Our Fastest Member

by Sharon Faulkner (Per Sempre Alfa - November 1998)
David Auger is a name familiar to most AROCA members. Anyone watching the Bathurst 1000 in 1998 would have seen his red-and-white Alfa 155 lapping with the best of them. David speaks about his Bathurst experience.

While this yearís Bathurst 1000 may have been "just another circuit" to our very own racing identity David Auger, it proved to be an exciting spectator event indeed.

With a fire in the pits, cars hitting the sand-traps with amazing regularity and double whammy crashes into walls it was an eye opening race for a Bathurst novice like myself. I must say that I was delighted to see a female racing driving competing in The Great Race. But the real highlight was watching the red Alfa Romeo 155 tackling Mt Panorama with style and speed and finishing up there with the best of them.

David and his codriver, Laurie Kyte, eventually secured 13th place. David said this yearís result was more satisfying than the 1997 run and he was more than happy to have got into the top 10 at around lap 80. Although the team finished 11th last year at Bathurst, David said that this yearís competition was definitely much tougher and he certainly was up against some newer technology.

The 155 made good time on the first 35 laps and David was feeling great, as at this stage the race was going as planned. He said he was within 4 seconds of the times aimed for by the team. Laurie Kyte then took over for the next 35 laps, but some trouble with the slower traffic saw their lap times slip. Despite the temptation to push the car harder, team discipline saw Laurie stick to the race plan. The decision to err on the side of caution (mmmm....If there is such a thing in motor racing!) paid off as by the 10th lap into his run the team was again making the times they had planned.

By the time David took over the wheel again. the car was misfiring a bit but still making good progress. He said there was some frustration at this point as it took some time to try and track down the cause behind the misfiring. Unfortunately, the race commentator's focus on the leading cars meant that the drama unfolding in the 155 was virtually unknown to television viewers.

As things appeared to be going well for Auger from my point of view in front of the TV screen, I made the mistake of popping out to the garden to do a spot of weeding. Well, when I returned to the TV set Auger was nowhere in sight. Much to my frustration, the commentators didnít shed any light on what happened to the 155, nor did the snippets of highlights at the end I was able to catch. I was left in the dark.

As it turned out the 155 suffered a fatal battery failure that took it out of the race. A disappointing turn of events, admittedly, but David and Laurie can certainly be proud of the fine showing they made in the race overall.

David told me that the 155 is already on the move ready for the next race. It's currently being shipped to China ready for the Macau Grand Prix. He said he was looking forward to the Super Tourer event scheduled for this month as he said it was the highlight of the Asian series. If the thought of getting behind the wheel of the 155 appeals to you, check out the advertisement on page 11 of this month's Per Sempre Alfa where you will notice that David has the car up for sale. He has dropped the price substantially and will look at offers from $50 000. This is chance to own a piece of Australian Alfa Romeo racing history.

David, however, has no plans to retire from motorsport just yet. He's already looking for a new big boy's racing toy and, while he hasnít made any firm commitments at this stage, possibilities include an Audi or a Vectra.

Although a move such as this will be a great loss to his AROCA supporters, I'm sure all Club members join me in wishing David well in the future and acknowledging the enormous contribution he has made in keeping the Alfa Romeo name alive in Australian motorsport.