ANXIOUS MOMENTS BEFORE LYONS COMPLETES SECOND CLEAN SWEEP

Lyons, who qualified on pole and won the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, was leading the second MSC race on Sunday morning when it was red flagged, then he had to nurse his car home from half distance in the 15-lap final when an exhaust header cracked and ran under his car's right rear wheel when it (the header) finally broke off. 

"I heard it crack first ," the just-turned 23-year-old said, "then a couple of laps later the engine note changed again and when I looked in the mirror after the car suddenly jumped sideways when I was accelerating out of the sweeper there was a big cut in the right rear tyre so I spent the rest of the race thinking that I needed to keep going fast enough so that the boys behind me didn't think they had a chance of catching me but not so fast that I was going to risk blowing the tyre because if it was going to go it was going to be a big one." 

After the second weekend race was deemed null and void because it was red flagged before 75% of its full distance was completed, the 15-lap final also started - literally - under a cloud. 

First it was brought forward until just after lunch because of the threat of rain. Then, just as the field thundered out onto the  track light rain began to fall, prompting race organisers to call the field back to the pits to swap from slick tyres to wets. 

By the time all the cars were back in pitlane however, the shower had passed and even those who had changed to wets had to change back to slicks when the race was declared dry. 

With Clark Proctor (March 73A), Greg Thornton (March 75A) and David Banks (Talon MR1) already out with gearbox issues of one sort or another, Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) sidelined by a holed brake caliper, Brett Willis (Lola T330) and Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) out after car and/or engine damage from the aborted race in the morning, and Michael Lyons' mother Judy (Lola T332) electing not to start,  the field was down to 11 cars by the time the feature started. 

That didn't mean it was without interest though, with Michael Lyons's father Frank (Gurney-Eagle FA74) grabbing second place after a daring move around the outside of Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) through the first turn, and special event and MSC series guest Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari 156/85 turbo F1) working his way from the back of the grid (after a rush to even get there thanks to the earlier race start) to fifth place at the flag. 

Lyons Snr held second place for the first two laps before being slotted back to third and eventually fourth with Begiorno-Nettis closing the gap but still just over two seconds adrift at the flag for fifth.

"I could see him making progress, but because he was only a second a lap quicker than I was the gap was too big for him to close," Lyons Snr  said.   

One of the reasons was that it had taken Sydney-based Ferrari driver Belgiorno-Nettis two full laps to catch and successfully pass the dicing Calven Bonney (Begg 018) and Aaron Burson (McRae GM1). 

Class returnee Bonney got the better of Burson at the start but the pair were never more than a couple of car lengths apart and Burson found a way past on the 10th lap. 

Calven was a bit braver at the start," said Burson,"but I eventually got alongside him one lap then past the next." 

After finally passing the pair himself, Ferrari ace Belgiorno-Nettis then caught and passed Tony Richards (Lola T332) but not before giving Aaron Burson a lesson in just how quick a turbocharged 1.5 litre Ferrari Formula 1 car can go - given a clear track.

 "It's definitely got some wellie," he said of the exotic ex Michelle Alboreto car.

Tony Richards, meanwhile was just happy to finish the race - and weekend - with his car in one-piece after spinning in front of the field in the first turn at the start of the aborted second race.

"It's not much fun going into Turn 1 here backwards watching all the other cars coming towards you. I'm not quite sure what happened; I braked a bit later than Andy Higgins who was next to me bit it didn't feel like I was going too quick, but it stepped out and I was very lucky everyone was able to avoid me." 

Finally having a - virtually - trouble-free run was McRae GM1 driver Alastair Russell who has struggled to complete a race at Hampton Downs for the past two years thanks to various mechanical issues. 

With a new oil system and overheating issues now under control, the Auckland driver ended up in eighth place between Aaron Burson and Calven Bonney. 

"I'm totally elated, over the moon. We've still got some handling issues but the plan now is to get some seat time and look at running even further up the field." 

Saturday's race was won by Michael Lyons from guest driver Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Andrew Higgins, Tony Richards and Frank Lyons. 

MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series competitors now head south for the final round at the annual Skope Classic meeting at Christchurch's recently renamed Mike Pero Motorsport Park (nee Ruapuna) next weekend.

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 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Results
Qualifying

1. Michael Lyons (Lola T332) 59.585
2. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 1.00.022
3. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.00.810
4. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari 156/85T F1)1.01.234
5. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 1.01.442
6. Tony Richards (Lola T332) 1.01.690
7. Frank Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74) 1.01.952
8. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.02.505
9. Calven Bonney (Begg 018) 1.03.091
10. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1.03.376
11. David Banks (Talon MR1) 1.03.498
12. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1.05.035
13. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 1.08.657
14. Greg Thornton (March 75A) 1.11.899
15. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 1.12.409
16. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 1.25.962)
17. Alastair Russell (McRae GM1) no time
18. Brett Willis (Lola T330) no time
 
Race 1 (Sat) 8 laps
1. Michael Lyons 1.00.024
2. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis +1086
3.  Andrew Higgins +7.896
4. Tony Richards +12.052
5. Frank Lyons +12.535
6. Aaron Burson +18.580
7. Calven Bonney +19.142
8. David Banks +20.971
9. Sefton Gibb +24.156
10. Glenn Richards +27.843
11. Alastair Russell +31.053
12. Peter Burson +31.054
13. Warwick Mortimer +38.669
14. Brett Willis + 1 lap
dnf Clark Proctor, Judy Lyons, Steve Ross, Greg Thornton
 
Race 2 (8 laps Sun)
No result
 
Race 3 (15 laps Sun)
1. Michael Lyons 15.20.602
2. Steve Ross +11.218
3. Andrew Higgins +22.455
4. Frank Lyons +41.737
5. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis +44.031
6. Tony Richards +46851
7. Aaron Burson +56.652
8. Alastair Russell +58.289
9. Calven Bonney +1.00.289
10. Peter Burson + 1 lap
11. Glenn Richards +1 lap
dns David Banks, Sefton Gibb, Warwick Mortimer Judy Lyons