Keen Grand-AM fans will be excused for doing a double take this weekend at Mallala Motorsport Park, with Kerrick Sports Sedan Series entrant Bruce Henley debuting his recently purchased ex-Patrick Dempsey Mazda RX-8 in the national series this weekend.
Henley came into ownership of the past steed of popular American actor/racer Dempsey in January after deciding to purchase it ‘sight unseen’ after it was advertised online.
“Dempsey obviously had a garage clean-out when his team decided to stop running the Mazdas, and this car along with some spares was purchased by a used racing car salesman in the States who then put it up for sale online on eBay and other sites,” said Victoria’s Henley.
“A friend of mine pointed it out to me jokingly knowing that I am a ‘Mazda-holic’ and after some phone calls and emails I bought it, sight unseen.
“I could have gone over to look at it, but I know I just would have seen it and said ‘whoa what a lovely car, I’ll take it’, so I figured I might as well just buy it and save myself the travel - after doing some checks of course.
“The car was advertised as race ready and it certainly has been – it arrived in early January and made its on-track debut on Australia Day.
“This weekend marks its fourth event in five weekends – there have been a few little niggling problems but all in all I have basically just gotten into it and driven it, it’s been great.”
As a left-hand drive racer with sequential shift, Henley has had to adapt his driving style to his new ride, which is being fielded under the #67 for the 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series.
“It has taken a bit of getting used to that is for sure, especially on the weekends when I do double duty at events with my Improved Production RX-7 – it certainly gets fun swapping between the two, but you just have to get in there and remember it’s a different car, it has to be driven differently,” said Henley.
“We are contemplating trying to get an invite to run in the invitational class (class I) at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and if we do we just might issue an invitation to Patrick (Dempsey) to see if he wants to come and have a drive! You never know what could happen.
“We will just have to wait and see – for us as a team which is pretty much mates and family going away on the weekends and going racing, looking at something like that is a pretty big deal – this is our first national round and this is a big step up for us, so we will just have to see what happens.
“As far as this weekend, so far it is going good – I am praying that it buckets down on Sunday as then I think I might have a bit of a chance against these guys with twice the horsepower!” laughed Henley.
“All in all, my expectations and goals for the weekend are just to be here, finish the weekend, don’t do anything stupid and don’t upset anybody!
“In the meantime, I have to thank the boys Nick, Darren and John; the girls Fiona, Amy and Teresa and also Tasha who normally works on the car but can’t be here this weekend, as well as my sponsors Stawell Cartage for all of their help.”
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series was on track for three unofficial practice session on Friday 25 April 2014, ahead of two qualifying outings Saturday (11.20am and 2.20pm) before Sunday hosts three races including the prestigious Clem Smith Cup (for race 2) and the Des Wall Trophy (for race 3). For full event info, please go to http://www.sportssedans.com.au/index.php?page=mallala
ROUND ONE RESULTS: FRIDAY 25 APRIL 2014, MALLALA MOTORSPORT PARK
Practice one – top three
Practice two – top three
Practice three – top three
For further results, please go to www.natsoft.com.au and follow the links to the 2014 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals Round Two results
|1. April 1-3 Sandown Motor Raceway|
|2. June 10-12 Winton Motor Raceway|
|3. July 29-31 Queensland Raceway|
|4. Sep. 9-11 Phillip Island GP Circuit|
|5. Nov. 11-13 Sydney Motorsport Park|