Back in Black Sporting the #5
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
The LBR Team Dockmate Formula Vee was back on track on 25 June for the annual night race, LBR were returning after a short break following the success of last season when Team Dockmate finished 1st in Division 2 and 5th overall. During the break we had some work undertaken on the car including a new floor, new seat belts and some tidy up work including new fluids, brake pads and plugs.
Sporting the new number 5 (the top 10 numbers in Formula Vee are reserved for the previous years top 10 place getters) it was good to get back onto the track in what was the first sunny race meeting for 2022. With a massive 32 cars entered and a large number of fast drivers, LBR was hoping for a top 20 finish.
After fitting a new set of tires, LBR Team Dockmate took to the track for qualifying and the car felt good. Being the last car onto the track meant we were behind the slower 1200 class cars, but we used the slower cars to our advantage by slipstreaming down the 1km main straight on our 4th lap. This gave us a qualifying time of 1.53.3 only slightly off our personal best lap time at Sydney Motorsport Park, this positioned us in P18 for the start of Race 1.
Race 1 saw the Team Dockmate car get a good start with some close racing between the #45 driven by rookie Adam Henderson and car #55 driven by veteran Wayne Hamilton. LBR Team Dockmate were able to hold Henderson off for 3 laps before he pushed past at turn 2, the scene for two previous attempts, this time he made it stick around the outside, this gave him an inside run into turn 3, however this was short lived after Henderson spun on the last lap allowing the LBR Team Dockmate #5 to cross the line closely behind Hamilton in P18.
Race 2 was held late in the afternoon with a cooling track and setting sun but grip levels were still good and we again enjoyed close racing with Henderson and Hamilton. Also joining the party were Andrew McKinnon in the #99 and current 1200 Champion Stephen Butcher in the #13 Stinger. We again had a good start but slipped from P18 to P23 over the opening three laps before fighting back four positions to finish P19 in what was a fun race.
The night race kicked off at around 8pm under lights and with the track surface now very cool we found grip levels had reduced and we were suffering from an increased level of understeer. Starting in P19 we climbed as high as P16 but after the first lap we were some 2s slower compared to the earlier races. Throughout the race found ourselves under constant attack and having to defend but this didn’t work in our favour and we slipped six places to finish P22 with some close racing.
It was awesome to have the Dockmate name back at Sydney Motorsport Park and to be back in the paddock with a great bunch of people in a class that is both competitive and social. We have some exciting plans for our next outing that will see us competing but not in the Formula Vee NSW Motor Race Championship… stay tuned for more news soon.