The fight for the 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series will go down to the wire at the final round at the annual Skope Classic motor racing meeting in Christchurch this weekend. Melbourne driver Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) wrapped up the inaugural Trans-Tasman Trophy series-within-a-series at the big Taupo Historic GP meeting last weekend but work commitments back home mean he will miss the overall series' decider this weekend.
After a heavy crash in the Race of Champions feature at Taupo, Trans-Tasman Trophy runner-up, Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) from Auckland, is also out, meaning the overall 2016/17 series title fight looks set to be between currently third placed (on 345 points) Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua and Glenn Richards (Lola T400) from Auckland (currently fourth with 327 points).
Melbourne driver Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) is also in with a chance with 322 points.
The SAS Autoparts MSC series final at Mike Pero Motorsport Park has attracted 18 starters including defending and now four-time title holder Ken Smith (Lola T332) and two-time champ Steve Ross (McRae GM1) from Dunedin. Smith and Ross are expected to be the pace-setters at the Stoke Classic meeting, but because neither crossed the Tasman for the first two rounds of the 2016/17 series last year they are not in the hunt for overall series honours.
Set to make his debut, meanwhile, in the ex Larry Dietrich/Steve Ross 'high-wing' Lola T142 is local man Gary Lovie. And returning after sitting out the Taupo round of the series is Australian ace Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8).
A highlight of the Skope meeting will be the appearance on track of the five historic Formula One cars which featured at the Taupo Historic GP meeting last weekend. Heading the group in his ex-Rupert Keegan Hesketh 308E will be current FIA Historic F1 Pre-78 champion Michael Lyons from the UK who won the F1 vs F5000 Race of Champions Revival feature race at Taupo.
Joining him on the grid for the NZ Express Historic F1 races will be Tommy Dreelan from Aberdeen in Scotland in an ex-Arturo Merzario March 761, Irishman James Hagan in his ex-James Hunt Hesketh 308, and Lyons' parents Frank and Judy Lyons. Frank will drive his ex-James Hunt/Jochen Mass McLaren M26, Judy an ex-Mike Hailwood Surtees TS9.
The ex-Ronnie Petersen Lotus 76 of Andrew Beaumont will also be on display at the meeting.
The popular Skope Classic meeting is also hosting a round of the 2016-18 Formula Junior class Diamond Jubilee World Tour as well as races for Mainland Muscle Cars, Archibalds Historic Touring Cars, Pat Hoare Formula Libre, Ron Silvestor Saloons, Harold Heasley Saloons, Stanton Bros Sports & GTs and the Murray Maxwell Vintage Car Club.
Documentation and testing starts at Mike Pero Motorsport Park on Friday with qualifying and the first class races on Saturday and further races including the NZ Express International F5000 feature race over 12-laps on Sunday.
The 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.
2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Points after Rnd 4 of 5
1. Bryan Sala (Aust, Matich A50/51) 382 points
2. Grant Martin (NZ, Talon MR1A) 373
3. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 345
4. Glenn Richards (NZ, Lola T400) 327
5. Paul Zazryn (Aust, Lola T332) 322
6. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 297
7. Ken Smith (NZ, Lola T332) 206
8. Bill Hemmings (Aust, Elfin MR8) 202
9. Clark Proctor (NZ, March 73A-1) 198
10. David Banks (NZ, Talon MR1) 197
11. Mark Dwyer (UK, Lola T332) 193
12. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 145
13. Frank Karl (NZ, McLaren M10B) 114
14. Chris Atkinson (UK, Surtees TS8) 109
15. Shayne Windelburn (NZ, Lola T400) 108
16. Russell Greer (NZ, Lola T332) 106
17. Tom Tweedie (Aust, Chevron B24) 104
18. Peter Brennan (Aust, Lola T330) 99
19. Ian Riley (NZ, Lola T332) 98
20. Andrew Robson (Aust, Lola T332) 92
21. Tony Roberts (NZ, McLaren M10A) 91
22. Darcy Russell (Aust, Lola T330) 81
23. Rod Carroll (Aust, Lola T140) 79
24. Tim Berryman (Aust, Lola T332) 76
25. Greg Thornton (UK, Chevron B24) 73
26 Mike Sidgewick (UK, Trojan 101) 62
27=. Peter Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 60
27=. Dave Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70) 60
29. Karl Zohs (NZ, Chevron B32) 44
30. Kerry McIntosh (NZ, Begg FM2) 32
31. Max Pearson (Aust, Elfin MR8) 29
32. Joe Ricciardo (Aust, McLaren M10B) 16
33. Alan Dunkley (NZ, Lola T332) 1
2016/17 New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Rnd 1 - Oct 22-23 2016 – Barbagallo Raceway Perth WA Aust
Rnd 2 - Nov 05-06 2016 – VHRR Historic Sandown meeting Melbourne VIC, Aust
Rnd 3 - Jan 21-22 2017 - NZFMR - Ken Smith – Hampton Downs Auckland NZ
Rnd 4 - Jan 28-29 2017 - Race of Champions Revival - Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupo NZ
Rnd 5 - Feb 04-05 2017 – Skope Classic Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna Christchurch, NZ