Drivers struggle for grip at SEAC Park

BUILT TO SUIT: Damian Brand puts his buggy through its paces at SEAC Park. Pictures: TURN8 PHOTOGRAPHY

ROUND 3 of the McPherson Mechanical SEAC Super Series for 2021 took place on Sunday at SEAC Park.

With the race complex receiving considerable rain through the last week and more importantly, overnight Saturday, a muddy race track greeted the 40 competitors.

Starting at the head of the pack Dale Cagney had the dubious honour of being first out to tackle the sloppy conditions and drove well to set the pace with a 2:03.31 lap time, some 15-20 seconds slower than a normal lap time, reflecting just how little grip was on offer.

Mark Jennings, pushed as hard as he could, sliding the big Falcon around the course, showing plenty of style on street tyres to get home in 2:33.28.

Next out, Damien Brand had the perfect weapon for these conditions and used the Can-Am 4WD Maverick Buggy to full advantage to record an excellent 1:52.57 second lap.

Following Brand, Geoff Wilson faced the conditions in the front-wheel-drive Peugeot and drove cautiously to get back in with a 2:12.55.

Damien Wilson stopped the clock at 2:13.47 in the Nissan Silvia, while Jayden Edwards let fly in his Commodore and made it home in 2:29.27.

Nicholas Cagney’s turn resulted with a reasonable time for the treacherous conditions, using the 4WD grip in his Subaru WRX to the full, posting a 1:57.89 second lap.

At the other end of the field, Simon Feil – 1:59.56 – Jason Winterfield – 2:16.60 – and Ken Moore – 2:18.99 – proved the track had remained wet and slippery.

Brand led the way by five seconds from Nick Cagney, Feil just behind with Dale Cagney in fourth and Jason Winterfield.

Heat 2 showed some signs of grip, with Feil taking 12 seconds off his first-round time and fastest for this heat at 1:47.05.

Brand’s 1:49.93 put him second, to head Nick Cagney (1:50.25), Dale Cagney (1:55.60), Jason Winterfield (1:56.62), Liam Lewis (1:58.56), Stuart Gregory (1:58.81), Dylan Gregory (2:01.03), Barry Edwards (2:02.86) and Geoff Wilson rounding out the 10 with a 2:04.41.

Heat 3 produced more speed in patches, but some slippery sections caught drivers out with some off-track excursions.

Nick Cagney put in a good lap for a well earned 1:46.11, followed by Brand 1:46.41, Feil at 1:52.73, Dale Cagney 1:54.08, Damien Wilson 1:54.60, Dylan Gregory 1:55.65, Stuart Gregory 1:58.84, Dion Becker 2:00.66, Jason Winterfield 2:00.90 and Bailey Perryman rounding out the 10 with a well driven 2:01.77.

Heat 4 saw a double lap and some light rain to further compound the grip issues.

Simon Feil set fastest time for the round with a very 3:21.55, to head an equally quick Nick Cagney (3:31.24).

Brand (3:35.20) showed the Can-Am Buggy is well up to the task, tied to the hundredth of a second with a flamboyant Liam Lewis pushing his Commodore to the limit to achieve an excellent time and join Brand for equal third spot for the heat, with Jason Winterfield rounding out the top five with 3:36.08.

As the track dried further, Heat 5 produced more action.

Nick Cagney, out to prove a point, rocketed around the track and pinched the number one spot from Feil for the last lap with the pair in a class of their own all day.

Cagney’s time of 1:38.11 just bettered Feil at 1:38.66.

Jason Winterfield got his Subaru Legacy around the layout in 1:44.75 for third quickest, with Brand’s Can-Am next at 1:45.05.

Geoff Wilson, having a mediocre day in the wet conditions got into the groove on the dry track and restored some faith in his car, stopping the clock at 1:46.90 for fifth quickest in the final heat.

When all data had been entered and checked, a happy Feil claimed top spot, with his tally of 10:39.55 seconds good enough to hold out Nicholas Cagney with a total of 10:43.60 seconds.

Damien Brand had one of his best days at SEAC Park to finish in third spot with a total of 10:49.16 seconds.

Class positions: Simon Feil, Class W (4WD/Specials); Liam Lewis, Class E (2WD 3litre); Damien Wilson, Class D (2WD 2litre); Curtis Boyd, Class C (2WD 1.6litre); Gary Brown, Class B (2WD street, large car); Corey Brand, Class J (Junior); Teresa Lipscombe, Class L (Ladies).

Preparations will now go towards track repairs for the October long weekend Autocross.