Morgan Park Sprints Rds 3 & 4

Round 3

By Clive Wade. Photos by Gloria Wade.

Well, a much reduced Lotus field this time round, no pun intended. Not our usual cast of thousands, no, we fielded just five Lotus shared between six drivers. The Ringuet family sharing Darryl’s (dad’s) Exige.

Now it is interesting to see how we are perceived by outsiders. Joe Arico, in Group 6, driving his now well bedded in Duratec Elise, was inadvertently classified as 3,000cc to 4,000cc, obviously due to his previous performances of the year, of ably near emulating the supercharged cars. Thus, he was sharing the grid with Geoff Noble, always renowned for his slow pace, and Darryl Ringuet who “potters” about in his Neil Trama prepared Exige, which still likes to pop and fart flames from the exhaust at every opportunity.

Daryll’s times are not insubstantial as attested by his 3rd in class finish behind Geoff and son Mitch. Yes, Joe was moving pretty rapidly in substantial company in his under 2,000cc naturally aspirated Elise.
The Ringuet’s obviously needing to purchase a second Exige so father and son can compete bumper to bumper in equally matched cars. This would negate Darryl’s parental excuse for being slowest in the family due to “dad warming the tyres so son can have a full three laps on hot tyres”.

As we only had four cars and five drivers in the Elise/Exige classes, then Mitch Ringuet was sharing the circuit with my good self in Group 11, thus he was off by himself for every run. I like the reasoning of dad warming Mitch’s slick tyres as my excuse for not keeping up, though I fear superchargers, youth, and good driving may have a little to do with the results too!

Suffice to say we all had, other than John Barram, a thoroughly great weekend on the track with perfect conditions all weekend.

John, who was running his 1962 (that’s not cc’s) Lotus 7 this year, was going quite well for most of Saturday until the fourth run. Sadly when he came in the faithful Ford heart of his 7 was seriously (noisily) protesting in regard to continuing a race track life when it had every right to be enjoying its retirement.

John decided to call it a day rather than run the risk of further damage until he knows what all the commotion was about. Good luck John, we all hope it is nothing too serious.

The other great reason for Morgan Park weekends to be so much fun is the camaraderie. Always good hearted banter in the pits throughout the day, the evenings no less continue in a similar strain. Usually we go out, but this time Geoff’s Maree suggested roast veges served with Geoff’s professionally chefed steaks, and cooked by our good host Chris, would be far more preferable to the Stockyard Pub, which is our usual haunt on a Friday night. This was so well received by all that Saturday night was carried out in the same vein.

As said above, a great weekend, though we did miss our usual contingency.

Results – Circuit D: 1.2km x 4 Laps = 4.8km

Outright (93 competitors):
01: 3:00:884 Geoff Noble Elise HPSE
02: +0:10:143 Mitch Ringuet Exige
07: +0:15:517 Darryl Ringuet Exige
15: +0:22:732 Joe Arico Elise Duratec
20: +0:24:414 Clive Wade Elise HPE
85: +0:59:407 John Barram Lotus 7 (Year 1962)

Sports Cars 3,000 & Over
01: Geoff Noble
02: Mitch Ringuet
03: Darryl Ringuet
Sports Cars 1,500 to 2,000
02: Joe Arico
03: Clive Wade
Pre 1977 Classic Sports Cars 0 to 1,500
08: John Barram

Round 4

By Clive Wade. Photos by Vyvyan Black.

Last round of the year and what a brilliant way to end a year of non-competitive competition!

Some of the best weather in years, maybe a little on the warm side, but it suited the cars with track temperatures being perfect. All LCQ participants went home smiling having managed 8 runs on the longest circuit; Circuit K being 3.2 km long and very fast.

PB’s were the order of the day with many falling time after time for virtually everyone.

Geoff Noble got faster again! If you could ever believe that to be possible. Garry Pitt was so fast in the naturally aspirated Honda we all checked in the boot to ensure there wasn’t a turbo charger hidden away. After all, considering his record of evil antics years ago, when he turned up at a Lotus Only Track Day, without telling anyone who didn’t need to know, that a Honda had replaced his Rover motor, who could blame us for checking… once bitten twice shy as they say.

The supercharged Toyota lads, Martin & Darryl, battled away feverishly all weekend, knocking their PB’s over time and again.

The big surprise was John Flynn! Now John is a quiet chap at the best of times, and he has obviously been stealing leaves from Garry’s book, though when a quiet chap who normally turns up in his trusty old S1 Elise turns up Friday afternoon in the loudest blue, S3 Elise sporting 220bhp of Toyota’s best, one can hardly expect the boys not to notice. John certainly surprised us all, though it wasn’t quite as subtle as Garry’s aforementioned antics. Well done John, and we are all looking forward to the future outcomes when the “good bits” arrive from the UK.

Holding the pride of Lotus of years gone by was Vyvyan in his immaculate Elan Plus 2. Vyvyan could never be expected to match the performance of the modern, and virtually not quite stock Elise/Exige mob, but he drove the Plus 2 to a 1st in class in a 1st class car.

Then there is Joe in his magnificent Lotus Duratec Elise. Now some years ago Joe sidled up to me and said, quote: “My first task here is to knock you off you old fart”. And it wasn’t long before he had. And so the battle has been fought and re-fought many times over for a good 8 years, often old man time only able to separate us by only 0.007 of a second. Sometimes Joe has nailed me by embarrassing numbers of seconds, but whatever, we have built a wonderful friendship throughout. So I’ll only say one thing… suck it Joe.

The weekend’s results:

Geoff Noble
Lotus Elise S2 SC Honda Engine
Garry Pitt
Lotus Elise S2 NA Honda Engine

Darryl Ringuet
Lotus Elige S2 SC Toyota Engine

Martin O’Brien
Lotus Elise S3 SC Toyota Engine

Clive Wade
Lotus Elise S1 NA Honda Engine

Joe Arico
Lotus Elise S2 NA Ford Engine

John Flynn
Lotus Elise S3 SC Toyota Engine

Vyvyan Black
Lotus Elan Plus 2 1584cc Twin Cam

Of course sprinting is only part of it. We all arrived in Warwick feeling a little tentative. Why, well, the Chevrolet Clubs of Australia were holding their annual get together in Warwick, and our regular digs had long before been booked out. Our wonderful B&B lady, Yve, however had assured us we would not be homeless, and homeless we weren’t. Though a little spread across the community we were all well looked after, and we managed to be all together for dinner each night. Some of us were invited to stay with the Chevrolet folk at the B&B, myself included, where I enjoyed their welcoming hospitality, inviting me to join them in everything; pre-dinner, dinner and breakfast. Some of them joined us for Saturday night where we got on famously. Only goes to show, all car enthusiasts are interested in the same common pleasure; a chosen marque of whatever, and a good time.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention the major event for the Chevy Club; the Saturday Night Street Cruise, if anything could have been totally 50’s this was it. Quite spectacular to see hundreds of highly polished Chev’s burbling up and down the main street! It was so 50’s it was a wonder the ladies were allowed in the public bars for the night.