Racing in the dark – Twilight Khanacross

In late August we ran the last of our khanacrosses for the year, this time a twilight event. Originally with a field of 20 drivers, two did not start. One driver had mechanical troubles and another had to bow out due to illness.

Wet Racing & Mud

The winter rains had limited the choices of some tracks we could use. Our popular salt flat area had many large puddles making traction almost impossible in places. Further toward the back of the farm we could however use Eagle’s Nest. We hadn’t used the track since the first event of the year in March. This time though the track was fine Twilight_khanacross_Andrew_Papart from one sticky mud patch at the base of a dip near the start. Depending on the line and the gusto with which the dip was approached, depended how fast the exit speed. Those who took it more cautiously and feathered the throttle were actually faster than those using brute force.

Two runs through Eagles Nest resulted in a great deal of the sticky mud adhered to front bumpers. Andrew Percival spent a fair bit of time after his second run getting the mud out of the front end of his Honda Civic. He wasn’t alone and there were quite a few piles resembling termite mounds when we’d finished.

Daylight & interesting lines

The next test was a favourite. Named interesting lines, the test is quite flowing. With a couple of wet patches, we used some cones to keep the cars out of the worst of it. Everyone blasted through the test with little trouble except for the odd cone and one overshoot through the garage.  True to its name, we did find some drivers had taken some interesting lines.

The last daylight test had a twist. Out of the start garage competitors faced two hairpins, each 90m apart.  Many twoTwilight_Khanacross_Keltie wheel drive cars clouted the handbrake to make the turns, whilst the four wheel drive cars had to rely on a good flick to get the tail round.

Chasing your own headlights

After a dinner break, it was time to contest the tests again in the dark. Interesting lines was first off in the now cold night air. The dark made for different racing and thankfully there was no dust in the still conditions allowing good visibility. It was also interesting to see how many cars were running additional LED lights to augment standard headlights.

The last test of the night was a repeat of of our “Stay on line” track without the additional hairpins. All 18 drivers got through the test as the temperature continued to drop. When the last car finished everyone was happy to head back to the warmth of the fire at HQ and wait for the results.

The Top Ten

Nick Collins in the “Minions” Excel drove well and garnered 10th spot. Kelly Thomas (Ford Laser) in her first night event bagged eighth, second junior and first lady in one go. Mark Keltie finished seventh in his shared Mazda Eunos. On the first test the V6 was only running on four cylinders which gave him a time deficit from the outset. Cam Puzey was first junior and seventh outright. He learned that Subaru Legacy lower control arms can bend if the wheels take a hard knock. Rohan Keltie brought the Eunos to sixth, however a split radiator hose and a protesting starter motor Twilgiht_Khanacross_Puzeyalso required solving along with the earlier misfire. Neal Johnson finished fifth in his Lantra, rounding out a consistently quick season. Bob Percival took his four door Excel to fourth place behind Dave Thomas in third. Both drivers received penalties with Bob bumping a cone on test one and Dave finishing out of the garage on the same test.  Andrew Percival drove his Honda Civic to second place, aided by Dave’s ten second penalty. Winning the twilight khanacross by 3.5 seconds was Craig Puzey. Craig had also found a couple of cones on tests three and four gaining ten seconds in penalties. He and son Cam also had to straighten the Legacy’s bent lower control arm during the dinner break.

Click Here for final results

With the club motorsport finished for the year, our attention has turned back to the state rally championship. In September, October and November we have an event to contest every four weeks. It will lead to a busy end to our motorsport season.

Karl Drummond

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