CHESTER IS NEW ZEALAND SUPERGT CHAMPION Young Auckland driver Nick Chester is New Zealand's latest SuperGT champion after another giant-killing display in his Mitsibishi Evo Turbo at the final round of the 2005/06 at the new Taupo Motor Racing...
CHESTER IS NEW ZEALAND SUPERGT CHAMPION
Young Auckland driver Nick Chester is New Zealand's latest SuperGT champion after another giant-killing display in his Mitsibishi Evo Turbo at the final round of the 2005/06 at the new Taupo Motor Racing Circuit over the Easter weekend.
In only his third season of racing, all completed in the same now much modified car, the 25-year-old Auckland branch manager set the third fastest lap time in qualifying then carded a 7-2-7 run through the (handicap/scratch/handicap) races to win both the Group 3 Modified class and overall SuperGT title.
Second overall, and winner of the Group 4 Modified category, after two wins and a 13th place at Taupo, was Dodge Viper driver Malcolm Udy from Hamilton, while defending Group 1 and series champion Andy Tyler (Porsche 935 replica) was third overall.
The highlight, however, for the many spectators at the annual Easter meeting at the new, extended now 3.439km Taupo circuit was the performance of Calven Bonney, the Auckland trucking industry identity, in his 7 litre Holden Monaro CV8.
With the car now 100% reliable (after an early season punctuated by engine problems) Bonney was in swash-buckling form, his pole-winning time in qualifying 4.748 seconds quicker than that of second fastest qualifier Jason Liefting (Subaru 22B Turbo) and over five and a half seconds quicker than Chester and fellow second row qualifier, class stalwart Bill Fulford driving his familiar Porsche Le Mans Turbo.
The handicap nature of the start procedure in the SuperGT class meant Bonney realistically only had the one chance (in the fastest-to-the-front scratch start race over five laps on Sunday morning) of actually winning a race, but that was only the half of it.
Bonney worked his way from the back of the grid to finish third in the first race, won the second by almost ten seconds from Chester, then went all out for an ultimate lap time in the third, leaving the track with a new SuperGT class record of 1.35.392. The closest anyone else got in that race was Nick Chester with a 1.38.941.
Without usual Group 4 Modified front-runners Carl Hansen (TVR Tuscan), John Rae (Chevrolet Camaro), and Owen Evans and 'Racing' Ray Williams (Porsche Le Mans Turbo and 911 GT2 Turbo respectively), Bonney was very much left to his own devices at the Taupo meeting, however having won both the Group 3 Modified class title (for turbo cars up to 2 litre) and the overall title for 2005/06, Nick Chester plans to move up a class next season, stroking his Mitsubishi Evo's engine to 2.3 litre so he can 'play with the big boys.'
Chester attributes his Evo's speed and perhaps more importantly reliability to engine guru Randall Edgell, the man responsible for the build, maintenance and tuning of the turbocharged 2 litre engine. He says he would also like to pay tribute to the work of Paul Olsen of Olsen Developments, Jono from Performance Metalwork and members of his Chesters Plumbing and Bathroom Centre-backed crew.
This season has been very much a transitional one for the SuperGT class, with the 'old guard' of Hansen, Williams, Evans et al coming under concerted attack from all corners.
In one is Bonney in his Holden Monaro CV8 and Group 4 Modified category winner Malcolm Udy in the V10 Dodge Viper, in the other the 'Fast & Furious' turbo four cylinders of over all and Group 3 Modified winner Chester, fellow young gun Jason Liefting, and Nissan 200SX man Ron Van Zantvoort.
With all keen to return next season the prospects of the category look very good indeed.