Brass Monkey 2017

Well it took a while to start with delays two weeks in a row due to weather but we finally got a start to the inaugural “Brass Monkey” event and was just that with real brass monkey temperatures.

Winds were predicted to be light but on arrival they were stronger than expected and did build for a while. Terry Helm had got the tent setup and BBQ ready for some warm up food and drinks during the contest. Thanks to Justin Annan for providing the BBQ and helping set up.

There was a small turnout to start with but they slowly rolled in dressed in their beach attire supporting the event rules. Peter Richardson even turned up wearing a pair of budgie smugglers. Les Bearman and John Guard turned up wearing matching top and bottom outfits. They took out the prize for sharing an outfit. Chris Gant took out a prize for his Hi-waii Vis Shirt. Well done Chris. Other spot prizes went to Jacky Sargent for cross dressing in her husband’s shorts, Dan Meehan and Terry Helm for racing with shorts only on the lower half. Dan in production must have been real Brass Monkey.

A simple course was set out for the lighter winds and after a number of questions clarifying the rules and an enlargement of the pit stop box, racing got underway slightly early to make the most of the wind, which Alex Morris was protesting as he had timed is run as usual to arrive just to have enough time to throw his kart together and start racing so joined the race a little late to the start.

So just to visit the rules, the first race was a 20 minute race that had to include a pit stop where the rear wheels were swapped (marked with chalk to track), this had to be done before the end of the race and you had to complete a lap after the change before race end.

Race One got underway and very quickly everyone discovered it was very tactical on when to pit or hold onto the good gust of wind. The first rounds of pit stops were hilarious with a range of techniques for changing the wheels. Graeme Gordon commented that some rolled their karts over to change wheels while others because of the light winds were able to do the changeover while the kart was upright. When discussed, upright seemed faster until one or two of our newer or slower moving members dashed that theory. Michael Denton and Amanda Norris had some of the fastest pit stops using the upright technique. Terry Helm had one of the worst with his kart sail still powered up while he was trying to change his wheel causing great grief. Our Honourable President was the only racer who did his tyre change outside the designated pit change area – he was later told this was not on by race officials but I don’t recollect if he was penalized? The seat belt rules had to be reinforced because race officials observed a trend whereby competitors were leaving the seat belt undone (and sometimes nearly forgotten about) until they had taken off in an attempt to stream-line their return to the kart to hold track and race position. We lost Justin Annan early as he had to pull out with the cold affecting an old injurie. In the end it was entertaining racing and hard to keep track of with all the pit stops.

After all the action of the first race and with the cold temperatures it was decided to break for the much enjoyed hot sausages with tea and coffee. Thanks to Jenny for cooking during the race. A good catch up and laughs mixed with a few tactical discussions for the next race.

After a quick Photo shoot of the motley crew, Race Two was underway. This time it was a 40 minute race so there was a real range of pit stop tactics going on. Was it better to do on the up wind or down wind, early or late were the big decisions. Some pit stops where a lot slicker this time although some made it even worse in the rush to be faster. Mitchell Denton standing on his main sheet wondered why he couldn’t push his kart onto the track. He was under pressure from his dad Michael who had pitted after him but was pushing back out at the same time after a faster stop.

It was good to see Dan Meehan back at the track and he was racing well in the light airs. He must enjoy the endurance events after all his windsurfing he does. David Tillman was also doing well in the light winds and was up the front at times. Les Bearman got some good starts but not sure where he went to during the racing.

Racing was tight with lead changes and passing going on. The wind got light at stages which made for difficult sailing around the hanger mark. The 40 minutes were up and some had relief on their faces.

After another break for more hot refreshments to warm ourselves up and another round of sausages and even fried bread for Frank Csizmarik we were back underway for race 3.

This was meant to be a 20 minute race but with the wind starting to drop it was shortened to 10 minutes. From a pit stop point of view this was very tactical now as you only had a few laps to get it done in. The pits were very busy at times with karts heading in all directions. With the lighter winds the lighter weights were doing well and tended to have an edge.

At the end of racing the total distances for all races where calculated as the event was based on distance not just first across the line. We had a dead lock in performance so we then went back to race win count back.

Prize giving took place at the track with the cool new Brass Monkey trophy’s put together by Michael Denton and Davie Norris.

Brass Monkey Results:

Performance: 1st Alex Morris on 41 laps (1st on count back) Runner up Davie Norris on 41 laps.

Production: 1st Mitchell Denton on 34 Laps, Runner up Michael Denton 33 laps.

Over all it was a great event with many laughs, smiling faces and full belly’s, not bad for the middle of winter and rather cool temperatures. Special thanks to all for making this even happen and also Peter McCrea for setting out the rules.

It’s now in the calendar to be an annual event so plan for it next year.