VICTORIAN 6 HOUR RELAY , Phillip Island – 30th & 31st July 2016

The Victorian 6-Hour Regularity Relay, has certainly become a very popular event since its inaugural running 11 years ago.  This year the entry list of 50 teams was filled within two hours of opening, including 17 teams from interstate.

The Sporting Register fielded one team of six drivers,  they being Phil Finger driving the ultra-reliable Toyota Corolla, Ron Brooks in his Subaru WRX, Mark Revitt-Mills driving his VN Commodore saloon car, Robin Bailey in his quick road going Nissan 370 Z, and David and Allan Richards sharing the Richards family Datto 120Y.

We had a very mixed bag this year.  In Saturday’s practice your correspondent had an off at turn 12 coming onto the main straight, whilst trying to avoid contact with another competitor.  It certainly got my attention when I left the track and fought to control the car through the kitty litter at a speed approaching 180 Kph.

Unfortunately, Robin had an indiscretion in practice which resulted in 10 penalty laps, so we were behind the eight ball before we even started.  I agree with Robin that it can sometimes be very difficult to see flags through two slower cars that you happen to be overtaking on the outside at that particular corner. Never mind Robin, s#*t happens.

Sunday dawned clear and damp after overnight rain, but soon cleared as per the forecast to a beautiful sunny day of 17 degrees.

Ron started the relay this year for our team and no sooner had the event started, in fact on the first lap, we had the first of many safety cars which lasted several laps. (circulating Philip Island GP track at 60 Kph behind a safety car is about as exciting as watching grass grow) When the field returned to “racing” speed Ron was able to complete another four laps before his gearbox cried “enough”, and he rolled to a stop with no drive. Exit car # 1.

The day continued fairly uneventfully for us albeit with several safety car laps. It was impossible for our drivers to get bonus laps in heavy traffic when safety cars cleared. There was in fact nine safety cars in the first two hours, I think the safety car did as many laps as some of the race cars.

All our drivers circulated without incident except me. Towards the end of my second stint the little Datto suddenly lost power on the main straight, I slowed down and tried to limp back to the pits however our poor little engine couldn’t take it any longer and expired in a cloud of smoke and steam.  At the time of writing we don’t have a diagnosis, but I’m thinking it could be terminal. Exit car #2

After starting the event stone motherless last, we could only improve, which we did, finishing in 28th position with 68 bonus laps and only 13 penalty laps.

Whilst it would be very satisfying to do well, winning or losing is not our only concern. The fun factor is the main thing, and we certainly have fun with a capital F. Thankyou to all who assisted on the weekend and to Joel Martin, our Team Manager, for his efforts in putting it all together.

Allan Richards.

A couple of pics that I snapped on Sunday, may be of interest. The 370Z looked and sounded good.
Hayden Rees

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