Surprise win in “rocket ship”

Steve Ross (inset), of Dunedin, races his 1972 McRae GM1. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

In a series, motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue spends five minutes with Dunedin motorsport enthusiasts discussing their passion for their form of racing.

Five minutes with . . . McRae GM1 driver Steve Ross, of Dunedin

Rocketman . . . Steve Ross. PHOTO SHAWN MCAVINUE

Dunedin classic race car driver Steve Ross completed an extra lap to take the chequered flag in his “rocket ship”.

Ross won the F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series feature race at the first annual George Begg Classic Superfest meeting at Teretonga Park in Invercargill on February 15 and 16.

He won driving his dark blue 1972 McRae GM1 – a 640kg race car, powered by a 5-litre V8 engine, producing more than 600hp.

He has owned the car for about a decade.

“They are only one step down from a Formula 1 car of the day – they are rocket ships.”

In Invercargill, the car hit speeds up to 280kmh, he said.

“Like I said, they are rocket ships.”

In Invercargill, in the final of three races, he was trailing behind the weekend’s fastest qualifier and winner of the first two races, Michael Collins (23), of Christchurch.

He had finished second to Collins in qualifying and the first two races.

Collins was racing a white Leda LT27.

Ross won the day when Collins failed to finish the final 12-lap race because of a broken drive shaft.

As Ross did not see Collins pull off the circuit, he was unaware he was leading.

So was the flagman, who was looking out for a white car to take the win waved the chequered flag when Ross crossed the finish line.

“I did another lap because they hadn’t given me the black-and-white flag.”

When Ross finished the race, he asked people how much time he lost the race by.

“They said ‘no, no, you won and you did an extra lap’,” he said, laughing.

Despite the overall win, he sympathised for Collins, who had been “the top dog” over the weekend.

“Mike was ahead and pulling away in every race.”

However, he had beaten Collins at Ruapuna Motorsport Park near Christchurch about two weeks earlier.

“I blew them all away in the first race .. I was driving good; even I was surprised and so was everybody else.”