WITH a weather forecast for rain leading up to the Day/Night Autocross at SEAC Park, track conditions were expected to be a little to a lot damp on Saturday, depending on what Mother Nature sent down.
Instead, with no rain arriving, the surface had dried out and proved to be a handful as the hard crust on the top broke up into a large dust bowl.
Round 5 of the McPherson Mechanical 2021 Autocross series got underway in sunny conditions, with the first car let loose about 4.30pm.
Dale Cagney, wearing the Number 1 plate from the 2020 series, tackled the slippery layout in his usual style, flat out, for most of the track and laid down a quick 1:48.10 seconds that would prove to be hard to beat for the 49 competitors.
Aaron Bowering having a guest drive of the Raedel Rally Falcon followed and clocked a sub-2-minute lap for his first outing, pretty impressive when he had not driven the car prior and had been sent out with nearly bald rear tyres.
Damien Brand took the CanAm Buggy for a lap from No. 4 and made the best of the slippery track surface to stop the clock at 1:50.65 seconds.
Geoff and Damien Wilson were fifth and sixth away and with totally different styles, times were close with Damien at a 1:54.33 and Geoff a 1:54.85 to keep the family bragging rights alive for the day.
Jayden Edwards took on the slippery track in his Commodore and in true speedway style managed to wrestle the car home in a 1:58.98 seconds.
Jason Winterfield, out at number 16, had the Subaru Legacy up and running on song to put in a good lap with his time of 1:52.60 for fourth quickest.
Barry Edwards, also in a Commodore, had a tidy trip around the tricky circuit and came home ninth quickest with a 1:59.31 second lap.
Starting at No. 20, Simon Feil had a job to do and set out to be the quickest around the park, achieving that with a spectacular drive to get home in 1:47.85 seconds, heading Cagney senior by less than three-tenths of a second.
Dion Becker took to the track in 22nd and while his lap looked every bit as spectacular as Feil’s, he had to settle for seventh spot with a good run setting a time of 1:58.50 seconds.
Aaron Bowering’s earlier time of 1:59.45 seconds filled the 10th slot.
By the time 47 drivers had done the first round, dust had become a safety issue, causing the director to modify how the competitors ran.
Reverting to one car on the track meant a two-hour session but it made for safe competition.
The track had been swept a little for the second round and while the top four were the same culprits, the finishing order had changed at the top, with Dale Cagney having a good run for the Number 1 spot with his time of 1:47.14 bettering his first run time by nearly a full second, to head Feil’s slower run of 1:49.68 seconds in second spot.
Damien Brand shaved 2/10ths off his earlier time and held on to third spot with a 1:50.40 to hold off a challenge from Jason Winterfield’s Subaru, clocking a 1:51.64, also nearly a full second better than his first run.
Geoff Wilson enjoyed his run in the Peugeot and went a little quicker on the second outing to hold fifth place with a 1:53.70, as did Dion Becker in the Ford Falcon, with 1:56.15, an improvement of over two seconds.
Jayden Edwards also improved on the better track to get seventh spot with 1:56.72 seconds, while Hyundai Excel driver Anthony Tos, having had a sighting run in the first outing with a 2:01.16 second run, used all the track to get home with a 1:56.90, good enough for the eighth, to hold out a hard-charging Bowering, now with some rear tread, stopping the clock at 1:57.60 seconds in ninth.
Joshua Becker also trimmed his first-round time by more than two seconds in his well-presented Sigma to finish in the 10th spot with a good run of 1:58.19 seconds improving his points by some five positions.
In what would be the last run of the night, still suffering from dusty track conditions, Dale Cagney improved on his previous run by a half a second with a 1:46.89 seconds lap to again list at Number 1.
Damien Brand put it all on the line and found a little more grip somewhere to improve by over two seconds for second spot, heading the WRX of Feil.
Winterfield found more grip to hold on to fourth, while Damien Wilson put in a tidy 1:52.02 claimed family bragging rights over Geoff Wilson.
Tos set the track alight in his Hyundai and rocked home in 1:54.82 seconds, good enough for seventh, Bowering, this time in the Clayson Magna, took to the track and enjoyed the front wheel drive to get a 1:55.61 second lap done and pull eighth spot.
Consistency on the last lap, Jayden Edwards improved his last run and got down to a 1:56.60 seconds, to round out the Top 10.
As has been the case through the year, 4WD’s were at the top of the list, with Dale Cagney holding on to Number 1 for the fifth Round with a total time of 5:22.13 seconds to hold out Feil with his total of 5:26.63 seconds.
Brand’s Can Am Maverick held on for third outright, while fourth went to Jason Winterfield and Geoff Wilson brought the Peugeot home in fifth.
The final event on the SEAC calendar for 2021 is a Motorkhana at the Glenburnie Saleyards on Sunday November 28.
Class points: Class W, Dale Cagney, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO6; Class D, Geoff Wilson, Peugeot 306 GTI6; Class E, Dion Becker, XR6 Falcon; Class C, Anthony Tos, Hyundai Excel; Class B, Mark Jennings, FG Falcon; Class Junior, Cohen Hamilton, BA Falcon; Class L, Teresa Lipscombe, XR6 Falcon.