New Zealand Victorious In V8 Ute Trans Tasman Test It took until the final race of the three match test series but after three days of hot competition on the tough 3.4 kilometre Hamilton Street circuit it was New Zealand who won the V8 Ute Trans...
New Zealand Victorious In V8 Ute Trans Tasman Test
It took until the final race of the three match test series but after three days of hot competition on the tough 3.4 kilometre Hamilton Street circuit it was New Zealand who won the V8 Ute Trans Tasman Test Series this weekend.
The title was sealed in the third and final test match, raced over 14 laps this morning.
New Zealand's Chris Pither was on pole in his ENZED Falcon with Australian Kim 'The Assassin' Jane alongside in his Bob Jane T-Marts Commodore. The two drivers had one win each coming into the finale and everything depended on the outcome of the race.
Pither got the jump from pole position and led into the first corner from Jane, Australian Robert 'Captain' Jarvis in his BVC Racing Ford and kiwi Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne in his Team McDonald's Ford. Jarvis was swamped on the second lap as Beirne got through followed by defending Trans Tasman Ute Champion Charlie 'Handlebars' Kovacs of Australia in his Wilson Security Commodore and kiwis Colin 'Crusha' Corkery in his Supercharge Batteries Falcon and Matthew 'The Phantom' Lockwood in his older Styrofit Underfloor Insulation VU Commodore.
Pither and Jane pulled a gap on the rest of the field initially and then Pither began to put some distance on Jane. It was the most dominant performance of the weekend as Pither went on to win by more than 5 seconds after the duo had fought tooth and nail in the first two races to share the wins the previous day.
After the race Pither said his crew had made a couple of changes to enable the ENZED Falcon to last the distance better. "I went in with the mindset to conserve when I could. It was very consistent. My first 8 or 9 laps were all within .4 of a second every lap. It did drop off a bit but I chose to push on for a buffer. I was ready for the tyres and brakes to start fading. It was a great weekend and it was good for the ute category to be at the country's highest profile event putting on a good show."
Jane ran his tyre pressure combination too low, and struggled with under-steer all race, and couldn't match Pithers pace but despite the result in the final race Jane had a fantastic time. "I buggered my start in today's race. I tried hanging on the back of him (Pither) but I didn't have enough. He was a bit better here and there. I was quicker yesterday. These cars are sensitive to tyre pressure and ride height changes." Jane was very complimentary of the Hamilton circuit.
"Apart from the Albert Park GP track this is one of the best street circuits. There are enough different types of corners to make it a challenge."
Behind Pither and Jane today was Beirne who drove a superb race to third place after disposing of Jarvis. The drive capped a great weekend for the kiwi, putting him on the event podium for the weekend after little racing in recent times. Corkery applied huge pressure to Kovacs throughout the race and finished fourth after the Australian overshot turn one. Former New Zealand Champion Lockwood was sent to the pits after some bodywork came loose and finished 12th.
The final order behind Pither, Jane and Beirne was Corkery, Jarvis (boasting his best ever top 5 result in a V8 Ute), Kovacs, Simon 'Sly Si' Grace of New Zealand in his Parker Racor Holden and Australians George 'Hollywood' Elliot (Vittoria Coffee Commodore) and Greg 'Freddy' Willis (Grove Juice Falcon). Kiwis Peter 'Rocketman' Robb (Hill Country Helicopters Holden) and Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne (John Jones Steel Falcon) were next after a torrid battle and a tight dash for the line.
James Huggi Urqhuart spun at the chicane on the final lap nosing into the wall in the Wildcard Racing Commodore while Geoff 'Spence' Spencer of New Zealand in his Transpecs Commodore. Australian Allan 'King Al' Letcher in his WA Lifting Equipment Holden went into limp mode and was also forced to retire.
The Australians enjoyed the Series and would like to make it a regular event.
"The Trans Tasman Test Series will become a regular part of the V8 Ute Series competition year the fans loved the utes, and the door to door battle between Pither and Jane had the crowd on their feet with a standing ovation at the end of race 2," said Craig Denyer, SPHERIX, category managers of Australian V8 Ute Racing.
The Kiwis are now keen for a return bout on Aussie soil, and all eyes are on Mt Panorama as the favoured venue.
-source: aus v8 ute