A beautiful spring day awaited competitors at Pukekohe Raceway for round two of the Avon Tyres Historic Formula Ford Championship. Sun hats and sun screen was the order of the day….no?!?! What am I saying?!?!?! It was yet another typical spring day in Auckland – frequent getting into and taking off of rain coats was the order of the early part of the day, and kite flying was probably the better option for the second half as the wind picked up to a fair rate.
A smaller than average field turned out, with two non-starters in Brent Main (Keram #34) and Chris Havill (Valour #70). However the remaining nine entrants put on some pretty close racing over the three races, with the third and final race of the day featuring the closest racing, both at the front between Phil Foulkes (Van Diemen #71) and Dave Silverton (PRS #43), and in the chasing pack where Ian Staples (Lola T440 #440), Vic Clarke (Palliser #911), Richard Cullen (Van Diemen #79), and Ron Wilkin (Elden #72) followed each others tail pipes for all eight laps of the race with their finishing order not determined until the flag was dropped.
Up front, Tony Cross (Lola T340 #340) was getting settled back into the cock pit, but was unable to establish himself at the head of the Class I cars, a role he had for most of 2011/2012 season. This season, even on worn tyres, Dave Silverton appears to have as much speed, if not a little more and is laying claim to being the man to chase. Put the two of them, plus Ben Field in the same race, and one can imagine that it will be a close run thing.
Finding himself somewhat in no-mans land most of the weekend was Michael Clark (Crossle #32). Clearly he has broken away from the chasing pack, but he is still a half second or so off the outright pace of Dave or Tony. If only his tool kit comprised of more than just a bottle opener and Moro bar, he might be able to screw another few tenths out of the car??
Bruce McCoy still continues to come to terms with his Lola; not quite as fast as he was with the Cheetah, but improving steadily none the less. Unfortunately he had to DNS the third and final race due to concerns over a couple of spring washers having gone down the carb as his snorkel had worked loose during the second race. Once removed (the snorkel), it was a lucky thing to see the mounting bolt sitting on top of the butterfly, and not missing which would have meant a bolt being bashed around on top of a piston.
Richard Cullen was quick out of the box and spent the day knocking around 5th place (race two he came 7th, but was only 0.313 of a second off fifth, so close enough). Vic Clark continues to show a turn of speed, and put in some consistent lap times through out the weekend.
Over in Class II, Phil Foulkes did some shadow-racing as he was the only Class II car present this weekend. Whilst showing good pace with a 1.07.694, he was still 7/10ths off his lap record set last year (a 1.06.997). Phil moves into the joint lead of Class II with Lindsay Porter, both on 140-points.
The majority of drivers improved their lap times through out the day, thus picking up the bonus points in the Minor Series, which is now led by Ian Staples on 77-points. Vic Clarke slots into second in this series on 67-points, and third is currently held by Michael Clark and Ron Wilkin, both on 52-points.
Over on the Avon Tyres Historic Formula Ford Championship leaderboard there is now only a 2-point buffer between Class I leader Dave Silverton (238pts) and Michael Clark (236pts). The top five is rounded out by Vic Clarke (173), Ben Field (140) and Ian Staples (130).
As mentioned earlier, Class II leadership honours are currently shared by Phil and Lindsay on 140 points a piece. Third place is currently held by Grant Campbell on 125 points.