David, Christian and Kam are huddled together in the brisk weather watching the F1 qualifying on Christian’s phone when Dot* and Darryl* (presumably from Benalla) wander in and ask what sort of day it is. In an unusually succinct moment, David sums it up pretty sweetly; “Well, we’re just a bunch of friends that like to come here, and our friends invited their friends and their friends invited their friends and here we all are.” Apparently happy with the response, Dot and Darryl wander off to the canteen to get some coffees and “check out everyone’s shit”.

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While the initial forecast was for rain, the heavens held fire and instead we were blessed with cool ambient temps and just the right amount of sunlight to warm the track. With the V8s having visited just a fortnight before and laying down all the rubbers, conditions were pretty prime for fast times at Winton.

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Organising a two-day even is a pretty tough gig as there’s always a lot of chopping and changing of competitors in the run-up to the event, so it was only as couple of days before that we managed to lock in all the attendees and get the groupings out. On the positive side though, we generally manage to see a shed-load of the track-family and also get to meet a bunch of new people.

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To make the weekend even more special for us, Jally is taking a sabbatical from organisation, so it was really nice to see her off with a great event, thanks again Jally, we’re sure you’ll be back at some stage!

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It’s really important that we set the tone for the event in the driver’s briefing. We’ve worked with Charlie for as long as we can remember and his team are second to none when it comes to safety of all drivers, but it’s important for his team to able to trust that all drivers know what to do in the event of an incident.

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But we’re all here to have some fun and open the taps, so while everyone needs to be safe and trust their fellow competitors, it’s also important for us to make sure that everyone’s having a good time.

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One thing we’re definitely about is the love of cars. In the old tradition of “run what you’ve brung”, it doesn’t matter what you have, so long as you’re out there sending it and while traditionally we see a lot of Japanese cars…

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…the euros have been making a good appearance of late. Doug and Sallyanne have become a pretty permanent fixture at our events, with Sallyanne being kind enough to let him drive her A45 AMG.

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Newcomer Ashley has a really neat E92 M3 with a high-pressure secret under the hood, finishing the day with a 1:43.99.

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Ben and Tim were doing battle early on, Ben with his 318Ti and Tim with his Clio 172.

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Trev, Minh and Bennet were all supporting the little UK country town of Hethel with their various Lotuses all setting pretty quick times of 1:36.0, 1:35.5 and 1:41.6 respectively.

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Our good friends CER Racing (insta cermr2spyder) have their newly minted turbo 2ZZ motor out for testing and from the numbers things seem pretty good, with Justin topping the charts on Sunday with a 1:30.44 (second fastest overall) on his break-in tune, no push-to-pass this weekend unfortunately, but things are looking really good for World Time Attack at Eastern Creek this year!

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And how about that other MR2!? Don’t feel so bad if you’re being hustled by Adam in his grandpa-spec (green with beige interior) car, it’s just a ruse to lull you into a false sense of security, after all he did win the 2015 season Porsche 944 Challenge series. 1:45.1 from a stocko hairdresser’s car isn’t too shabby.

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After a year-long retirement, Lumens / David / Napo / Napoleone is back and still ballin’ in his Civic and dropping nuggets of wisdom all over the place. “Weather app says 16-degrees but feels like a…29” he grins, before going out and not doing a 29, but a 1:30.5 good enough for the silver on day 2 and third fastest overall.

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Jim is a little nervous that fellow competitors are knocking on the door of the 1:28 lap time he set on street tyres. So he’s thrown on a set of Hankook Z214s and punched out a 1:26.61, good enough to top the charts for the weekend (that’s why we call him the president). Unfortunately, while going for 1:25s, his new overboost feature glitched on the back straight and his run was over, too soon Junior! In any case, that is blisteringly fast Jim!

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Whilst PB Pete’s Honda 2000 is still in the shop following a spark plug ejection at Wakefield, he was around the whole weekend flagging at track entry and keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

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Even without Pete, the S2000 boys were out in force and logging some seriously quick times. S2000s represented four of the top ten places across both days, the fastest being Phil, dropping a new PB of 1:32.75 for third fastest on Day 1, just 9/1000ths faster than Toby’s S2000 time!

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The Agnolettis are always out and about with their cars, this time with the patriarch and his Beetle in tow alongside Oscar’s RX7. This weekend it was a case of age before beauty as Beetle trumps Rotor (1:47.5 vs 1:52.9).

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Speaking of Beetles, Kam’s has done OK, shaving 6/100ths off his PB and going third fastest on Day 2 with a 1:32.51.

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Kenny has been honing his 350Z for years and had the family up to watch him close out a rapid 1:36.88. not bad for a car that originally did a 1:43 with a professional driver onboard.

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Jase and Ying did some battling with their Nugget Nationals spec Toyota Echoes (the big block Sportivos, mind you), both of them pushing up to the limit of what that car is capable of (and beyond in Ying’s case). It was definitely Jase’s weekend with a 1:45.5 whilst Ying was also pushing the boundaries on what a set of old, second-hand tyres could do with a 1:47.8 before needing a clean set of underwear.

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And talking of hot little hatches; of late, Civics seem to be the weapon of choice, with 22 entries over the weekend. Gum Tape Deathmatch anyone?

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But don’t lament the loss of the LAN-EVO as they were the second most popular, numbering 15 entries, followed closely by 14 Honda Two Thousands (how many pop-culture car references can we jam in one blog, c’mon!?).

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And Honda also taking out the manufacturer’s title with 45 entries across the two days, powered by not just dreams, but also hope. Definitely not SR20s though…

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We really hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as we enjoyed hosting, it’s always great to see everyone being (relatively) well behaved, respectful and friendly. There are hundreds of great stories from two short days, too much to cover here but we’ll also be posting snippets on Facebook. That’s probably it for this year’s calendar of events for EXE, we’ll be back out in force next year!

Big thanks to Gwyn Morgan of Grip Shift Slide notoriety for being our resident shutter guy!

*Not actual names. We’re not protecting their identities, we just forgot to ask.

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