Dunedin’s Ross wins first F5000 race at SKOPE weekend
Saturday 3 February: The first of three races at the 2024 SKOPE Classic weekend at Christchurch’s Euromarque Motorsport Park was won by Steve Ross in the car originally campaigned by US based Quicksilver Racing.
Contesting the third round of the 2023/2024 season the field of SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series cars were met by a variety of weather conditions at the Ruapuna venue.
Forecast cool weather and showers did arrive, and pass just as quickly. This made the race conditions as equally challenging as the morning qualifying session.
Finishing in second place was debutant Michael Hey in the family owned #96 McRae GM1 – chassis 004.
Third was the Lola T332 of Kevin Ingram (ex-John Morton) – in the middle of a three-way sandwich for the runner-up position. Trailing by a mere 0.65sec and less than a second off Hey, was the Lola T332 of Russell Greer.
Tony Galbraith’s Lola T332 (Tuck Tomas 1974 US F5000 Championship car) was the only one to miss the chequered flag, side lined after lap seven with a broken gear selector.
The morning qualifying set the theme of the day, being a mixed bag. Left to the drivers to decide on what tyre they could run, fastest time was set by Ross, followed by Greer, Hey and Ingram. The rest of the field tip-toed to the best of their ability in the conditions.
While the weather played a factor the bigger underlying issue is the shortage of wet-weather tyres for the series as the supply changes from one manufacturer to another. That will be a matter for history on the Sunday with summer weather forecast. Calm conditions and a high of 27degC will be more than 10degC above the best Saturday could offer.
Sunday’s two races start with a handicap eight-laps from 11am with the final of 12-laps from 3:20pm. That race winner will also be awarded the Bert Hawthorne Cup. Tragically killed in 1972 at Hockenheim, the cup, that he originally won at Brands Hatch in 1970, is awarded in his memory. It ties his formative years of racing at Ruapuna and his links to the English and American circuits. The cup has only ever been awarded to the F5000 category.
Continuing to support the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in its 21st season are SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Avon Tyres, Webdesign, Exide Batteries and Pacifica Shipping – who sea freight the cars for the New Zealand events.
You can follow the series on Facebook at F5000 New Zealand or via the official website www.f5000.co.nz.