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Inaugural NSW Excel Racing Race Meet

14th April 2013 saw the inaugural race meet at Wakefield Park as part of the popular MRA race series. All competitors were excited to see what these cars and themselves were capable of.

Qualifying was a mixed bag, Nathan Gotch, an experienced F3 pilot and state champion, barrelled out of the gates to post the fastest lap time, a 1.19.8, almost a full second quicker than 2nd placed Michael Hiscoe with a 1.20.7 and third placed John Gill a further 1.3 seconds behind, posting a 1.22.0. It was the first time behind the wheel for some competitors so they were finding their feet and getting used to the handling of the nimble little cars. Former HQ Holden steerer Ian Kegg qualified down the order but as the race results would later show, this didn’t represent his true speed.

The Excels were supposed to have their own grid but for one reason or another the MX5’s ended up racing on the same grid. The closing speeds of the MX5s were to prove just another challenge to the competitors with the faster cars up to 16 seconds/lap quicker than the Excels meaning the field was being lapped within 5 laps.

NSW Excel Racing

The first race got off to a clean start with Nathan Gotch taking the lead early, followed by Michael Hiscoe and Ian Kegg who had made a great start to jump from 5th to 3rd by Turn 2. The racing was intense, with the pack bunched up together through the first few turns, a few love taps here and there through the field. By turn 3 Ian Kegg had squeezed ahead to 2nd place and Jason Caires in another of the AGI Sport entries had settled into 4th biting at the heels of Michael Hiscoe in the eCards2go.com entry. 5th to 8th place was shared by John Gill, Adam Hughes, Jason Kopke and Lenard Khoshaba who were to wage their own battles throughout the races.

NSW Excel Racing

The front four cars broke away and put distance between them and the remaining 4 cars, the final placing in the inaugural 6 lap race 1 finishing with Nathan Gotch 1st, Ian Kegg 2nd, Jason Caires 3rd and Michael Hiscoe 4th. The final four positions fished with Adam Hughes in 5th followed by John Gill, Lenard Khoshaba and Jason Kopke in 8th, having had some issues with a miss on his car.

NSW Excel Racing

Adam Hughes was having a few mechanical troubles through the day, relegating his car further down the order that it should have been. This resulted in Adam receiving the hard luck trophy for the day. Adam being a racing veteran vowed to have the car more competitive by the next meet.

The vibe after race 1 was electric with all competitors having really enjoyed their respective battles during the debut race. Race 2 was a reverse grid, determined by the race 1 results. The drivers now had some seat time and were becoming more confident with their cars’ handling characteristics, as such the red mist descended over the field for race 2.

NSW Excel Racing

The start lights went out and the field took off with Lenard Khoshaba and Jason Kopke leading through turn 2. Jason Caires got a fantastic start, jumping from 6th to 3rd by turn two with Michael Hiscoe stuck to his bumper, jumping from 5th to steal 3rd from Jason by turn 4. Nathan Gotch and Ian Kegg resumed their battle for supremacy, both jumping a few positions from rear of grid by turn 4. The field ploughed into the turn 6 sweeper at full noise with Lenard Khoshaba and Jason Kopke side by side. Lenard gave Jason racing room and found himself out wide on the marbles, which resulted with Lenard Khoshaba losing the back of the car and had nowhere else to go but straight into the side of Jason’s car at speed. Both competitors were out for the remainder of the race however with the help of their fellow competitors both would make the grid for the 3rd race.

NSW Excel Racing

Race 2 was red flagged shortly after and competitors were set to restart from previous starting positions. The race resumed without incident, Nathan Gotch moving up the grid from last to 1st place in just 3 laps! Again Ian Kegg was right on Nathan’s heels to finish 2nd, Followed by Jason Caires 3rd, Adam Hughes 4th, John Gill 5th and Michael Hiscoe in 6th place after having spun whilst in 4th place, a race he’d rather forget!

NSW Excel Racing

Race 3, the trophy race, was set to be a 10 lap affair however with the day running behind schedule it was relegated to an 8 lapper. Once again Nathan and Ian launched off the start and into first 1st and 2nd place respectively and set about putting distance on the rest of the field whilst they waged their private war. Jason Caires again took up 3rd, Adam Hughes 4th, Michael Hiscoe 5th, John Gill 6th with Lenard Khoshaba and Jason Kopke having started from rear of grid due to their DNFs in Race 2. The race was again close with some indiscriminate ‘tapping’ up the front of the field. Ian Kegg and Nathan Gotch settled into some biff and barge culminating in Ian Kegg spinning and Nathan Gotch being handed a subsequent 1 minute penalty relegating him from 1st to 7th place. The decision was controversial as it stripped Nathan of the round win and trophy race win in one fail swoop. The final results of race 3 being Ian Kegg in 1st, Jason Caires 2nd, Michael Hiscoe 3rd, Jason Kopke with his best result of the day and a bent door in 4th, ever consistent John Gill in 5th, Lenard Khoshaba in 6th, Nathan Gotch 7th and Adam Hughes with a DNF due to the mechanical gremlins that had plagued his car all day.

NSW Excel Racing

Congratulations to Ian Kegg for taking out the inaugural NSWERCS race round with Nathan Gotch 2nd and Jason Caires 3rd outright. The bar has certainly been raised for round two which will be a two day event, the AASA NSW state championships, on June 1 and 2 at Wakefield Park. A field of at least 12 is expected for the 2nd round so if you are considering giving the Excels a run it would be well worth the effort to spend the day down at Wakefield Park on the 1st or 2nd June and find out about the series first hand.

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