BNT V8 driver Brad Lathrope relished the challenge of racing at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon at Feilding this weekend.
“I really enjoy racing down here, Manfeild is a fun track. It looks easy on paper but it’s actually quite technical. If you can get it right and flow all the corners together it’s wicked,” Brad says.
His Dayle ITM #73 Ford Falcon super tourer might look a little worse for wear but there is a month now until the sixth and final round at Hampton Downs on March 8-10 to give it a late season birthday.
“The Dayle ITM Ford got a little bit of damage over the weekend as we got caught up with a few other drivers but that’s all part and parcel of it.”
The weather gods turned it on for the racers, with temperatures siting around 28degC both days, making for a hot, dry track.
Brad qualified sixth and started in that position for race one, before gaining a couple of positions off the start. An altercation with another competitor earned him a 10sec time penalty which dropped him back to seventh for that race.
“I got a really good start and going into turn one I was in fourth. I knew someone was on the inside of me, so I left enough room for him to get around as I didn’t want to crash into him. Then out of nowhere, another competitor came flying up and smacked into the side of my car which unfortunately which pushed me wide into the car that was on the outside of me. I was the meat in a sandwich around turn one!”
The race didn’t have a happy ending despite the Dayle ITM Ford showing some good pace.
“Two laps later coming into the hairpin, I had a good run on the competitor in front of me and unfortunately I hit the brakes and they didn’t stop me as quickly as I would have liked and I barrelled into the rear of him and spun him round which in turn put me off the track. It was completely my fault. It upset his race and my race at the same time. However, we both got back on the track and got going again.”
Race two and three were less dramatic and Brad started them in seventh and moved up a position to finish both in sixth place.
His team will have some work to do on the car over the coming weeks to repair some cosmetic damage.
“All four doors have got some paint from other cars on them. I broke the front splitter and have cracks in the bonnet and windscreen. The car will need a little bit of a birthday before the final round.”
Brad’s team came down from Auckland and have “all taken on the knowledge of what we have learned from Barry Leith and Kev Murdoch who helped out at the two South Island rounds,” he says.
“Big thanks to our team for improving consistently and for knuckling down and starting to gel together really well, which is awesome.”
As always, Brad is grateful for the support of all his sponsors.
“Plus a personal thank you to AJ from Redline Electrical for being trackside and supporting us. Same for Marty and Deb Day from ITM – it’s always lovely having our main sponsors there supporting us and following us.