The 10th annual David Piper International proved to be a frustrating experience for the Times Racing/Etana Team. It all began on Friday afternoon where we qualified on pole position but were quickly told – because our car was supposedly too fast – that we would have to start at the back of the grid or not start at all. Eventually, after a heated debate down at the weighing scales, it was agreed that we could keep our position if we fitted the car with extra ballast. Agreeing to do so, we stuck it into the Mustang and returned to the track the following the morning.
Well then the fun and games really began because overnight the event organizers had decided to push us back down to sixth on the grid for the beginning of the first heat. An action-packed race filled with plenty of V8 thrills and spills, we eventually crossed the line in fourth position – only to be informed that we actually finished in sixth place because the track’s flag man had counted nine laps instead of the stipulated eight. How weird then that our team manager timed exactly eight laps on his stopwatch.
Anyway, realizing that nobody was going to listen, we sucked this up and headed off to the pre-race paddock for Heat 2. Here the frustration continued to grow as the marshalls told us that we were in fact starting in eighth position instead of sixth. When asked for an explanation they just shrugged, mumbled and walked away to attend to something else. Nevertheless, I gave it my all and eventually crossed the line in fifth position after dealing with rain, acute tendonitis and a damaged radiator that eventually gave up the ghost towards the end of the final lap.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a challenge as much as the next guy but when you’re being blatantly penalized it kind of leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Especially after working my butt off to secure two major blue-chip sponsors and putting a whole lot of time and practice into getting the Mustang sorted out weeks before the actual event. Perhaps, then, it is time to leave the endless Legends class politics behind and move into Pre-66/68 Sports and GT…
Tom, this is awful. That there are no clear explanations for the decisions is definitely indicative of some dodgy dealings.
Perhaps it’s worth laying out more facts, with details about who you were faster thanl; who won the races (or finished ahead of you); and what relationships those people have with the organisers or track management.
We’ll come to our own conclusions.