NZ Utes: Beirne Manfeild Park summary


Christchurch driver Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne extended his run of podiums with another one at Round 5 of the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge at Manfeild Park in Feilding this weekend.

'Junior' had taken his Team McDonald's Falcon to the podium at every round of the series prior to this weekend and despite a puncture and a hasty pit stop in the finale on Sunday he continued the feat. Beirne came to Manfeild with high hopes as he has always gone well on the 3.03 kilometre track. The opening day of the meeting confirmed that 'Junior's' optimism was well founded as he qualified second fastest and then drove from well down the grid to third place in the first race of the round that afternoon.

Sunday morning saw the Team McDonald's Falcon make a "blinder" of a start. From the third row of the grid Simon charged into third place by the first corner. He then became involved in a titanic tussle with Caine Lobb and Chris Pither. When the dust settled Simon was in second place and he drove an excellent race to finish four and a half seconds ahead of Lobb.

"The Team McDonald's Falcon handled like a dream," said Simon in the pits after the race. "Rich and the crew have been going through everything since Timaru and my head is in the right space and Manfeild is a track we like."

'Junior' was on the front row of the grid for the last race of the round and settled into second place off the line. However on the second lap the Team McDonald's Falcon had a big moment through the esses and Lobb was through. The cause was soon evident as Simon nursed the ute back to the pits to change a flat tyre. "The car was grouse and then all of a sudden it broke loose. I knew I had to get it back to the pits quickly. The boys did a good job to get me out before I went a lap down."

That proved crucial as later in the race a safety car period allowed Simon to catch up and when racing resumed he hunted down Jeff Kernohan and grabbed an extra place. "That could be the difference between second and third in this championship." Despite only finishing twelfth in the final race the results prior to that point of the weekend contributed to third place overall for the round and another podium for Simon.

"I wanted to stamp my authority on that race," said Simon after the finale. "We had good pace. Rich had done a good job preparing the Team McDonald's Falcon. We had made a good start."

Looking at the weekend overall Simon said, "we got faster in the races than we had been in qualifying and we showed that we are a force to be reckoned with. Taupo is next - bring it on!"

Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne took no part in Sundays action after struggling with the John Jones Steel Falcon the previous day. After 91 hours of labour was put into rebuilding the ute after a major shunt at Teretonga last month the vehicle was found to be 37mm out on one side and 34mm on the other. The engine cross members were not in line and the team had to drill new holes to fit the engine. The John Jones Steel Falcon wouldn't turn in around the twisty Manfeild circuit during Saturdays programme so the team will now reshell the John Jones Steel Falcon for the next round.

That round takes place at the Taupo Motorsport Park from 11-13 March.

In addition to the support of major partners McDonald's 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, NZVD Transport, Lets Get Graphic, DJ Hewitt Builders Ltd and Vehicle Safety Systems {VSS} And Compliance.

-source: beirne/beer

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Series V8S
Drivers Chris Pither