Kayne Scott clinches series win with a daring last-gasp move in final laps of BNZ NZ V8s reverse grid thriller at Pukekohe
If you were a pedlar of cliches you might have called Kayne Scott’s win in today’s final BNT NZ V8s race a fairytale finish.
He had gone into the race second on points, 21 behind John McIntyre and needing to finish several places ahead of him to win the series.
It would require a massive effort and a determinedly ruthless drive – the latter not an approach that Scott favours – if he were to have a chance of taking the title.
And initially it looked as if he wouldn’t do it, for McIntyre’s BP Ultimate Ford Falcon was in front of him for the first couple of laps after they had started side-by-side from the back of the grid.
But Scott got his Fujitsu Falcon ahead of the defending champion and by mid-race had put enough cars between them to hold a slender points lead.
McIntyre cut into that and they were on equal points – or would have been if the race had finished at that point.
Then, with just a couple of laps to run, Scott made the decisive move, diving bravely down the outside line into the hairpin – usually a fraught move which doesn’t come off – and passed race leader, Andrew Porter (Hydraulink Falcon) and second-placed Angus Fogg (LG Electronics Ford).
He was in the lead, and held it till the chequer. More importantly, McIntyre crossed the line sixth, five places, and 30 points, behind.
That meant the title was Scott’s, by nine points after a season which had seen the series’ lead seesaw between him and McIntyre.
It wasn’t till he was halfway down the back straight that Scott’s jubilant crew radioed that he had won the title. He still didn’t quite believe it until the cars drew up on the grid and McIntyre came over and congratulated him.
Scott was exhausted. “I’m burnt out,” he said after the race. “It’s been a pretty stressful weekend for us. We arrived here in great shape on Friday, with the speed to do it.”
In the opening qualifying run, he had been fastest, but in the top 10 session, United Video Falcon racer Craig Baird pulled out a blinder to take pole. Scott ended up third-fastest, 0.2 seconds off Baird.
“We were on pole till the end of the session when Craig went out and taught us how to do a qualifying lap round here. It makes it hard for you to come back.”
Baird backed that qualifying speed by winning the first two races.
At lunchtime, Scott had been musing about where his 2008/2009 title campaign had gone wrong, and with only one race left, he was 21 points adrift of McIntyre.
McIntyre had taken the points lead off Scott with a clean sweep of the three races at the previous round at Manfeild.
For Scott, winning the championship seemed only a remote possibility around lunchtime today.
He had pushed hard in the sprint races and had finished both races ahead of McIntyre, but Saturday’s race by only two places and this morning he came home only 1.2 seconds – and one place – ahead of the Nelson-based driver.
He had worked hard to open a gap, and “in race two he ends up right on my back bumper.”
As the build-up to the reverse grid race gathered momentum, Scott found himself getting advice from virtually everyone on how to drive the final.
“Everyone was giving me advice. ‘It’s time you learned to rub panels a little; to bump a little; to give them a wheel,’ they told me. But that’s not in my make-up.
“A lot of the advice came from Mark of course (Scott’s car owner and longtime backer, Mark Petch whos bowed out of motorsport this weekend after decades as a driver and team owner).”
So when the race went green and the first corner mayhem sorted itself out Scott had pushed hard, making the no-quarter passing moves and taking more risks that he usually feels comfortable with. He picked off car after car until with a lap to go there were no more cars to pass.
Not that he knew that. “I didn’t know we had won. There were just cars there to keep passing.” And he’d passed enough of them to take the crown.
McIntyre was gracious in defeat. Though he’d managed to work his way up to sixth he hadn’t been able to make the jump to fourth place “which was where I needed to be to retain the title).
“It happened to Kayne two years ago when I won the championship, and this year it’s happened to us.”
Final places in the reverse grid race were: Scott, Fogg, Porter, Tim Edgell (Chesters Falcon), Andy Knight (Milwaukee Tools Ford), McIntyre, Baird, Nick Ross (Total Holden Commodore), Andrew Anderson (ITM-Pinepac Holden) and Simon Richards (Falcon).
Scott won the round, from Baird and Booth.
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