Blake Evans came out firing at Round 2 of the Manawatu Car Club Manfeild Winter Series, taking three wins and moving into the top spot on the ladder.
A greasy qualifying saw Thomas Boniface take pole by just 0.36s over Blake Evans. The conditions proved a tough break for newcomers Jared Nicolson and Kyan Davie, who both spun at Splash during the session.
Race 1 got underway cleanly with Thomas Boniface falling to second out of turn 1 and Blake Evans grabbing the lead. Lap two saw Boniface lead Evans as a gap began to form with the two top cars, Ronan Murphy in third was still charging as hard as possible to catch the top two in his bid for race win glory.
Evans made a clean move on Boniface for the lead on lap four which was short lived as Boniface would fight back the next lap to regain it. As the action at the top of the field was ongoing, a very tight battle for fifth with Louis Redshaw, Kyan Davie, and Taylor Hurst heated up. The final lap saw some late race pace from Ronan Murphy to catch the leaders but it was t00 little t0o late as Evans took the win over Boniface in a close race.
The second race of the day saw Murphy on pole position after beating the pole time in the previous race. The start saw Murphy fall behind Evans after an opening lap move and saw the later extend his lead overlap two as Taylor Hurst looked for a way around Murphy.
Halfway into the race the crowd bot a four-way fight for the final podium spot with Davie and Redshaw joining Murphy and Hurst. Meanwhile, Evans and Boniface worked together to put an even bigger gap onfield. The penultimate lap proved pivotal as Hurst found a way around Murphy for third while the final lap saw Evans take his second win of the day ahead of Boniface and Hurst.
The final race provided heaps of action with a five-car battle for the lead emerging on the opening lap. Murphy learned the volatile nature of Formula First racing the hard way, climbing to the lead from fourth on the second lap before it was taken away moments later by a smart draft from Boniface. Lap three showed us again Evans’ pace was too much as he was able to pass Boniface with a textbook move at turn one for the lead.
Andrew Tierney ran into drama as he pulled into the pitlane unable to find any gears and subsequently retired from the race.
Lap four saw the race heat up as the top two of Boniface and Evans skipped away to a two-second lead over the next group as Murphy, Redshaw, Hurst and Craig Greenwood fought for third.
The last lap saw Murphy hold down third as Boniface looked to mount a challenge for the win. Boniface lined up Evans for a tow down the back straight, however, it wasn’t enough and forced Boniface to go very deep under brakes to try to make the move, but he simply was unable to retard the car, spinning on the very edge of the circuit.
Meanwhile, Hurst and Redshaw took advantage of the tow provided by Murphy down the back straight and allowed Redshaw to sneak into second behind Evans while Murphy just held on for fourth.
Photos and Words by Tayler Burke