Competing in Australia's fastest racing series - Formula 4000

 
Mallala 2003

I may be biased but I like the sound of Silver Star champions 2001 AND 2003. Mallala has been good to our team over many years but hasn't been so kind to us recently.

We came to the round with a nice points lead and a fairly modest requirement to put the championship back in our hands. We decided to go all out for the round win as well.

Our weekend started strongly with our new set-up allowing us to record fifth fastest time in the two practice sessions. The times were slower than we had done previously but the track was very green and cold, and the wind was gusty.

Qualifying was also cold and we knew that an early fast lap time was required to make sure that we wouldn't get caught out by a red flag. I pressed really hard from the start and got a fast time in the bank. We had the aero balance a little out but otherwise the car was set up really well. By the end of the session we had our best qualifying position of fifth and luckily it was an odd number that put us on the outside of the track and crucially gave us the inside run into turn 2. Our main competition was behind us and we were ready to race.

Sunday dawned wet and cold but the weather radar suggested that we would have a dry run by 12-00 pm when we were due for race 1.

I got a really nice start in race 1 and snatched second only to find that Ricki was slow away. I didn't want to go right as I'd be locked on the outside on turn 2 so I had to lift. Ken Sith had got a scorcher and went inside at turn 1 closely followed by Rohan Carrig. Rohan drifted across my nose so I lifted again to mind my wing. By this time Terry was right on my tail and as I ran out of turn 2 I got a big tap from behind. I caught the slide and reapplied the power but the car snapped into a spin.

I guessed the rear tyre was flat and as I had just passed the pit entrance I was going to have to do a full lap on the flat which gave me plenty of time to get the crew ready for their first "hot" tyre change and worry a lot about what else might be damaged. It took a while but by the time I got there the crew was ready and did a pretty quick change.

We rejoined in the middle of the lead pack and soon realised I was an uninvited guest in a real dogfight. First I let Paul Trengove past and settled down to try and warm the new cold rear tyre. Paul then spun so I passed him again. From then on I tried to circulate safely and tag along with the lead cars till the end. It was a great result after some early drama and sealed our Silver Star. The crew had reacted well to the challenge and more than ever this one was down to them.

Race two was a little hard as we had to start from eighth place after the flat tyre in race 1. I got a nice start and set up on the first lap to pass Rohan which I did on lap two. The next time through turn 1 I was closing on Michael Joannou but he spun straight in front of me, I was heading towards a nasty accident so I had to let the car spin to the outside of turn 2. The fire went out and it took a while to relight and then also took a while to get of the very wet slippery mud. I set out after Rohan again and managed to get past cruising home to nice fifth place.

Rohan cleaned up the Silver Star award for this meeting by keeping it all clean - good job. Our points haul took us to a winning score for this years Silver Star series with the luxury of one meeting to go. Eastern Creek will be just for funů. It was great to win at home with our sponsors EDS present and in spite of the weather we had a great time with a record 34 invited guests. Rebecca got carried away!

Thanks to our dedicated and talented crew for the weekend, Bruce Linn, Garrett Gerhardt, Pete Duldig, race engineer Sam Lee, and Steve Davis. Thanks also to Jo Linn who cooked up a storm and to Fiona Millett who baked - lots.

Our team's second Silver Star is a testament to the commitment we have had from a large number of people. EDS has been a great support and without them we wouldn't even have been competing this year, they have been fantastic to us over a number of years.

Doug Veales first Cantech evolution engine has carried us faithfully through the year faultlessly and all bodes well for the Mk2 next year, thanks Doug. Marshall Flanagan at Hothouse Communications has helped us to maintain our professional PR program that hopefully will enable us to lift our performance again next year.

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