Another Sim Win for Wood

Wellington-based kart and aspiring car star Ryan Wood was back to his best at the first LiquidAction & Cook Strait Bookings-sponsored, SIMSpeedTV-hosted KartSport New Zealand iKartSport Racing ‘Virtual Club Day’ on Tuesday night.

Wood, the 15-year-old who has been karting with success on both sides of the Tasman for the past four years and who last year made his motor racing debut here in the Best Bars Toyota 86 championship series, claimed his first major iKartSport Sim round victory a fortnight ago with pole position in qualifying and a win in the A Feature final driving a Radical SR8 sports car at a  virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway oval (oval-based road course).

Race 1 winner Ryan Wood (#25) and eventual runner-up Cameron Dance (#26) were this close for the last two laps of the first A Group race (pic – Scott Fountain/SIMSpeedTV)

He also put his Mazda MX5 on pole at last week’s event at a virtual Okayama International Circuit (Japan) circuit, but was beaten to the finish line in the first race by fellow Kiwi kart-turned-car ace Billy Frazer then did not get to start the reverse grid final thanks to some sort of technical hitch.

There was no such repeat last night though as Wood beat fellow young Kiwi kart, car and now Sim ace Jaden Ransley from Christchurch to pole position in qualifying, held out a fast-finishing Cameron Dance in the 10-lap preliminary race, then stormed from the back of the grid to win the 20-lap reverse grid A Final from Ricciardo Karts teammate Stephen Beaumont and fellow Best Bars Toyota 86 series competitor Andrew Jackson from Auckland.

Last night’s round was held at a virtual Summit Point Raceway (West Virginia USA) and again attracted a full field of kart-turned-Sim racers keen to keep race fit for the day they will eventually be allowed back on the country’s kart tracks after issues with the COVID 19 Level 2 rulings are sorted out.

Race 1 grid at Summit Point with Ryan Wood on pole (#25) and Jared Ransley (#53) on P2 (pic – Scott Fountain/SIMSpeedTV)

In the first race Wood got a good jump off the start to establish a strong early buffer over former kart but now specialist Sim racer Cameron Dance and new event host SIMSpeedTV’s local rep Scott Fountain. Big mover behind the front-running trio was 14-year-old Auckland college student Zach Blincoe who ended up in a stand-out 5th place at the flag, just behind Stephen Beaumont who was fourth and three seconds ahead of Andrew Jackson.

With the A Final over 20 laps and with a full reverse grid speculation between races was all about how many places Wood could make up in the 20 laps.

As it turned out the banter was academic, because – incredible as it might seem – by the third lap he was up to P2 and sitting right behind his teammate Stephen Beaumont who had raced away to an early lead.

To his credit Beaumont absorbed incredible pressure from Wood until lap 9 at which point the latter drafted past on the long start/finish straight and made a clean pass for the lead under brakes into the first corner.

Behind these two Andrew Jackson was enjoying another strong outing in third place – ahead this time – of Scott Fountain, Cameron Dance, Josh Richmond, Arthur Broughan and a battling Daniel Harvey from Mosgiel, Simon Burling-Claridge from Wellington and Palmerston North schoolboy Blake Dowdall.

The spec Mazda MX5 category promised close racing throughout the field – and delivered, as this shot of four cars crossing the start-finish line abreast is wont to prove (pic – Scott Fountain/SIMSpeedTV)

That’s the order they finished in as well, bar Burling-Claridge finally getting the better of an epic race-long battle with Harvey in the dying stages for eighth place.

Wood said that he was enjoying his success on the Sim platform, attributing his speed, and ability to get through traffic, to ‘putting in the effort.’

“Myself, and guys like Jaden Ransley and Josh Richmond are always on the Sim these days so putting in a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there obviously helps.”

With the entry oversubscribed a B Group also raced. The 10 lap Race 1 was won by Stuart Bovey and the 20 lap Final won by Richard Moore.

Tuesday night’s event was the first to be hosted by a professional SIM hosting company, the SIMSpeed eSport Network. It was also the first to be sponsored by Blenheim-based irrigation company LiquidAction which has come on board to sponsor the next eight weeks of sim racing.

RESULTS

GROUP A QUALIFYING

1. Ryan Wood

2. Jaden Ransley

3. Billy Frazer

4. Cameron Dance

5. Stephen Beaumont

6. Corey Ross

GROUP A RACE 1 (10 laps)

1. Ryan Wood

2. Cameron Dance

3. Scott Fountain

4. Stephen Beaumont

5. Zach Blincoe

6. Andrew Jackson

GROUP A FINAL (reverse grid 20 laps)

1. Ryan Wood

2. Stephen Beaumont

3. Andrew Jackson

4. Scott Fountain

5. Cameron Dance

6. Josh Richmond

GROUP B RACE 1 (10 laps)

  1. Stuart Bovey
  2. Nathan Crang
  3. Ryan Bailey
  4. Caleb Hartley
  5. Shayne McLaren
  6. Richard Moore

GROUP B FINAL (reverse grid 20 laps)

  1. Richard Moore
  2. Ryan Bailey
  3. Caleb Hartley
  4. Shayne McLaren
  5. Isaak Fletcher
  6. Jeremy Baker
Please share!