SENIOR SEALS NATIONAL PODIUM Sixty-two year old Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne of Christchurch finished his third season in the NZV8 Ute Championship by claiming a place on the series podium at the Timaru International Motor Raceway this ...
SENIOR SEALS NATIONAL PODIUM
Sixty-two year old Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne of Christchurch finished his third season in the NZV8 Ute Championship by claiming a place on the series podium at the Timaru International Motor Raceway this weekend.
'Snr Burner' had an exceptionally good weekend qualifying his John Jones Steel Falcon fifth fastest and then racing to two fourths, a third and a fifth to claim third overall in the 2009/2010 NZV8 Ute Championship. 'Snr Burner' had arrived at the final round fourth, 8 points behind fellow Christchurch driver Simon 'Sly Si' Grace and 2 points ahead of Geoff 'Spence' Spencer. The first two races on Saturday saw Beirne finish ahead of Grace to edge closer with a fifth and then a fourth placing. The following day Grace struck a myriad of problems while Beirne, who himself has been battling numerous clutch and gearbox issues, gained two more excellent results with a third and a fourth.
'Snr Burner' was elated with the result and his son Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne who made his return to the series equally so. "Gaining a national podium is a hard ask, plenty have tried and plenty have failed. Richard and the team from DCH Motorsport and Mark Alexander did a great job and dad drove very well,'' said Simon.
The podium honours gave the 'Burners' a unique family double. Simon who returned to the series in his Team McDonald's Falcon at the weekend stood on the podium two seasons ago after taking second in the championship while now his father Graham has claimed a podium also.
While 'Snr Burner' was putting the icing on the cake of a successful season, 'Jnr Burners' return to the series was an impressive one. He put the Team McDonald's Falcon on the front row of the grid beside series leader Chris Pither and led the first race until problems struck. As Beirne took the Team McDonald's Falcon across the ripple strip on his normal racing line the powersteering belt was damaged. The belt also drives the water pump so rather than cook the engine Simon elected to pit and withdraw from the race.
He returned for the second race later that afternoon and after a flying start placed fifth.
The following morning a broken axle slowed the Team McDonald's Falcon. Simon explained that parts had spun inside the assembly giving no traction. "It was like the clutch was blown. You go over these machines with a fine tooth comb and we were just really unlucky."
The final race saw 'Jnr Burner' bring the Team McDonald's Falcon home fourth. We got held up at the lights at the pit exit which probably cost us a position or two.
It was an impressive return by the former series frontrunner. Absent for twelve months Simon returned to qualify on the front row and to run at a competitive pace
Simon enjoyed his return too. 'I'm over the moon. I like to give 110% whenever I do anything. It was great to be on the front row after a year away. The kids love it too. Lots of children come by to see the McDonald's Falcon - they love it."
Both Snr and Jnr Burner will now prepare for the Trans Tasman Ute Challenge at the ITM Hamilton 400.
In addition to the support of major partners McDonalds and John Jones Steel in conjunction with Simon Beirne Limited, "Integrity in Vehicle Brokering," the team also has support from Bruce Raxworthy Panel & Paint, Chevron Quality Cars-Driving Excellence, Business IT Software Management Systems, Mag & Turbo Warehouse, Jeffs Vehicle Deliveries and Lets Get Graphic and DJ Hewitt Builders Ltd.