The T332s of Kevin Ingram and Brett Willis 2nd and 3rd in the Bert Hawthorne Cup.

They came, they saw, and at the 33rd Skope Classic motor racing meeting at Christchurch’s freshly re-named Euromarque (nee Mike Pero) Motorsport Park (Ruapuna) over the weekend, local driver Michael Collins (Leda GM1 001) and fellow Mainlander Steve Ross (McRae GM1 009) conquered, sweeping all before them in qualifying and across all three SAS Autoparts MSC NZF5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at the meeting.

Right from the qualifying session on Saturday morning the pair were wickedly quick, with category young gun, Michael Collins’ pole time of 1:18.858, only some 1.270 seconds shy of the outright F5000 category lap record - a 1:17.588 – set by top UK Historic F1 driver Michael Lyons (Eagle FA-74) back in 2014.

Former three-time SAS Autoparts MSC NZF5000 series title-holder Steve Ross was the second quickest qualifier with a time of 1.20.792, and Feilding’s Kevin Ingram Lola T332) was the fastest of the North Island visitors in third with a time of 1:21.836.

The first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 race of the weekend (on Saturday afternoon) was a stunner, the two ‘McRae’ GM1s of Collins and Ross battling it out at the front, with Collins just easing ahead at the end of the race to lead Ross home by 2.8 seconds ….. and the rest of field by close to half a minute.

Third home was indeed third quickest qualifier Kevin Ingram (Lola T332), fourth Grant Martin (Talon MR1/A), fifth Brett Willis (Lola T332) and sixth Glenn Richards (Lola T400) with just three seconds separating the four cars at flag fall.

A little further back in the field, expat-Brit Alastair Chalmers (Chevron B32) was celebrating going a full four seconds a lap quicker in the race than he had in the qualifying session earlier in the day.

The second race for the SAS Autoparts MSC NZF5000 series field was the usual spectacular Handicap Rolling Start affair on Sunday morning and - again – this one did not disappoint.

In fact, it had many spectators up on their feet and cheering wildly in the last couple of laps as category stalwart Russell Greer (Lola T332) drove out of his skin to maintain his lead. If only the race had been 6 or 7 laps he would have been fine, but unfortunately for Russell it was 8 laps and Steve Ross’s relentless pursuit managed to just pip him at the finish line by 2.5 seconds! It was a close finish across the field and a tribute to the handicapper as only 23 seconds covered all the cars.

There was some attrition in this race which included both Collins’cars, Michael’s with a misfire, Anna’s a broken spindle.

The feature race for the prestigious Bert Hawthorne Cup was looking in doubt, with heavy rain falling just before the racers were due out on the track, however the heat of the day soon had the track deemed dry enough for the slick shod F5000s to line up and take the grid.

With Steve Ross choosing to sit the longer 12 lap feature race out, Michael Collins once again pulled away to a comfortable lead and held on to win from a hard charging Kevin Ingram. Third was Brett Willis, who cleared away from his usual protagonist, Glenn Richards by 10 seconds.

After the race, meanwhile, Tim Rush was presented with the Stan Redman Memorial cup by special meeting guest, John Bowe, for his contribution to F5000 racing and his sportsmanship. Tim exhibits the same sort of pace, grace and sheer, unadulterated passion and enthusiasm for F5000 racing that Redmond, one of the founding fathers both of the NZ F5000 Association and the now SAS Autoparts and MSC-sponsored NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Serie, did.

The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series returns to the North Island now for two final 2002/23 season rounds, the first in just a fortnight’s time (February 25/26) at the soon-to-be-shuttered Pukekohe Park Raceway.

The full back straight will be in use at the Jim Palmer Meeting hosted by HRC and will be provide a perfect place and time for all 16 F5000s entered to really stretch their legs. This will be a must see (and hear) event!

The SAS Autoparts MSC F5000s will be on track across all three days of the Jim Palmer meeting, with morning and afternoon practise sessions on Friday, qualifying in the morning and the first race of the weekend on Saturday then the other two races – including the longer meeting feature – on Sunday.

The 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.

1. Michael Collins (Leda GM1 001) 1.18.858
2. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.20.792
3. Kevin Ingram (Lola T332)1.21.836
4. Grant Martin (Talon MR1/A 1.22.756
5. Brett Willis (Lola T332) 1.22.933
6. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1.23.974
7. Anna Collins (Leda LT27 GM1) 1.26.324
8. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 1.26.968
9. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 1.30.624
10. Alastair Chalmers (Chevron B32) 1.31.462

Race One – 8 Laps – Rolling Start – Sat pm
1. Michael Collins 10.52.727
2. Steve Ross 10.55.536
3. Kevin Ingram 11.19.149
4. Grant Martin 11.21.154
5. Brett Willis 11.21.728
6. Glenn Richards 11.21.997
7. Russell Greer 11.44.388
8. Anna Collins 11.54.566
9. Alastair Chalmers 11.57.663
10. Tim Rush 12.12.283

Race Two – 8 Laps – Rolling Start – Handicap – Sun am
1. Steve Ross 11.47.187
2. Russell Greer 11.49.808
3. Kevin Ingram 11.50.070
4. Alastair Chalmers 12.09.067
5. Brett Willis 12.09.296
6. Glenn Richards 12.10.079
7. Tim Rush 12.10.555

Race 3 – 12 Laps – Rolling Start – Bert Hawthorne Cup
1. Michael Collins 16.35.563
2. Kevin Ingram 16.53.816
3. Brett Willis 17.00.227
4. Glenn Richards 17.09.956
5. Russell Greer 17.23.654
6. Alastair Chalmers 17.44.372
7. Tim Rush -1 lap
8. Grant Martin -12 laps
DNS: Anna Collins, Steve Ross.

2022/23 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series Calendar
Rnd 1: 11-13 Nov 2022– The Sound MG Classic,Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon Feilding NZ.
Rnd 2: 20-22 Jan 2023 – Historic Grand Prix – Taupo International Motorsport Park Taupo NZ.
Rnd 3: 03-05 Feb 2023 - Skope Classic - Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna Christchurch NZ.
Rnd 4: 24-26 Feb 2023 – HRC Jim Palmer meeting Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe NZ.
Rnd 5: 17-19 Mar 2023 – HRC Legends of Speed meeting Hampton Downs Nth Waikato NZ