The Limestone Coast OffRoad Club held the Masters event at Moorex, on 26/27 July, and attracted a field of 50 entrants. Not bad considering the Waikerie Event was only a couple of weeks earlier, and some vehicles from that event needed major repairing before being lined up at this one.
GRKCC was represented by 4 competing crews, #93 Aaron James/Tanner James, (this weekend competing under Vic banner) #58 Ivan Schmocker/Mark Schmocker/Wayne Evans, #45 Blake Smith/Ian Mathison/John Smith, and #2212 Jamie Simpson/Geoffrey Benko. All were pleased about the format for the event, which included 2 night laps, something a few of them hadn’t experienced before.
With good racing weather, prologue got under way, – #93 Aaron James/Tanner James placing 9th, #58 Ivan Schmocker/Mark Schmocker/Wayne Evans placing 19th, #2212 Jamie Simpson/Geoffrey Benko 40th, and #45 Blake Smith/Ian Mathison/John Smith not completing this section due to a misfire.
Section One was two laps in daylight. #93 Aaron James/Tanner James put in two respectable lap times of 23:36 and 23:16 to move them up to 6th. #58 Ivan Schmocker/Mark Schmocker/Wayne Evans clocked 25:00 and 25:40 to move them to 14th. #2212 Jamie Simpson/Geoffrey Benko had lap times of 31:36 and 35:46, putting them 35th, while #45 Blake Smith/Ian Mathison/John Smith, who started rear of field for this section, had a horror first lap of 51:13, then put in a blinder of 25.48, placing him at 37th.
Section Two, two laps in the dark, and from feedback I heard after the event, watching the lights travelling round the track in the dark was awesome, and all comments were positive. Times dropped back a bit for these laps, which shows that common sense may have played a part in competitors being cautious, as the race was far from over at this point. At the completion of these laps, with times of 24:29 and 25:08, #93 Aaron James/Tanner James had moved up 1 spot to 5th, #58 Ivan Schmocker/Mark Schmocker/Wayne Evans, with times of 26:43 and 25:57 had moved up 6 places to 8th, #45 Blake Smith/Ian Mathison/John Smith, with consistent times of 28:48 and 28:35, 3 minutes slower than his day time laps, had never the less moved up an impressive 17 places, to sit 20th. #2212 Jamie Simpson/Geoffrey Benko had slowed down considerably, with lap times of 38:16 and 39:04, to place them 36th.
I am sure there was lots of banter around campfires throughout the evening, and if not, lots of running repairs would have been taking place.
Another day dawned, and with it, the line up for the final section of the event – 5 laps of the track. Having competed there before, some of the views at the top of the ranges, looking back over the plains towards Cockatoo Lake and Naracoorte, are just spectacular.
Of the 50 vehicles that started the event proper, 16 were not to start this section. Issues were – overheating, gearbox, clutch, driveshaft, transmission, ball joint, front end, cv, electrical, computer, and a flat tyre.
Section 3 got under way for the remaining vehicles, and one by one the laps were completed. One by one, some of these competitors began to fall by the wayside. On lap one, issues were – driveshaft, oil pressure, fan belt, roll over, and unfortunately for #2212 Jamie Simpson/Geoffrey Benko – engine failure. Lap two issues – flat tyre. Lap 3 issues – clutch, spring, alternator. Lap 4 – pully, lack of fuel, and sadly for #45 Blake Smith/Ian Mathison/John Smith, who had been clocking times of 26:38, 26:35 and 27:00, a problem with the crown wheel and pinion in the gearbox. On lap 5, steering, front suspension, and 2 more gearbox issues arose, 1 of those being that of #58 Ivan Schmocker/Mark Schmocker/Wayne Evans, ending his competition before he reached the chequer flag. He had good lap times of 24:55, 25:02, 25:42 and 25:41.
#93 Aaron James/Tanner James finished the section with times per lap of 23:22, 23:43, 23:46, 23:44 and 23:37, giving them a total time of 3:34:45, to finish in 3rd outright. He was 6 minutes behind #91 Jack Rhodes/David Pullino, who took out 1st place, and 2 minutes behind Aaron Haby/Phillip Haby, in 2nd place.
Congratulations to all who competed, and finished, and commiserations to those who succumbed to mechanical failure.