys,” Matt says. “They love it and there is plenty of competition between them. The benefits of driving in a controlled environment while learning car control is a bonus and everyone is easy to get along with at the events too.”

Round 4 takes place on Sunday and the Southland Sports Car Club welcome any newcomers who want to take part, or even just come along and see what the sport was about before having a go. Drivers as young as 12 could have a go with parental consent.

Entry fee for the motorkhana is $25 and autocross $40 with a small hire fee for the Evolution Motorsport club car of $20.

Andrew Lawrie of Invercargill leads the Motorkhana Championship after three rounds from Craig Allan and Andrew Kennedy while Liam MacDonald heads the Autocross points from Lawrie and Stacy Lines.

Loop Claims Trio at Teretonga Park

Three classes, three clear winners and three casualties. That was the story of the day as Liam MacDonald, Leon Hallett and Gregory Scott took the spoils in their respective classes on a day of motor racing action presented by Downer at Teretonga Park on Sunday.

However, while Hallett had a good day in his class, he ended the day with his car on its side at the loop in the Flying Farewell, one of three competitors caught out by the fast corner at the end of the front straight during the day, with Stacy Lines of Invercargill rolling his Toyota Corolla FXGT and Brent Cross of Winton (Mitsubishi EVO 3) also leaving the circuit there and tipping onto his side.

Two of the south’s highest profile competitors, two-time NZV8 Champion Liam MacDonald and former NZ Formula 1600 Champion Jordan Michels, went head to head in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Group A Clubmans saloon races with MacDonald relying on the brute power of his Falcon while Michels was in his less powerful but more technologically advanced Honda TCR car.

Jordan Michels in his Honda Fk7 TCR, Photo: Ron Veint

MacDonald won both races from Michels with Dunedin driver Arron Black third in his BMW E46 in the first race and Jeremy Dawson third in the second after Black failed to finish.

In Group B Leon Hallett of Mosgiel won the first race in his Ford Capri Perana R from Rachael Beck of Invercargill (Fiat 850) and Ian McKenzie of Otautau in a Datsun Sunny. Beck led away in the second until the race was red flagged after Lines rolled at the loop. At the restart Hallett pounced to win again from Beck and McKenzie.

Leon Hallett’s Ford Capri Perana R, Photo: Ron Veint

The class race featured another red flag when Cross had his incident at the loop. On resumption MacDonald and Michels fought it out at the front while Doug Munro of Invercargill in a Holden Commodore held off Black for third. MacDonald’s win gave him the 2501cc & over class honours while Black took Class 3 (1601-2500cc). Class 2 (1301-1600cc) went to Bradley Dawson of Invercargill in his Toyota Trueno in fifth place with Class 1 (0-1300cc) going to Todd Blackmun of Invercargill in his Vauxhall Chevette.

The Flying Farewell also went to MacDonald, chased all the way by Michels with Black third.

As expected Gregory Scott of Dunedin dominated the Sports & Racing Car races in his Tatuus FT40, one of the original chassis’ from the Toyota Racing Series. He was followed home in the first two races by Greg Millane in a Reynard 84F and Robin Williams of Riverton (Van Diemen RF92). Scott started from the back of the grid in the third but was soon in front leading Millane and Dave McKenzie (Begg FM3) across the line. It was Scott again in the Flying Farewell from Millane and Williams.

Gregory Scott’s Tatuus FT40, Photo: Ron Veint

The next motor race meeting at Teretonga Park takes place over the weekend of 5-6 December.

Road Racing Action for Teretonga

Teretonga Raceway will host some of New Zealand’s best motorcycle racers on Saturday.

Round two of the Southern Race Series, a joint venture between the Southland Motorcycle Club and Motorcycling Canterbury, is set to heat up as racers from throughout the South Island venture to the deep south.

Southland Motorcycle Club president Andy Underhay expects riders to produce some hotly-contested battles in the quest to add vital points to their overall tally.

“We know Teretonga is a favourite circuit for many riders and it will be great to see the series continue to unfold here,” he said.

“For our local Southland riders it’s a fantastic chance to have home turf advantage as they mix it up with visiting competitors.

“This series is designed to showcase the three tracks we have in the South Island and give competitors the challenge of having to contend with the variances of all three so it will be interesting to see how they adapt.”

Entry is free for spectators and the race schedule will feature all classes, including Superbikes, 300 Supersport, Supalite, Pro Twin, 125GP, Classics, 150 SuperSport, 250 Production, F4 Buckets, Super Motard and Sidecars.

The hotly contested SuperSport 300 class will race at Teretonga for the first time on
Saturday. Photo: ASP – Aaron Staples Photography

Following the opening round at Levels Raceway in Timaru in September, New Zealand champion Alastair Hoogenboezem and his Yamaha Racing NZ team-mate Jake Lewis are first and second respectively in the Superbike ranks, while Dale Finch snatched a trifecta of wins to lead the 600 SuperSport title hunt.

Former NZ champion Dennis Charlett was undefeated in the 300 SuperSport division and will be eager to extend his lead. Expect a strong challenge from Southland teenager Cormac Buchanan who earned an impressive two seconds and a third on debut in the class in round one. Dan Jenkins recorded three wins in both the Superlite and F4 Buckets classes, while Buchanan leads the 125GP standings on his IM250 pre-Moto3 machine.

Auckland’s SJ Cavell dominated proceedings in the Pro Twin, while Andrew Rudd was equally impressive in the Super Motards. Ollie Cotton leads the 250 Production and 150 SuperSport Junior points tables.

The final showdown is scheduled for Christchurch’s Ruapuna Raceway on April 4.

Free Admission at Teretonga Park for Club Racing on Sunday

Admission is free at Teretonga Park this Sunday (15 November) with two classes competing throughout the afternoon in a quickfire programme of races.

The Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons and Sports & Racing cars have the programme all to themselves at the event presented by Downer.

The on-track action starts at 11.00am with a test session for each class followed by qualifying and then two races from 12.40pm before a short lunch break at 1.15pm and six more races during the afternoon.

A varied grid of saloons will contest the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubman Saloon races with two-time NZV8 Champion and seven-time Southland Sports Car Club Champion Liam MacDonald of Invercargill in a Ford Falcon the favourite. Competition will come from the club’s current race champion Brent Cross of Winton in a Mitsubishi EVO 3 and Arron Black of Dunedin in a BMW E46 along with several others who will be to the fore. Leon Hallett of Mosgiel, last season’s 2501cc & over class champion and Flying Farewell Champion, will line up in a 7-litre Ford Galaxie.

Gregory Scott of Dunedin should be a frontrunner in the Sports & Racing Car races in his Tatuus FT40, one of the original chassis’ that introduced the Toyota Racing Series to New Zealand. Others in the field, are Greg Millane of Cromwell in a Reynard 84F and Dave McKenzie of Invercargill in a Begg FM3. Young gun Alex Crosbie of Invercargill, last year’s SSCC Novice Driver of the Year who has made a good start to the South Island Formula 1600 Championship this season, and Robin Williams of Riverton, runner–up in last year’s Sports & Racing Car Championship plus the Sports & Racing Flying Farewell Championship both drive Van Diemen RF92’s at the event.