NZ Utes: Graham & Simon Beirne Teretonga Park Saturday report


It was a mixed day for father and son Graham and Simon Beirne during Round 3 of the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge at Teretonga Park today.

It all started in qualifying when Simon, 'Jnr Burner' and his father Graham, 'Snr Burner' both qualified exceptionally well. Simon, the lap record holder at the fast Invercargill track, qualified second fastest while Graham set the fourth fastest lap time in this mornings qualifying session.

Grid positions for the first race of the weekend are decided by marble draw and Grahams luck held as he drew the fifth spot on the grid while Simon was less fortunate - his marble handing him fifteenth and last position.

The race provided contrasting fortunes for the duo. Graham had a great race in the John Jones Steel Falcon, climbing into third place before a safety car intervention mid race. On resumption Graham made a good start, slotting into second place. For the remainder of the race he chased leader and eventual winner Chris Pither to the line, passing the chequered flag in second place.

Meanwhile Simon had made a superb start, climbing several positions over the course of the opening lap. He sliced through the field only to get a tap from behind at the fastest corner on the track - the loop. The Team McDonald's Falcon spun twice, getting clipped again on the second rotation. There was a large degree of damage although Simon was able to resume near the rear of the field.

Again he was faced with the necessity of having to work his way back through the traffic, rising to ninth place at the chequered flag.

'Snr Burner' was happy after the race. "I think it is fair to say I have had the season from hell so far. I have just been going out to drive with the thought that my luck must change. I felt controlled out there and I feel we made improvements in the race. I think I can beat the top three if I have a margin on them at the start and I bellieve I can be fourth on merit."

Simon had mixed feelings about the weekend to date. "The Team McDonald's Falcon went like a dream. We had a bit of pace yesterday in testing and more in qualifying. It is always a challenge driving through traffic but it is one I have undertaken before. I made a blinder of a start and I climbed to seventh until 'Huggi' (James Urquhart) locked up under brakes. I spun twice and he collected me again. After that I was playing catch up. Coming through the traffic was challenging. Everybody has different braking points. However we were sent off the track at 206 kilometres an hour and we did not have a DNF (non finish). I'm disappointed but it could have been much worse." Simon also paid tribute to his fathers drive - "it was fantastic!"

Tomorrow the Burners face two more races, the first at 11.10am when Simon will have pole position and the finale over 12 laps timed to start at 2.50pm.

-source: tmr/jjsr

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Series V8S
Drivers Chris Pither