This article is courtesy of the Western Advocate;
BATHURST driver Terry Nightingale produced one of the biggest efforts of his career so far by being crowned the overall champion in the inaugural race of the Kumho Modern Sports Cars series at Wakefield Park on the weekend.
In a range of challenging weather conditions, Nightingale and his co-driver Brian Anderson were able to win their class in both of the one hour races with their TargaRacing Mazda MX-5.
The MSC series covers a number of classes and the outright results are determined by a class and point scoring system, which rewards consistency and success within class, which means it gives everyone the chance to fight for the outright title.
Their Mazda didn’t have the outright power of some of the front running cars or slick tyres for the dry conditions, but Nightingale and Anderson were flawless in qualifying and races and often punched above their weight.
“I’m absolutely on cloud nine. I couldn’t be happier with how it all went. This is something I have always worked towards and now I can say I have won a championship race,” Nightingale said.
“I’m very thankful to Chris Gough for giving me the opportunity and for a great co-driver in Brian Anderson. I always believed
I could do it, I’ve just never had a good enough car in the past.”
The Nightingale-Anderson pairing were in Class E, which was the biggest class in the 24-car field.
Nightingale missed Friday’s practice session, which meant his first drive in the car was his 10 minute qualifying stint on Saturday.
In sunny conditions, he went out and set the seventh fastest time.
And after his time was combined with Anderson’s, they started 13th on the grid for race one.
Rain set in on Saturday afternoon and the track was extremely wet when the race got underway.
Nightingale started and, in his 25 lap stint, he got the car up to ninth before handing over to his teammate. Anderson also did a good job to bring the car home in ninth.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race was also conducted in the wet and Nightingale used it to full advantage, setting the third fastest time overall. He was just nine-tenths of a second off pole and felt he could have done better.
“I looked back at the in-board footage and I made a mistake during that lap. I ran wide on a corner and I reckon it would have cost me about a second. I was also running quicker on my next lap, but I got baulked by traffic so I had to back off. I think if I had done everything right I could have had pole, but I was very happy with third,” he said.
“The second race was dry, so I couldn’t hold that position. I got overtaken by a few of the quicker cars.”
The pair were able to finish seventh by the end of the race and, having won their class so convincingly in both races, they had enough points to take the outright title. Showing the strength of the team, TargaRacing also finished second and third outright as well.
Nightingale said he is a big fan of the fledgling category and hopes that he will be able to take part in the next round as well.
“The concept is that anyone can win. Consistency is rewarded, which is what it is all about in racing. That was the first race and I’m sure the grid will be full at future rounds.”
TargaRacing owner Chris Gough is also one of the category organisers and he was extremely happy with how the weekend went.
“It was an awesome weekend. We were very happy with the results the team got, but also very happy with the category in general,” Gough said.
“Terry and Brian did an outstanding job to win their class. Terry had limited experience in the MX-5 but he drove extremely well all weekend.”