Team Any Given Reason in the MSCA 6 Hour Relay

Last Sunday I found myself sitting behind the wheel of my Mazda, helmet and race suit on, parked in the formup grid at Mallala Motorsport Park. To pass the time I was reading the live updates coming through Facebook on my phone from round 2 of the World Endurance Championship, the famous 6 Hours of Spa. As I viewed the photographs of the alien looking Audi’s and Peugeot’s racing wheel to wheel on the other side of the world, I was dreaming of a proper endurance racing drive.

But no time for that now. As soon as Michael Katsikitis came driving down pit lane, it was time to get serious. Now I’m not at all comparing the MSCA 6 Hour Regularity Relay to top level endurance racing, in fact it’s probably as far removed as you can get, but in that moment I might as well have been preparing to join the race at the famous Ea Rouge. As team manager Juke Jaksa came running over to strap the batton to my arm, I sped out onto the track as quickly as possible to begin my next hour-long stint behind the wheel.

For 2012 Any Given Reason entered a team into the annual 6 Hour. The event is officially called a ‘regularity relay’ and is reasonably simple in theory. Each driver in the team nominates a lap time before the event begins, and the winning team is the one that have stayed closest to their nominated times throughout the 6 Hours – there’s a complex calculation to determine this. A team can consist of 4-6 cars, and one car from each team must be on the track for the entire 6 hours.

Team Any Given Reason consisted of Michael Katsikitis in his AlfaSud…

… Mike Coles in his Alfa Sprint…

… Lee Myllynen in brother Michael’s awesome E30…

… and me in my MX5.

We had Luke Jaksa doing a brilliant job as Catering Manager/ Team Manager…

… Josh Woenig on the stopwatches…

… and Adam Savis on the pit board.

Julian came out for a bit wearing the best Adelaide Grand Prix jumper I’ve seen in a long time.

One of our ‘official supporters club’ members arrived in a new Range Rover Evoque. I’m traditionally not a fan of small four wheelers but I think the Evoque is simply beautiful. The detailling is supurb, Range Rover hardly changed it at all from the original concept car and it feels almost like a bespoke design. I was lucky enough to take it for a short drive. #extrasafety

The action on the track was still going on, and apart from a small oil leak from a cracked cooler on Michael’s car the team had no mechanical problems.

Driving was always exciting. There were 19 cars on the track, all of varying speed differences, and nobody would slow to let anyone past because they were afraid they’d ruin their lap time. That meant there was lots of dodgy passing under brakes and through corners, and in all honesty it was great fun. There were times out there when we were wheel to wheel racing – I remember once passing two cars into the Northern hairpin whilst another car passed me. That’s 4 deep! There were times when we were driving at speed just a few feet from other cars. Brilliant..

Another hour passes, another driver change.

James Wiltshire was driving for the Scuderia Alfa team in his immaculate 75.

He was getting a little annoyed at not being able to get through the traffic.

But race tip #17, James: No matter how frustrated you get, always keep both hands on the steering wheel!

There were some fairly interesting cars parked around the place, like this JPS liveried Lotus Esprit.

At about half time the clouds came across and it suddenly got a lot darker. It seemed that rain was on the way.

Rain could only mean one thing!

The boys were justifiably excited by the coming rain.

Wassa was there to catch the action, sure to double with a wet track.

But it held off for a little while. The guy’s on timing got a little bored during an extended safety car period and got creative with the numbers…

… and then the jokes went seriously downhill from there.

Michael wasn’t amused.

Keen observers will notice the rain drops on the car here. It started just before Mike was heading out for his last stint.

It really started to come down as Luke passed the batton through the window. I also did a full stint in the pouring rain and I can honestly say it was such good fun. The track was extremely slippery, and you were constantly finding the limits of grip, driving as fast as you physically could. My stock MX5 isn’t a powerful car, but in those conditions even the slightest application of power would see the rear end break out into long, beautiful slides. And it was a nice ego boost to pass cars that are normally 15 seconds faster in the dry!

As the clock struck 5pm the chequered flag was waived, and we gave all the drivers a clap as they filtered back into pit lane. It really didn’t feel like 6 hours worth – maybe the MSCA should consider a 12 Hour regularity relay!

Congratulations to the Scuderia Alfa Black team for winning the event. Out of 19 teams, Team Any Given Reason finished in 8th place, well inside the top 10. I’d like to say a huge thanks to the MSCA and it’s volunteers for running the event, to Michael, Mike and Lee for driving well, to Luke Jaksa for putting in a huge amount of effort to keep us organised and fed, to Josh Woenig, Luke Jaksa and Peter Myllynen for their help in running the team on the day and to Hammer Time for making our windscreen banners. Bring on next year, I’m thinking a top 5 finish is within reach?

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andrewcoles.eighteleven@gmail.com:


6 Comments

  1. Viano Jaksa May 14, 2012 Reply

    Hey Andrew, this is a really outstanding report and congratulations to the whole team. What a great effort!!!

    • Andrew Coles May 14, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Viano, great to hear! I guess you'll just have to come and join us next year?

  2. Michael Myllynen May 15, 2012 Reply

    Great write up Colesy. Still sad to have missed it. Oh well. Lee was saying that he was still getting wheel spin in 4th gear in the wet.. That is one way to keep a 6 hour race lively I guess.

    Any more pictures of the Esprit. I have a soft spot for them (not sure why) but owning one is on my bucket list.

    • Andrew Coles May 17, 2012 Reply

      Cheers mate, yea I really enjoyed it. I actually loved the wet so much - pushing so hard, right on the edge. Even in the MX5 just the slightest bit of throttle and it would break out sideways. Loved it. I think I got a few others of the Esprit, will have a look and get them up. They're an intriguing car, oh so 70's. I prefer the original shape too without all the 90's add ons

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