After a winter spent overhauling his race car to lose 100 pounds, Paul Bunbury hit the racetrack this past weekend ready to test his ride and help raise money for charity.
"I'd done a lot of modifications over the winter and was on a serious weight-loss program and was trying some new brakes," Bunbury said of the charity event at Mission Raceway Park June 11 and 12. And it appears to have paid off.
The weekend event featured races for all classes including modified sedans and sports cars, open wheel or formula race cars, and sports racing cars.
Bunbury was racing his Honda Civic in the GT Lite class.
"From what I understood I have lowered my lap time again significantly from previously, which is really all I can measure," he said. "So hopefully, with a few things that I need to do to the car between now and July long weekend (when he races in the U.S.), everything should fall into place.
"The weekend went well for me."
Unfortunately, his main competitor was unable to race due to car troubles. But a little Austin Mini, with what appeared to be no class designation, was on the track. It turns out the Mini was in the same GT Lite class.
"Our race on Saturday was quite a barnstormer."
Bunbury recalls the Austin Mini getting on his tail as they worked through traffic during that first race Saturday.
They jostled for position and Bunbury kept his eye on the car throughout the race. On the last lap Bunbury took a wider line in Turn 2 only to see the Austin sneak inside on him.
"I drove as hard as I could down to Turn 3," he said.
With kilometres and kilometres under his belt at the Mission Raceway, Bunbury knew Turn 3 was a tricky corner with an abrupt change in grade.
"He went very wide. I slowed down at the last second to duck inside of him and just out accelerated him from that point on and secured the victory!" joked Bunbury.
The races were timed events with competitors getting 20 minutes to complete as many laps as they could around the track.
"You're usually hoping it's over about halfway through when sweat is dripping in your eye!" said Bunbury.
He was averaging about 1:18 mins per lap.
"I was pretty happy," he said of his first race of the year, testing out his lighter car. His attention is now turning to the season ahead with the first stop in Portland in July.
The weekend event, organized by the Sports Car Club of British Columbia, raised $3,500 for the Mission Hospice Society, which provides compassionate care and support to the dying and bereaved.