2011 Series Newsletter Number 5 - June 8 2011

Rumour mill-  Interest in the series has continued beyond Round 1 and at Hampton Downs, it is likely the series will see up to five or six more cars running. Rumours doing the rounds include the return of series supporter Hilary Ashworth who has sold her Prelude and is close to buying a race proven and quick EK9. A DC5 with another lady racer behind the wheel has been seen out testing at Manfeild and could also run at Hampton Downs, meaning the series could have no fewer than three women out there racing. Repair work on Grant Shirley's spectacular K20A powered DC2 is also progressing and series regulars are all hoping he will make it out for a round or two alongside his Targa commitments.

Facebook - Tristan Neate has set up a Facebook page for the Motul Honda Cup series. 'Like' the page to receive updates and see some of the other images from the series. If you are not sure what Facebook is or how it works - that's fine - leave it to the young things!!  It's all clever stuff and all part of the series' long term strategy. Go to Facebook and search for NZ Hondacup Series, then click 'Like'.

Teams news- Team Pom currently leads, despite the two team cars clashing in the final race at Taupo. Remember, this is a simple way to buddy up with another rookie or a more experienced driver and learn the ropes and have fun together. Details of how to take part in the team challenge are available at www.hondacup.co.nz Series sponsors Speedfactor are creating a very unusual and attractive trophy for this part of the championship, and it would be well worth winning, even if you do have to share it with your mate. And let's face it, anything to beat the Poms!!!

Vinyl Wraps - Not a tasty lunchtime snack, but the most effective way in the sport today to brand your car or create an amazing graphic on it without spending an absolute fortune on a custom spray job.  The wraps are long lasting and pretty resilient to racing and most definitely add to the lifespan of the bodywork. For further details contact Tristan Neate at tristanDOTneateAT gmail DOTcom or you can call him on 027 2002823.

Race reports - With the drivers being the guys doing the newsletter, web site, facebook etc,we are on the look out for someone to contribute brief and simple race reports that can go into this newsletter and also be used as an archive inclusion for the series at it establishes its own history! Any budding journalists (Actually, you really only need to jot down a few notes and email them through..) should contact richardATpetrolheadsDOTco DOTnz

Videos - We are still after any in-car footage from Taupo saved onto a CD or a USB stick - these will be returned once we have created a small movie for each race. It would be great to get a couple of videos of the action on the Internet with links from the web site before Round 2. Please email or call Richard.

NZ Hondas - Thanks again to NZ Hondas for their great and very active support - there was a healthy contingent from the country's most active automoibile forum in attendance at Taupo and top man Ben Foote's lovely DC2 ended up covered in stickers and being used as the pacecar for the rolling start!

Good Luck Greg - Honda Targa and race ace Greg Spark is heading off to Germany to race once again on the daunting Nordschliefe (yes, that never ending one on Grand Tourismo). You can follow Greg's blog here Good Luck to Greg from us all here!

All general info at www.hondacup.co.nz and up and coming dates are as follows:

Round 2 - June19th - Hampton Downs
Round 3 - July 17th - Pukekohe
Round 4 - August 7th - Manfeild
Unofficial testing/practice - September 17th - Taupo sprint
Round 5 - Taupo long track

Series contacts

Race Director
Alan Stewart

Series Co-ordinator
Scotty Smith

Series Secretary
Bronwyn Donald

Marketing and Promotions
Richard Gee

Technical Officer
Wayne Chapman

Series delivers on promise of new drivers

Congratulations to everyone who made it to Round 1 and raced. Twenty two cars took to the track - a really great effort and one which left organisers very optimistic for the rest of the series with several more cars due to appear at Round 2 and even more due out later.

No fewer than 12 of those drivers racing at Taupo were new to competition and racing, great news for the Motul Honda Cup and great news for motor racing in general in New Zealand. What other series can match that particular statistic from its first round?

"Bringing new drivers to the race track has always been one of our key objectives," explained series organiser Alan Stewart. Round winner Richard Gee took two wins in his 1.6 powered EK Civic, despite battling a damaged clutch throughout the day. Rik Wakelin took the Race 3 (handicap) win after a solid day in his ever-improving Civic EG. Gee and team mate Martin Dunn caused the day's controversy when they clashed in the third race, leaving Dunn with no option but to retire and Gee finishing seventh. The rest of the day was largely incident free, though Colin Abah had a scary moment when one of his front tyres let go in a big way.

A very consistent day for Mark Walters - another Civic runner opting to stick with a 1.6 B series motor - left him an excellent second in the series after a second, third and fourth placed finish and Taranaki's Shaun Van Beers sits third in the best of the DC5s and the experienced Gary Wilson fourth. Wilson remains very much a dark horse in the series with a new engine in the pipeline expected to propel him to the sharp end.

Top rookie Ben Sunckell impressed all of the experienced racers with three top ten finishes and leads the newcomers in fifth overall in the series.

Hampton Downs here we come!

Round Two of the 2011 Motul Honda Cup series takes the best Honda race cars in the country to New Zealand's newest circuit. With its undulations and challenging corners, Hampton Downs has proved hugely popular since the moment the first car took to the track.

Located just south of the Meremere drag strip, the track has facilities that include a skid pan and a pit complex and if you are quick you can get accommodation in one of the apartments that overlook the track at a reasonable rate.

Turn 1 is superb - a very fast downhill right hander that challenges the car set up, the bravery of the driver and his or her skill to the very limit. Get it right and you slingshot to the equally tricky Turn 2 complex.

For spectators the downhill left hand sweeper is without question the best place to view. It was here that Earl Bamber and Justin Herbert had contact at the SS2000 round and it is always action packed being an obvious overtaking point but one with a blind braking point.

"For a country with so many hills and mountains, it does seem a bit odd that all of our circuits are so flat," said Alan Stewart."Hampton Downs is very different and uses the contours of the land in a very challenging and very rewarding way. Get it right and it's driving at its best."

It's likely that most will have sampled the track racing or on a track day, but driving there for the first time should not be too daunting. "It's not hugely long though," added Stewart. "That means it is possible to learn it and make real significant improvements in a day if it is any driver's first time there."

Dunn with sitting on the sidelines

Few people will realise that Martin Dunn raced in a lot of pain at Taupo, having undergone surgery on an old shoulder injury just a few days before the event.

Martin acquired the injury in his previous life as a top European motorcycle racer and has carried it since he made the transition to cars. The former 2 litre and multiple Honda Challenge winner in SS2000 made a cautious start on his return qualifying outside of the top ten but by the end of the second race was posting top three times, indicating that despite the pain he had lost none of his raw pace.

His third and fourth in the first two races were impressive enough, but he looked on for an even better result in the handicap until contact with Richard Gee brought his race to a premature end.

Despite the last minute disappointment, Martin is planning to be back at Hampton Downs as he continues on the comeback trail in his awesome Cascade Pools-backed Integra DC5.

"It was good to be back, even though the pain on the Monday was pretty intense," he said. "I am definitely looking forward to Hampton Downs, it's a challenging circuit and a great one to drive so hopefully the injury will be well on the mend by then."

Production ace Taylor set for Hampton Downs run

One new and very exciting additional car expected to be racing at Round 2 is the beautiful FD2 of multiple Tier 1 production racing champion Steve Taylor.

Steve - who owns Apex Auto Centre in Hamilton - is a noted Honda specialist and has extensive motorsports experience. Organisers are keeping their fingers crossed that this fantastic combination joins the series for (at least...!) the Hampton Downs round. Expect Steve to be very quick indeed at Hampton Downs,despite the car running to the tighter rules of the New Zealand Production Series. For the highest standards of preparation and car knowledge, look no further than Steve.

Championship Update

1              34            Richard Gee Civic H1                              115

2              36            Mark Walters Civic H1                            106

3              53            Shaun Van Beers Integra H2                 105

4              24            Gary Wilson Civic H1                              83

5              31            Ben Sunckell Civic H1                             81

6              32            Rik Wakelin Civic H1                              79

7              77            Martin Dunn Integra                              72

8              88            Tim Blackwell-Chin Civic                       67

9              46            Jason Weel Civic H1                               61

10            42            Peter Dudson Integra H2                       53

11            65            Trevor Strong Civic H2                             52

12            54            Noel Anderson Civic H2                          50

13            95            Colin Abah Civic H2 DNF                         49

=14          2              Logan Morrell Civic HU                           39

=14          23            David Harker Civic H1                             39

16            3              Garry Morrell Integra H2                        38

17            6              Yun Liu Integra H2                                  32

18            33            Jarrod McLachlan Civic                           28

19            44            Haden Walsh Civic HU                           21

=20          74            Andrew Johnson Civic H2                       15

=20          99            Tristan Neate Civic H1                            15