Taupo is always round 1 of the NZOPA championship, and always the biggest challenge of the whole season.
Not only are we, as competitors unsure about who will turn up, but we also don’t know what other teams have done to their equipment in that never ending chase for more speed.
We were forced to make changes on BCRacing #16 after getting beaten last season in the flat water races, so we had the dilemma of making changes to increase flat water performance, without compromising our rough water performance – An extremely difficult task and fine balancing act.
Race week saw BCRacing HQ burning the midnight oil as we checked, double checked and checked everything again, before heading out on the harbour to make sure everything we had done was working how we planned – luckily for us, the two days testing we had on Auckland Harbour went exactly how we wanted and we set off to Taupo feeling a little confident.
Testing in Auckland is one thing, but Taupo is a very different track – Altitude and Fresh Water make a huge difference to race boats and the general rule of thumb is if you only lose 5mph top speed you’re doing very well.
We spent all day Friday testing on Taupo, starting the morning basically right on the speed we had there last season, so feeling a little confident again.
As the day went on, every change we made resulted in reduced speed – opposite of what we were after and needless to say, very frustrating !!!
We felt like we chased our tail all day, but finally went back to square one and with only minor adjustments we achieved a top speed which we believed would be competitive.
Saturday was Pole Shootout where the track is open for one hour – fastest lap gets pole for race start on Sunday.
This is where we measure ourselves against our opposition i.e. Hi Jinx Racing, so we were pleased to grab pole from them, but also mindful, were they foxing ??
Sunday and Race Day.
Race 1: Chris and Karl got a fantastic start and having pole was a great advantage as this gave us the inside line into the first corner.
With both BCRacing and Hi Jinx racing side by side and flat out round the first corner it was all on into the tight 180 degree corner at the end of the straight along the lakefront.
Unfortunately Chris made a slight error in that corner and allowed Hi Jinx to exit the corner with a slight speed advantage out of the corner which then lead to a drag race along the back straight. With a slight edge Hi Jinx were able to sneak in front of BCRacing and get the inside line into the top corner – End of lap one and Hi Jinx in front of BCRacing by about ½ a second.
Chris (who was extremely angry now) and Karl fought hard for the next 30minutes trying everything they could to get past Hi Jinx, but Scotty and Jason drove a flawless race resulting in them taking the win by a little over 3 seconds. Fantastic race to watch as it all came down to driver skill so we knew we had the pace.
Race 2: Chris and Karl once again had a fantastic start but Hi Jinx managed to get their nose in front again !! But this time our boys were high on adrenalin and here for one reason – To WIN!!!
The infamous 180 degree bottom corner was about to play a key role in the race, as Hi Jinx came into the corner thinking they had shut the door on us, they soon discovered that when Chris has his back up, it doesn’t matter how much you shut the door, this young fella is going to open it. Not only did he open the door, but Karl’s aggressive throttle control ensured BCRacing carried the speed through the corner and giving us a clear one second lead out of the corner.
Hi Jinx Racing threw everything at our boys, but Chris was now in his groove and drifting BCRacing #16 around every corner increasing our lead every lap.
Over the finish line with a lead in excess of 21 seconds and needless to say Team BCRacing were very pleased with our boys – Chris and Karl drove their backsides off and proved they are one of the best combo’s in the sport.
After the two race times were added together, BCRacing #16 had completed both races 18.7 seconds ahead of Hi Jinx Racing and therefore awarded the win for the day.
All in All a great start for us in the 2018 Championship and our goal of winning the Lachlan Wall Memorial Trophy, as we prepare for round 2 in New Plymouth on the 17th feb, you can guarantee BCRacing are still chasing that elusive extra speed.