Kelsey and Mad Creation return for home event
Having missed the last two rounds of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, Alex Kelsey has confirmed he will return for his home round of the series, Mahindra Goldrush Rally Coromandel.
Having spent literally thousands of hours on the construction of his home built Mad Creation 2, Kelsey decided to take a break from the sport after a frustrating run at the opening two rounds of the championship where his front running pace was halted by a number of small issues, but his participation on his home rally was never in doubt.
“I was always going to do Coromandel, no matter how burnt out and sick of it I was,” stated Kelsey. So what has the 23 year old been up to since Rally Otago back in May?
“Anything but rally cars. I’ve had time to think about the car and how to improve it, I haven’t done anything yet but in the next few weeks before the event we’ll implement them and hopefully we’ll have a good run.”
Amongst some of those ideas is a new gearbox oil that can withstand the high temperatures the V6 Renault powered rallycar has been producing.
“We are moving to an oil that will work at 250°c and the hottest I’ve ever seen it is 140°c. I spoke with Dave Strong and he said his gearbox temperature regularly runs around 160°c, so that should do the trick.”
The 2014 edition of the Goldrush Rally of Coromandel event saw crowd numbers normally reserved for New Zealand’s round of the World Rally Championship and Kelsey expects to see similar numbers again in 2015, with plenty of locals keen to support their local heroes.
“There is (a lot of excitement around town). Because I haven’t done a lot of rallying lately, everyone is asking when they see me in town when the next event is and I can say it’s in Coromandel, they all want to know the date and where to go and watch.”
Ever since it debuted in 2014, the MC2 has never lacked pace, even when a coil problem saw the car run for most of last season on five cylinders. However a new season and a car firing on all six cylinders saw Kelsey comfortably setting the pace at the season opening Rally Whangarei, including fending off the challenge of Ken Block.
“That was so encouraging, it was the best time I’ve had in a rally car really. We had all of these niggling problems and things that eventually stopped us, but that was the most fun I’ve ever had in a rally car. The car was full of smoke, it’s horrendously noisy, I could hardly hear the co-driver, but it was fast and it was awesome! That was so awesome at Whangarei, I loved it.”
And on his chances of taking a first rally win for the MC2 on home soil.
“Of course, that’s what we are always trying to do. At the end of the day, the hardest thing for me is to get it to finish, if I can get it to finish I’m pretty sure we’ll be in for a pretty good result.”