Keep up to speed with New Zealand’s most exciting race series — Enzed Central Muscle Cars

Chickadee’s comeback

It’s been a few seasons since we saw the Sinclair family’s Allan Grice Chickadee replica VK Commodore circulating on the track, but it was back with a bang at round one. Currently being driven by Andrew Sinclair, husband of the vehicle’s owner, Mandy, the car is packing more punch than ever before.

The old 308-based engine combo is currently up for sale, as a new 399ci combo has been built and fitted — Bic Anderson at Sonic Race & Machine is looking after both the upgrades and the maintenance of the car. The engine was built by BG Automotive using a Torque-Power Big Paw block filled with a Scat billet crank and fitted with Torque-Power heads and a Holley XP carb.
The new engine isn’t the only change, with the move being made to larger, class-maximum 275-wide Hankook tyres, with a new brake set-up and improved suspension geometry also finding their way into the mix. 

Bic mentions, “The new engine’s more robust, but 20-ish kg heavier for it, and that has affected the balance of the car slightly. So, while there’s more power, there’s a price to pay for it and engineer through”. 

Despite minimal testing time, the debut couldn’t have gone any better, with Andrew giving the previous Group2 front runners a very good challenge, and taking home second place in that group. At round two, he continued his success, managing to score the round win. While it’s been agreed that Andrew will compete the car for this full season, we’d say there’s set to be some serious discussions in the Sinclair household as to who’s in the driver’s seat next season!

The Midgleys multiply

The opening round of the 2016–’17 Enzed Central Muscle Cars series saw another Midgley family member enter the fray. Auckland-bred and Sydney-based Lance Midgley, cousin of CMC young gun John Midgley, hit the track in an XD Falcon, which his father Graham raced some 25 years ago. 

The car, built by Ken Hopper, runs a 720hp 358ci Windsor backed by a Tex Racing 101A gearbox and nine-inch diff. Prior to its race life, Lance learnt to drive in it, giving it great sentimental value for him. 

Having previously only raced Rotax karts, and having never been around Hampton Downs, joining CMC was a huge jump into the deep end for Lance, but one that he made successfully, landing in the middle of the pack upon debut. 

At the track, Duane Bicknell, Ross Petterd, and Graham [Midgley] proved invaluable in looking after the maintenance and preparation of the car.  

While Lance openly stated that he was nervous, the helpful and friendly CMC drivers made the debut event one to be remembered for all the right reasons. With that in mind, Lance is now looking forward to competing, and seeing what the rest of the season brings. 
Besides his crew mentioned above, Lance would like to extend a huge thanks to his father, Graham, as well as to his wife, Elizabeth, for letting him play with race cars, leaving her to look after their two-year-old son. We wish him all the best for the rest of his rookie season.

Welcome back

It was a weekend of firsts and returns when the 2016–’17 Enzed Central Muscle Cars season kicked off at the Hampton Downs 101 in late October. The series saw the addition of new drivers Ian Easton (above) and Lance Midgley as well as the return of others not seen for some time.

Among those returning to the field after a break were Andrew Sinclair, Bruce Ekdahl, Gary McKelvie, and Tony Boyden. McKelvie’s Monaro’s received an Octane Automotive three-link over the time away, which he couldn’t have been more positive about, stating that it’s made the car far more controllable. 

Boyden had a rough start to the season when his steering rack broke at Hampton Downs, causing him to collide with Bruce Kett. The team from Moselle Panel and Paint stepped up to the task, though, and, with help also from the Sinclair family and Bic Anderson from Sonic Race & Machine, the car was looking as good as new for round two. While Boyden will miss the Taupo round in late January to attend the NZ Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs, his goal is to try and compete the remainder of the season.  

Photos thanks to Matt Smith and Lyall Chinnery.