Winter series a mighty drawcard for motor racing enthusiasts
As the third round of the winter series approaches on August 5, research by Motorsport Manawatu manager Julian Hardy has revealed the series is not only the biggest in New Zealand, but possibly Australasia or even the southern hemisphere.
"As the world moves towards electronic timing and results, you are able to check out results from other events, and count exactly how many competitors attend," he said.
"After a conversation with an Australian competitor recently, I started to check and discovered that our events have more competitors than similar events for these countries.
"To say that we are thrilled with these results for our club is great, but it also reinforces how strong this series is for our competitors, region and Manfeild Park."
For the upcoming United Travel Race round at Manfeild, the Honda Cup joins the series as part of their race series, adding a further 15 competitors to this round.
The Honda Cup is solely for Honda race cars mostly using the V-Tech engine. In a well-sorted chassis, the speed achieved from these cars is unmatched by similar-sized cars and manufacturers.
RS Cup numbers have increased with the addition of the new MX5 Cup developed by Motorsport Manawatu.
With six cars now starting each round, the interest in the class has boomed, and it is believed another two are being prepared for later this year.
Young Feilding racer Justin Allen leads the series from seasoned Craig Paterson by a single point.
In the RS Cup, the field has taken on a European feel with the Volvo 144 of Ray Hartley showing the crowds a great show of driving skill, but a broken exhaust put paid to his charge at round two.
Mike Dunn leads the series in his ex-UCOL Starlet, followed by last year's RS Cup champion Simon Wellum.
The GT Cup field has also been strong, with large fields dominated by Glenn Smith in his Porsche 997GT3.
Smith will not be attending round 3 due to other commitments, which will leave local drivers Kerry Halligan, Ritchie Arber and Graham Barnes to maximise their opportunities in August.
The Classics class has been down on numbers, but still the beautiful pre-1978 cars are fast and easy on the eye.
John Gray leads Phillip McQuoid after two rounds by just six points.
The Formula Libre field has been small, but as word gets out we expect more cars.
UCOL Motorsport has recently purchased two Formula Fords and is seeking drivers for these cars.
As it was in 2011, the IB Cup again stands out as the biggest and hardest class to win. Manfeild has a capacity of 46 cars in the track licence, and the IB Cup started 43 cars in July.
This makes for spectacular racing over the three races.
The final handicap race in July saw 20 cars pass the finish line in only 10 seconds, a result rarely achieved by any class of racing.
After two rounds, local driver Colin Hoare leads this huge class in his Honda Civic.
His two good results in July have him a good points lead, but due to the large field, the series is still wide open.
He is pursued by Manawatu's Geoff Spencer and Des Styles.
The final round of the series is Father's Day, September 2, and includes the Manawatu Truck Show and Expo in the Manfield stadium and car park.
- © Fairfax NZ News