It’s been a stellar return to Central Muscle Cars this season for VK Commodore driver, Andrew Sinclair. After having been out of the driver’s seat for a few seasons, he showed right from round one that he hasn’t got any less competitive.
Fellow Group2 competitor, Steve Noyer, is no slouch behind the wheel, either, and the two drivers have been having a good close battle all season. Despite Noyer taking the round one win and Sinclair taking out the next three rounds, just a handful of points separated them going into round five.
Sadly, Sinclair’s chance of a championship win was decimated in round five when two mechanical issues resulted in two DNFs. The first issue was a pinhole in a power steering hose, which unfortunately sprayed power-steering fluid onto the headers, resulting in a black flag due to the amount of smoke produced. The second DNF was caused by a broken axle.
Considering how close the points were leading into the event, Sinclair’s only hope of winning the championship is if Noyer suffers a similar fate at one of the final two rounds.
The much-anticipated Camaro of Brendan Neiman, featured in NZV8 Issue No. 139, made its competition debut at round five in mid February. After a few minor tweaks, the car was signed off for the class at the weekend, and Neiman made sure to get as much track time as he could in it. He wasn’t the only one to drive it, with well-known Australian driver, Jason Bargwanna, also having a turn behind the wheel for one test session. After just a few laps, Jason was lapping Manfeild’s 3.03km circuit in 1min11s — very close to the time being achieved by the front runners in the class.
With it being the car’s debut event, Neiman was taking it slightly easier, running around the 1m 13s mark, which was enough to see him qualify 10th.
Besides the sheer amount of lap time Neiman got, what he’s most happy with is that he managed to keep up with the current Group1 champion, Dean Perkins, through the mid part of the circuit — a feat that bodes well for what he can expect when he gets a bit more lap time under his belt.
CMC hits the road
Only two cars in the class are street legal, but, thanks to support from the local police, the drivers got to do a bit of street cruising prior to round five. The cruise was from Manfeild circuit down to the Feilding branch of Bunnings, where the cars were put on display to attract attention for the weekend’s racing. Around half the vehicles competing that weekend made the journey, much to the delight of those who saw the motorcade. The drivers assure us that absolutely no skids took place — none at all!
End of an era
Former CMC club president, Dr John Elliott, and his six-cylinder LJ Torana have been a familiar sight on the grid for many years now, but that’s set to change. The car has recently been sold to fellow CMC driver, Paul Clarke from Dunedin. Paul currently owns a Bathurst Monaro, so the Bathurst Torana will be a great stablemate. The plan is that the car will be raced by Paul and his wife in occasional classic events. The Doc will be back, though; he’s still making progress on his new project, an SLR5000-style Torana sedan, which he hopes to have ready for the 2017–2018 season.