The BMW Open A group competed at the weekend at the Denny Hulme Memorial meeting in Taupo with the TRS. The invitation had been for the Open A, B, and 2 litre classes to combine to race together and put on a show. Unfortunately only Open A racers managed to make it with a total of 9 cars. However, as the commentator said, it was a quality field with some very good racing.
There was no breakout time applied so we could all race as hard as possible. Taupo is a difficult and technical track, which gets covered in pumice dust which is like sprinkling talcum powder on the track so getting the car to grip up is always a challenge.
Warwick Mortimer had organised US professional race driver Dane Cameron to drive one of their cars for the weekend – Dane had placed 6th in the Chev Prototype car at Daytona 24hrs the previous weekend. Driving Andre Mortimer’s E92 #97, and showed us all how it should be done, taking my lap record of 1.32.9 off me by a couple of 10ths in the process.
Friday was test and set up day and we got a couple of runs in before the rain set in and given our lack of spare wet tyres and the lap times we were achieving we decided to call it a day. On Saturday we qualified fastest in wet conditions and parked it. Dane then threw in a fast lap as the track dried at the end of the session and took pole.
We were struggling a little with the gearbox not changing cleanly. At the start of the first race the gearbox decided not to cooperate at all and I was stuck in first gear off the line and all the way to the first corner as the field filed past me. I finally managed to get second and got on with the job but the box resisted gear changes so it was something of a struggle. Passed the cars that had got past me to finish second behind Dane.
Overnight and next morning we worked on the gearbox but could not get it to function so on Sunday morning withdrew from the meeting and put the car on the trailer. Once we got back to the workshop and stripped the gearbox we found a broken spring in the tumbler mechanism that controls the gear change.
Lucky it wasn’t a championship round!