LYONS WINS FIRST MSC F5000 SERIES RACE AFTER ENGINE TROUBLE STOPS SMITH


The last time he was here - in 2012 - Lyons, 23, set a new outright track lap record of 59.840 seconds and won all six MSC F5000 races at the two New Zealand Festival and Motor Racing meetings at Hampton Downs.

Kiwi super-vet Smith, 72, had his measure in qualifying this morning, however, claiming pole position for today's first eight-lap MSC NZ F5000 series race with a time of 59.445.

Lyons, who with a best time of 59.514, was the only other driver to break the 1.00.00 minute barrier in the qualifying session, was never far behind early on in the race. But just when it looked like he was going to take a serious tilt atSmith's lead, guest driver Guido Belgiorno-Nettis in one of the Formula 1 cars shipped in for this year's Ferrari-themed NZ Festival of Motor Racing event spun and beached itself on a kerb, bringing out the yellow flags, then Smith himself spunand ended up stranded in the middle of the track at the next corner. That brought out the Safety Car then the race was re-flagged so that Smith's prone car could be recovered."

"Something went wrong in the engine," said a circumspect Smithafterwards."It vibrated then it just locked up, it could be the crank, it could be anything."

Once the Smith car was recovered the race was re-started with Lyons unchallenged to take the win from fellow Lola T400 driver Andrew Higgins and Class A (for older cars) stand-out Michael Whatley.

"That's not good news, " Lyons said when told of Smith engine problem. "It's a shame too because it was shaping up to be a good race.I couldn't get anywhere nearKen into Turn 1 but once I was tucked in I was a little bit quicker through the middle-section of the track and I was just getting ready to take the gloves off it and go for it when he stopped."

Compatriot Michael Whatley was the big mover as far as race places were concerned, the English veteranqualifying sixth, making up two places on the first lap then inheriting third on the last lap when defending series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) had a wild ride exiting the final corner.

"Happy with third? I'm absolutely delighted, " he said. "I got past the Ferrari in the first lap and was just thinking that I should be sensible andsettle for fourth whenSteve overcooked it on the last lap."

The re-start also benefited Brett Willis (Lola T330) who passed former MSC series champ Ian Clements (Lola T332) round the outside of Turn 1 on the last lap and held fourth place to the flag. Steve Ross recovered forsixth and Michael Lyons' father Frank claimed a goodseventh in his Gurney-Eagle FA74).

Happy to finally be on the grid and finish their first ever MSC series race, meanwhile, were series newcomers Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) who qualified his new and untested car 13th and finished the first race in 11th position, and fellow Aucklander Glenn Richards (Lola T400) who qualified 15th and finished 13th.

Missing from the grid today, but hoping be be back out tomorrow, was 2012/13 series race winenr Clark Proctor (March 73A), his team running out of time to replace a broken crown wheel and pinion between qualifying and the first race, while able to start the race but still struggling with a gear selection issue was fellow Aucklander David Banks (Talon MR1).

Today's race was the first of three at the NZFMR meeting with two more tomorrow.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide.

 

Ends

 

CAPTIONS

MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Series race one winner Michael Lyons leading second placeman at Hampton Downs this afternoon. Other shots are of Ken Smith and his Lola T332 returningto the pits on the back of a recovery truck, guest driver Guido Belgiorno-Nettis in his Ferrari F1 car andClass A winner and third place-getter Michael Whatley. Photo credit: Fast Company/Alex Mitchell

 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series

Qualifying

1. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 59.445

2. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 59.514

3. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 1.00.685

4. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.00.844

5. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari F1) 1.02.063

6. Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) 1.02.661

7. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 1.02.763

8. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.03.245

9. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 1.03.245

10.Greg Thornton (March 75A-1) 1.04.039

11. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 1.04.117

12. Frank Lyons (Gurney-EagleFA74-01) 1.04.595

13. Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) 1.05.173

14. Calven Bonney (Begg 018) 1.05.538

15. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1.06.441

16. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1.07.334

17. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 1.10.490

18. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 1.27.115

19. Clark Proctor (March 73A) (no time)

 

Race 1 (Sat 8 laps)

1. Michael Lyons 8.44.887

2. Andrew Higgins +1.793

3. Michael Whatley +6.652

4. Brett Willis +7.167

5. Ian Clements +7.285

6. Steve Ross +9.273

7. Frank Lyons +11.795

8. Aaron Burson +12.016

9. Sefton Gibb +13.151

10. Greg Thornton +14.339

11. Grant Martin +17.721

12. Calven Bonney +20.263

13. Glenn Richards +21.881

14. Peter Burson +22.839

15. Judy Lyons +1 lap

16. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis + 2 laps

17. David Banks + 7 laps

dnf. Ken Smith, dns Clark Proctor

 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Calendar
Rnd 1: Nov 8-10 2013 'The Sound' MG Classic Manfeild Feilding
Rnd 2: Jan 17-19 2014 NZFMR Ferrari Festival - 1 Hampton Downs Nth Waikato
Rnd 3: Jan 24-26 2014 NZFMR Ferrari Festival - 2 Hampton Downs Nth Waikato
Rnd 4: Feb 01-02 2014 Skope Classic Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch

 

2013/14 Formula 5000 Australia Cup Series (invitational rounds)
Rnd 1: Aug 31-Sept 01 2013 Muscle Car Masters meeting Sydney Motorsport Park Sydney
Rnd 2: Sept 13-15 2013 Sandown 500 meeting (V8 Supercars) Sandown Melbourne
Rnd 3: Nov 08-10 2013 Sandown Historics meeting Sandown Melbourne
Rnd 4: March 07-09 2014 Phillip Island Classic meeting Phillip Island Melbourne