New Zealand motor racing veteran Ken Smith (Lola T332) enjoyed a perfect start to his record-extending 61st season of top level motor racing, qualifying quickest then winning the first three SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races of the 2018/19 season at the annual ITM SuperSprint Supercars meeting at Pukekoke Park Raceway on the weekend of 3-4 November.
Smith set a pole time of 1:01.6140 – just over 1.5 seconds quicker than category young gun Michael Collins (Leda LT27) in Friday’s warm and dry track conditions, then won the first race in conditions that couldn’t have been more different – grey overcast skies, cool temperatures and a treacherous part damp, part dry track.
In the first race a determined LeRoy Stevenson (McRae GM1) caught and passed the 77-year-old and held the lead until the last lap. However as he and Smith closed on back marker Russell Greer’s Lola T332, the experienced Smith spotted a gap and eased through on the inside on a still patchy track. He went on to do a 1:01.109 in the second 12-lap race in the afternoon.
As if that weren’t enough to prove his superiority, taking up where he left off on Saturday, he made it three wins from three starts in the final F5000 race of the weekend, and in style with a lights to flag run, crossing the finish line just over a second-and-a-half in front of Collins, with former series champ Brett Willis (Lola T330) third and newcomer LeRoy Stevenson in fourth.