Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy has sealed third place overall in Class 2 of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park in North Waikato this weekend.
A win in the final race of the championship confirmed his third place in the standings as he battled for the position with Pukekohe driver Nick Farrier.
While Sunday produced some good results giving him second place on the podium for the weekend it was another uphill battle for Conroy and the Allied 24/7 Fuel Falcon this weekend.
Conroy has battled gremlins all season and in just his second lap of practice in wet conditions on Saturday morning a driveshaft exploded with the front joint penetrating the floor next to the luckless driver. After hasty repairs, utilising some of the damaged parts in a car that was badly out of balance and vibrating badly, Conroy started from the back of the grid after missing qualifying. The car was still set up for a wet track despite the fact it was now dry. While track conditions had changed his luck had not and he was turned around by another competitor on lap 2. The incident dislodged the front brake ducts, resulting in overheating brakes for the remainder of the race as he came home in sixth.
Sunday morning brought slightly better fortune as with slick tyres on a damp track Conroy brought the Allied 24/7 Fuel Falcon through to second place. The race was not without incident however as the driveshaft was still not balanced and contact from another car buckled a wheel, the tyre only just being held in place by the valve. Conroy then made an uncharacteristic mistake late in the race going into the “kitty litter” two laps from home and damaging the front splitter on the car. He continued on to finish second.
“We were struggling for car speed but I was still hauling up on the leader. It was a mistake I normally wouldn’t make but I put it down to the fact that with our problems we were a bit rushed all weekend.”
The final race saw Conroy quickly into a five second lead before a safety car negated his advantage. At the restart he reinstated the gap and crossed the line for his third race victory of the championship, second on the podium for the weekend and third in the championship.
Afterwards Conroy said third in the championship would play on his mind as to “what could have been,” after a season in which he failed to finish four races and had several others affected by problems.
“That’s motorsport though,” he added. He also paid tribute to fellow competitors, Brad Lathrope, who lent him the front half of a driveshaft and Rob Wallace, who lent him a front splitter after his off track excursion. “If it wasn’t for them we would have been on the sidelines,” said Conroy.
Summing up his weekend he said, “it was on a par with the rest of the championship,” with problems affecting his weekend yet again.
Conroy’s campaign in the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship was supported by Allied 24/7 Fuel, Mobil 1, Horgan Farms, Southland Continuous Group, Sievwright Panel & Paint, PPG, Bluff Engineering & Welding, Choppa Tyres, E Hayes & Sons, Farmlands Co-operative Society Limited, Farmlands Real Estate, Vital Signs and Southern Probuilt Engines.