Multiple champion Allan Wakeling‘s new Sprint Car programme hit the track with the debut of a new Australian-built Cool chassis at Baypark last Saturday night
Wakeling had raced his 2006 J&J at the first two Western Springs meetings of the summer, but has now switched to the most successful of the Aussie Sprint Car brands – built by ex-pat Kiwi John Cooley.
The eight-time NZ champion turned out the new car in familiar Koken Tools colours for the Baypark shakedown ahead of this weekend’s international series opener at Western Springs, and said it was a promising test.
``I rang John on Sunday morning and told him it reminded me of my old 1985 Gambler because it was very, very smooth to drive and handled the bumps really well,’’ said Wakeling. ``It seems more of a momentum car and not a stand up bucking bronco.’’
He had problems with a broken left front shock and then a right rear tyre bleeder in the early races. He was moving forward and had reached fifth when the feature was ended by the 10pm curfew.
``I borrowed a bleeder from Carl Wilson for the feature. I was just getting settled in and starting to move the wing around a bit and the race was over.’’
It was enough for Wakeling to identify potential in the car.
``We’ve got a programme now. We’ll need to get some extra shocks for it and maybe another torsion bar, the usual stuff with any new car, but we know which direction we’re going in.
Wakeling says Cool cars driven by the likes of Brooke Tatnell, Kerry Madsen and Trevor Green have been very successful in Australia.
``John’s very interested in what we are doing. He needs someone in New Zealand who can hopefully get some results with his cars.
``Paul Donovan has been going well in one at Palmerston North. Bernie Gillon is the New Zealand agent so he’s got everything to gain.
``In New Zealand it‘s mainly been Maxims and J&Js in the last few years, so it would be good to get another chassis in there and set a cat amongst the pigeons.’’
Wakeling says the international series, which starts at Western Springs on Saturday night, will be the highlight of the season. The series runs at the Springs on December 8, Wellington on December 15, Palmerston North on December 22 and returns to the Springs on December 26.