Interclub Challenge Round 6 Timed Laps – Lakeside Driver Training Centre.
Words by Jon Young. Photos by Dick Reynolds and Shane Murphy.
The last DTC of the year was marked with record entries (65) limited by paddock space and the need to give everyone the best number of runs for the day. The event doubled as one of the interclub challenge events, so it was not surprising that numbers were up. Unfortunately, a few very late attempts at entry meant for the first time we had to turn drivers away, so make sure that you are early next season!
As always, it was run under “management by Daryl” rules, which basically means his minions have to be at the track early to set up the timing gear; do the scrutineering, get the paperwork fettled, put out the cones, and get the paddock in some semblance of order. All these jobs tend to fall to the usual suspects, who have got the procedures down to a fine art that means we get the earliest possible start.
We all have to take off our hats, caps, scarves and Himalayan woolly bonnets to Daryl and Gail Hart, not just for the organisation, but for the seamless starting and time keeping giving all the drivers six runs in the day.
The DTC was initially feted as non-competitive, which took about 60secs in the first event held to become a fiercely contested battle with lots of informal sub-classes. All gloves came off when it became a round of the Interclub Challenge, though off the track, the camaraderie is outstanding.
Needless to say that the first car on the track (Ken Graham’s Datto) immediately told us that the track was quick and no prisoners were going to be taken. The first twenty cars are always the guinea pigs, sweeping up the dust and cleaning up the driving line, and this day was no exception, with one or two little fluffs. No damage – as expected, this has to be one of the safest tracks with plenty of run-off and not too much to hit.
So run one ended with a spread of about 2.5 seconds between the first fifteen cars. This didn’t actually change much across the day, ending with the 2.5 second gap covering the first eleven cars. The only thing that changed here was the order, which bounced around as drivers tried different approaches to get more grip, better starts and generally go quicker.
I loved watching the Fiesta being driven by Jason and David Holman. It didn’t look as though it knew whether to squat like a lady dog, or lift a leg depending on who was driving! Some of the best three wheel driving I’ve seen for a while, most entertaining.
The other fascinating entry was the BATT Mobile special of Greg Aldering. As the name suggests it is all electric and it acquitted itself well. Somewhat uncanny to only hear the drive train as it (didn’t literally) roar off the start line. At least this was the DTC contribution to keeping emissions down, and checking the interweb confirmed that nobody had accused us of killing any polar bears.
One of the innovations that Daryl has instituted is the live timing that he has managed to broadcast on telephones. I have no idea how this works, but suspect some kind of witchcraft. Either way, next time we run a DTC, you can all follow the progress. We shall have to make sure the link is published prior to the event.
It’s interesting that even with this wizardry, a clutch of drivers still surround the timekeepers, though I suspect it’s more to do with gossiping and sledging than simple record keeping.
Anyway, back to the running. Times were generally dropping through the day, with mini rivalries keeping the drivers on their toes.
The top eight cars were fearsome beasts with huge grunt that got them to the first corner some seconds quicker than the rest of the mere mortals, which kept them in the lead all day, but all is fair in love and war, as they say. It was really when Geoff Noble put on some slicks that it became clear who would take the honours of the day. Of course he immediately dropped 0.75 seconds, and when the tyres came on, another 0.4 seconds on his previous times to claim first place overall.
As for the rest of us, well, we all had a great day, overjoyed with getting a new PB, overcoming the frustrations of not being able to improve, being able to drive our cars home, finding a new way of getting around the track, and getting our club a few more points in the interclub series.
Just for the record, quickest time was 45.143 seconds (Geoff) which I think is the record on this track.
The only way I will get to beat this time is if I claim an old age concession.
The absolute truism is that the DTC is widely acclaimed as an event not to be missed, and we are all looking forward to the next round of DTC’s next year. So if any of you are in QLD when they are scheduled, make a point of joining in…