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Pukekohe Brother 350

Saturday Practice Session: We had a good setup in the car and used the first half of this session to run in new brake pads. It took me a little while to get settled in the car but once I did we were on fire setting the fastest time of the session by half a second.

Saturday Qualifying: The heavens opened up for this session and the conditions were torrential the track was under a thick layer of water, I took the session very cautiously as our first race is directly after qualifying. We were quickest for most of the session but the top spot changed numerous times before the end of the session between Wardy, Huggi, Buzz and myself but at the chequered flag we were 4
th. This didn't bother me as I new we had good pace and I felt comfortable in the car to be able to push it that little bit more.

Saturday Race 1: Starting from 4th, I got a good start and moved up to second by the first corner and by the time we exited turn 5 I had made a pass for the lead and was winning the race. This is where I stayed until the race was red flagged on the 2nd lap after multiple accidents happened back in the pack. We won the race but since it was cut short and under 20% was completed no points were awarded.

Sunday Marble Draw: I drew grid 3.

Sunday Race 2: Starting from grid three I got a fairly average start and slipped back to 4th. The track was wet but we had very good pace and I slowly picked my way to the front, by the end of the 2nd lap I had made it up to 1st, and then I controlled the race from there eventually crossing the line with a 4 second lead and setting the fastest lap of the race.

Sunday Race 3: I was starting from 10
th on the grid. Again I got an average start to the race and lost a position off the line, we were going through turn 3 and 4 three cars wide and a car on the front row had spun ahead with me, being on the outside I had no where to go except straight into the spun Ute sitting in the middle of the track. My race was over after only 3 corners. There was huge damage to the front of my Ute and it looked like the rest of my weekend was over with only 2 hours before the start of our final race.

By the time the medical team released me and I got back to the pit my Ute had about six guys working on it, and literally had no front, Dad was running around trying to find all the parts we needed, but didn't have in our stock pile. Peter Ward my team mate and closest competition gave us full access to all his parts and then let the SRT boys go over to his HSV Maloo Ute (which was in the show and shine display) to remove parts off that, Wardy is truly a top guy. Another competitor James "Huggi" Urquart who saved my bacon last season when we lost a motor came through again with the last missing piece, an engine mount that would allow me to race instead of just drive around the back of the field to collect some points, as long as the team could get it all put back together in time. The Stoneman Race Tech team did an amazing job of repairing the car in only 2 hours to get us on the track for the final race. Its amazing how so many people joined in to help and I am extremely thankful to family friend Brent Mackay from A1 Autofinish and Matt Griffin and old karting mate for helping out as well.

Sunday Race 4: This grid is determined from points for the weekend, so we were starting near the back as I had a no points for race 1 and a DNF which means no points in the 3
rd race. Not wanting to put too much pressure on the possibly fragile Ute I got another average start and once again lost out into turn one. I slowly got settled into the car again and couldn't believe how good it felt considering what it looked like an hour earlier, everything was starting to come together and within 5 laps I had already made it up to 3rd which I could hardly believe. On lap 6 the race was red flagged and called off due to another big accident which is a shame because I had just set the fastest lap of the race and was catching the leader at a considerable rate. If it had gone the full 12 laps it would have had an interesting finish.

Definitely not the weekend we wanted for the loss of points or the estimated $15k it is going to cost to fix the Ute but a very special weekend for the feel good factor of having so many people working so hard to help me.

I am still leading the championship by 42 points as we head into the three month winter break, our next meeting is on 31
st August at Taupo.