Welcome to the home of the Motul Honda Cup
"If Honda does not race, there is no Honda" – Soichiro Honda
Hondas are at home on the racetrack with their sophisticated suspension and high tech motors that are delivered from the factory.
Performance and reliability is the true essence of the "Powered by Honda" legend and that is what wins races! Many people search for a place to race Hondas in a unified field and Honda Cup continues to provide this opportunity.
The Honda Cup Directors recognised the growing demand and in 2007 established the Honda Cup Race Series to provide a venue for the legions of Honda fans around the country. Some cars are modified, others less so, but the format provides great racing, strong camaraderie and a wider community that is perfect for developing a car and your driving skills.
Now in its sixth season the Motul-backed Series is acknowledged as the premier Import race Series in New Zealand and continues to attract strong grids and provide competitive and enjoyable racing for both new and experienced Honda enthusiasts.
Many of the country's top Honda Race Shops and Tuners have joined the series to support the Racers and "competition-prove" their products and skills. The battle is epic for what is the best thing in import racing. If you have a track day Honda, are building a track Honda or want to go racing in the easiest and most exciting way possible, then this is the series for you.
Join Honda Cup today – and live the dream.
Compact Motul Honda Cup calendar confirmed for 2016–17 season
The forthcoming 2016–17 Motul Honda Cup calendar is set to take on a compact format, with one-day events slated for the series.
Honda Cup organisers are confident the calendar, which features two one-day events, will attract more competitors as costs are kept low. The series will also feature at two Premier Motorsport rounds at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe Park Raceway respectively.
Last season saw six rounds spread over Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Pukekohe Park Raceway, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and Manfeild.
This season the series will race at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park just once, and is set to be the season opener in late November. The series moves to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park for the first of it's one-day meetings in December to finish the year.
2017 will open with Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in late January with the series potentially racing on the full international circuit for the first time. The series will play support series over two days to the Toyota Racing Series.
The series penultimate round takes place at Manfeild in February before completing the calendar year with the second of the Premier Motorsport meetings at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
Motul Honda Cup features five classes from H1, through to H4 and N1, each H-class representing a different engine capacity.
Further announcements are expected to be made with proposed rule changes opening up the competition for the N1 class which encourages equal opportunity to compete and win at a low cost.
Verryt takes out 2015–2016 Motul Honda Cup Series in darkness
Paul Verryt won the 2015–'16 Motul Honda Cup Series, bouncing back from his title ending crash last year at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. Heading into the final round of the series, Verryt held an almost unassailable lead over former series champion Shane Parsons.
Qualifying for race one of the weekend was dominated by Mitch Osborne. The Andrew Simms sponsored driver took pole position convincingly by seven tenths of a second over Parsons, Verryt only a tenth back in third.
In fading light the first race of the weekend got underway with Osborne and Parsons going neck-and-neck into turn one.
Osborne got loose in his EG Civic, narrowly missing Parsons through turn one. Parsons made a strong run out of the first corner, diving down the inside of turn two to take the lead.
Parsons led the opening lap followed by Osborne, Verryt, Andrew Johnston and reigning champion Gary Wilson.
Osborne held back momentarily before making a charge for the lead. The pair made brief contact through the infield section before Osborne made a move on Parsons a turn one. Going down the inside, Osborne comfortably made the pass stick and began extending his lead to the pair behind.
Verryt pushed to get around Parsons but was unable to make way, just two tenths separating the two by the finish.
Osbornes race win saw the EG racer finish a second ahead of Verryt and Parsons behind. Andrew Johnston held on for an impressive fourth place finish whilst Tristan Neate came home fifth not far behind.
In brighter conditions, race two saw the top-ten reversed handing Jason Weel pole position for the standing start. However, Weel started poorly and was soon swamped by the quickr drivers behind him.
The start was a messy affair at the back of the pack, as Mark Wilson came to blows with Kevin Hopkins. Hopkins spun out on the approach to turn one, the pair later retired due to damage sustained in the crash.
Greg Spark quickly making his way to the front after starting on the second row of the grid, inheriting the lead on the opening lap.
After starting off the back of the grid for the second race, Osborne made an immaculate start powering his way through the field to sit sixth by turn four. A lap later, and Osborne was in the lead having passed Spark just two laps into the race.
Osborne looked a strong contender for the win, but was soon being hounded by Verryt. The pair jostled for the lead, but Osborne couldn’t keep Verryt at bay as the series leader made way of him midway through the race.
Steve Hughes was fortunate to not have his race cut short, the EG driver running wide on the final corner and onto the grass.
Third place contender Spark put his championship run for third place in jeopardy when he speared off the road at turn four. A lapse in concentration cost him an almost certain podium finish.
Ultimately it was Verryt though who took out the second race of the final, just under one second separating he and Osborne on the line. Parsons crossed the line two seconds later in third followed by Jamie Wiggins and Gary Wilson.
Conjecture over the final race embroiled the pit paddock as the sun began to set on Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. Questions over whether it would be safe to race in the dying light surrounded the drivers, who eventually chose to race. Some, including Osborne and Neate, had packed up their cars.
The ten lap race was cut short of its final distance by two laps as darkness engulfed the circuit. Many drivers raced without headlights.
The handicap race was eventually won by Alastair Chalmers who was followed home by Spark, Verryt, Johnston and Wilson.
With the final race of the 2015–'16 season complete, Verryt was finally able to celebrate his series victory, albeit in the darkness.
“It's a real cool feeling to take out the series,” said Verryt following the series win.
“It’s been a lot of hard work as we had a few mechanical problems. We had the head off three times, but now that’s all sorted and we have a very strong car.
“My goal was to take it out, but with some fast competitors it was going to be hard. But as I’ve always said, reliability, and finishing in the top five will get me there.
Verryt’s series win was especially meaningful, having had his title hopes shattered the same time last year when he rolled over on the final corner at the same circuit.
“Last year after my big crash it really shook me up for a while. But my goal was to just to get back in a race car.
“We had 2 weeks before the first endurance race and we found a car and we fully built it in 13 days. I was a bit nervous but have never thought about the crash again. So to win the championship in a new built race car was a great achievement.”
After testing an TLX NZ Touring Car recently, Verryt said he’s unsure whether he’ll be back to defend his Honda Cup title.
“Will I be back next year? I'm not sure yet. My dream has been to race a V8. And if the opportunity comes along I probably will change.
“But I will not just walk away from the Honda cup. It's a great series. The people, families friends we have meet are just real cool people. The help I have had to get me here has been overwhelming. Thanks to friends and family.”
Whilst Verryt took out the overall win, he also secured the H3 class win. In H4, Andrew Johnston took victory. Despite not being able to challenge for the overall win this season, Gary Wilson took out H2, Shane Hine won H1 and David Harker won N1.
Article and photos by Simon Chapman via Velocity.
Counting down New Zealand's best obscure circuit-racing championships
Just about every commentator in the country has penned at least one article about New Zealand being in a ‘golden age’ of motorsport right now. But while the exploits of messrs Paddon, Dixon, Hartley and co are covered to a decent degree, coverage of our domestic classes can be a little thin.
Driven does its level best, covering the BNT NZ Touring Cars, New Zealand Rally Championship, and D1NZ National Drifting Championship to name a few. But the pot still goes deeper. Deeper than what you see in print, deeper than what you hear about on the radio.
So here’s five of the best circuit-racing series in New Zealand that don’t get so much time in this world they call ‘the mainstream media’. If you’re someone who swears by ‘supporting the grassroots’, I’d urge you to give these a look in.
Yes, all the cars are Hondas, and yes they’re all front-wheel drive, and — of course — most are Civics. But, these cars are more than capable of thrashing out some incredibly competitive lap times.
Where some club classes have an earnest aura that almost scoffs at the idea of taking themselves even remotely seriously, those in Honda Cup annually wheel out some of the quickest, best prepared race cars in New Zealand.
And despite a wide variety of body styles and chassis-codes at play, the racing is frequently close and exciting.
Excerpt from an article originally appearing on www.driven.co.nz and photo by Simon Chapman.
Mitch Osborne wins inaugural Velocity Honda 75 Enduro
Mitch Osborne took an emphatic victory in the Velocity Honda 75 at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park last weekend, defeating front row starter Paul Verryt.
The opening qualifying race for the 75 feature saw Shane Parsons on wet tyres get away quickly to lead the field. However, Parsons' lead was short lived as he began to suffer on wet tyres in drying conditions. Osborne and Verryt caught Parsons, Osborne's win in the qualifying race securing a pole position start for the feature.
Osborne showed immediate pace early in the 75 minute race, leading the field through turn one to hold an early advantage. Second place Paul Verryt held back in second place but not far enough to let Osborne out of his sights. Third place starter Shane Parsons lost three positions on the lead up to the opening corner.
Osborne and Verryt began to slowly separate themselves from the three way battle for third between Greg Spark, Gary Wilson, and Andrew Johnston. The trio spent the most part of the race battling, but the pairing of Wilson and Justin Herbert suffered recurring mechanical troubles eventually ending their race late in the piece.
After destroying his front splitter in practice on Saturday, youngest competitor in the field Oliver Heycoop struck troubles early in the race. A bad sportsmanship flag was compounded by the loss of fourth gear in the opening minutes of the race.
With a competition caution set to be thrown after the halfway mark, questions over when teams would pit surrounded the pit lane.
Johnston was one of the earliest to pit from his sixth place position. He later resumed his battle with the Greg Spark car, driven by William Yu.
Verryt pitted around the halfway mark, but Osborne remained on track waiting until the latest moment before the competition caution.
Osborne’s inlap was one of the fastest of the race, and his team backed him up with a fast tidy pitstop. Even with the pace on track and in the lane, Osborne returned to the track with Verryt alongside him as they went through turn one.
The pair ran side-by-side through turn two and three, before Osborne took the position to regain the lead.
The competition caution was thrown late in the race, leaving the race with ten minutes of sprint racing action.
Despite bunching up the field, Verryt couldn’t challenge Osborne for the lead as the EG racer romped home to victory. “I’m ecstatic, I could probably do another ten or twenty laps, it was awesome. Really happy with how today went,” said Osborne. “Obviously I’ve got to thank my father, the Osborne motorsport team, and Andrew Simms for getting the car down here every weekend. It's just been amazing.”
After a brief hiatus from racing, Osborne rebuilt his EG Civic, repowering the pocket-rocket with a Honda K-series engine.
“We wanted to do it nicely and properly so we just took our time and we didn’t rush. We couldn’t quite do Taupo so we went to Manfeild, and it showed lots of potential but there were some teething issues. “We’re really looking forward to seeing what it can do.”
In 2004 long-time Kiwi Honda enthusiast and racer Al Stewart returned from a working holiday in California. While working there for Race Team Special Projects he was lucky enough to gain a drive in one of the team Integras in two Honda Challenge rounds. The idea was implanted in his mind and on his return Al set about setting up a similar Honda Challenge series in New Zealand. To ensure the series got off the ground smoothly Al decided to run the series in conjunction with the existing SS2000 – Under 2 litre Saloon Series.
This made perfect sense. The SS2000 class was a national eight round series that was already enjoying success and had been running for many years. A set of Honda Challenge rules were drafted by Al and presented at the annual SS2000 AGM. The class was taken on board by SS2000 and 2005 saw the first season of Honda Challenge in New Zealand proudly sponsored by beer giant Carlsberg. Both SS2000 and Honda Challenge have continued to enjoy success with large grids and exciting racing.
The numbers of Hondas racing in New Zealand has continued to grow each year with Hondas now being the dominant marque in the series. The marquee has a massive following in New Zealand and has one of the biggest auto forums in the southern hemisphere, NZ Hondas.
But as they say…there is more! Al said he is constantly being asked by new racers how and where they should get started. He will often be heard talking about his early years at clubmans meetings at Manfeild in the 70's and how these were some of the best times he ever had in motorsport. This is also the view of many of the racers of that era.
The result has been the advent of a Clubman style competition for Hondas to bring back some of the fun and affordable entry level racing that is sometimes lacking into today's hectic range of summer series. A mini series to allow new Honda competitors to get out on the track and mix it with some of the more experienced drivers in a low key fun race meet is indeed the perfect step up the ladder for a growing band of talented young drivers and engineers modifying or building cars for the growing NZ track day scene. Our winter rules are simple, the racing is all held over one day and the rounds spread apart to assist the cash flow!