This wrap-up has been sitting in the draft pile on the website for a week or ten too long, so apologies to everyone for not getting my A into G and hitting the “publish” button.
So without any further delay…drum roll please….
This seasons victors and recipients of a F1 test with Manor F1 (OK, maybe that last bit is a little bit untrue), are Ron Wilkin and Gavin Aleksich in Class 1 and 2 respectively.
Whilst not taking away a victory this season, Ron has plugged away at the top, or near the top from start to finish this past season and was able to amass a decent haul of points to see him better long time racer Phil Foulkes by 14 points, even with Phil phoning a friend in the last race to try and overcome the points gap. A happy third was first season veteran Keith Mainland.
Class 2 was headed this season by first season veteran Gavin Aleksich taking his Mondiale into the top weekend points on several occasions. The ever fast Tony Graham was second, and Lindsay Porter took home third place laurels.
Promise of decent weather and an old fashioned ‘quick-fire’ race schedule attracted the biggest group of old fart Formula Fords to be assembled together for some time. Firstly a big welcome to newcomers to our happy little band – Geoff Bogue (ex Brownlie/Fraser Lola – blue #36), and Gavin Aleksich who has purchased the white/red #55 Mondiale that Dave Silverton originally imported and Mike Lee subsequently ran. It was great seeing these new faces, and wonderful to see Harold Phillips looking so well after some of his health challenges this year – really hope to see you back in your exquisite Lola soon Harold. Also brilliant to see Graham Main looking fit after his recent scare.
Speaking of Lolas – the bloody things are everywhere, mostly driven by Taurangaians but great to also see Keith Jones out again. Chris Fraser tried convincing everyone his car was better prepped than ever before a race but when the fuel went in, it came straight out – so scratch a Lola while other cars had turned but refused to cooperate in the form a black Reynard that wouldn’t start (bad luck John Pickford), the Crossle of Don Hopkins while after just one lap in race one, Dave’s PRS was out for the day. My specially trained mechanical ear detected a head gasket – and if I’m right, getting to Manfeild should be a piece of cake.
And so to the racing – Tony Graham has not slowed down and was easily fastest of the more modern cars. Phil Foulkes led the way in the class 1 cars with Tony Cross and Gerald Duncan squaring off for next best. Gerald has made quite a stride towards the sharp end and continues to personalise the car with new a new number and font. Behind them was arguably the best scraps through all three races. Ron Wilkin really had the Elden going well and was chased hard in race 1 by Keith Mainland in the ex-Richard Cullen #79 VD. His stated aim for the day was to “get into the 15s” – his best previous time having been a 16.1. Ron and Keith put on a great show with Ron using his greater experience to hold the VD out. They recorded identical fastest laps – but Keith failed in the quest to do ‘a 15’ by doing a 14.9.
In race 2 they were at it again and Keith slipped by going into the sweeper on the last lap. Tony Cross had stopped on the very outside of the sweeper meaning the yellow flag was being waved and correctly observed by Ron…but not by the VD driver. The Tauranga Lolas ran nose to tail in race 3, Keith Jones went quicker and quicker while Gavin and Geoff had smiles wide enough to suggest they’ll be coming out to play more often. No cars were hurt and there would seem to be a fair number of us heading down to Manfeild.
So some prizes for our TACCOC Spring meeting field of Formula 1 hopefuls:
The Clay Regazzoni Award for the most blatant jump start of 2014 (thus far) goes to Gerald Duncan
The Gilles Villeneuve Award for getting the car most sideways goes to Phil Foulkes – but only just from Tony Graham
The Vittorio Brambilla Award for colour blindness goes to Keith Mainland
Biggest improvement in one meeting….Keith again – from a 16.1 to a 14.1…
Most consistent line of every lap – Lindsay Porter and Keith Jones – a tie
Best presented car; a guarantee to make me unpopular but what do I care? Bernie Hines – green Lola #221…bloody gorgeous
Rumours from the day
Tony is still considering introducing the concept of paint to the 85 Reynard
Peter Boel is well on the way to having the Lotus 51B back on the track after the wee incident at the Car-breaker
We will have another Crossle on the grid for the Howden Ganley Festival meetings
The 2013/2014 race season is fast approaching. Much has been happening behind the scenes in Formula Ford on a national level with the aim of reinvigorating the Formula Ford scene in both the North and South Islands. As Historic classed Formula Fords, we are eligible to race in any of the below listed events; the only thing holding you back will be the bank manager *cough* wife *cough*.
We’d also like to thank Avon Tyres who have come on board again for this season to support the Historic Formula Ford race series. Cheers to Avon (and Paul).
Avon Tyres Historic Formula Ford Series:
14/15 September – Icebreaker @ Hampton Downs
5 October – Spring Classic @ Pukekohe
3 November – Summer Classic @ Hampton Downs
11/12 January – Tasman Revival @ Taupo
18/19 January – NZFMR 1 @ Hampton Downs (and/or)
25/26 January – NZFMR 2 @ Hampton Downs (and/or)
22/23 February – Tasman Revival @ Pukekohe
29/30 March – Legends of Speed @ Hampton Downs
Note that the (and/or) for NZFMR is listed as the programme has yet to be announced
Historic Formula Ford Minor Series Events:
9/10 November – MG Classic @ Manfeild
30 Nov / 1 Dec – HRSCC Picnic @ Taupo Club Circuit
South Island Historic Events (weekend of):
31 January – Skope Classic @ Ruapuna
7 February – Enzed @ Levels, Timaru
14 Feb – Southern Fest @ Teretonga
19 April – Classic Event @ Highlands Park (to be confirmed)
North Island Formula Ford Championship (to be run alongside the NZ Racing Drivers League):
1/2 February – Round 1 @ Hampton Downs
8/9 February – Round 2 @ Manfeild
1/2 March – Round 3 @ Manfeild
8/9 March – Round 4 @ Taupo
5/6 April – Round 5 @ Taupo
3/4 May – Round 6 (Final) @ Hampton Downs
South Island Formula Ford Championship:
2/3 November – Round 1 @ Ruapuna
17 November – Round 2 @ Timaru (short circuit)
7/8 December – Round 3 @ Teretonga
11/12 January – Round 4 @ Teretonga
18/19 January – Round 5 @ Timaru (long circuit)
23 March – Round 6 (Final) @ Ruapuna
National Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Motorsport NZ):
2/3 November – Round 1 @ Ruapuna
11/12 January – Round 2 @ Teretonga
18/19 January – Round 3 @ Timaru
1/2 February – Round 4 @ Hampton Downs
8/9 February – Round 5 @ Manfeild
8/9 March – Round 6 (Final) @ Taupo
That’s a lot of racing, I hear you say…which is correct – if you were to attend all North Island Events, then that is 16 weekends of racing!!!
Entry fees into the North Island Formula Ford races are yet to be ratified, but there will be a class solely for Historic Formula Fords (i.e. cars complying with our Technical Regulations and with a COD). There will also be a prize fund set up, of which all drivers are eligible, so you never know…you might make enough winnings to afford some of those fancy coffees you get nowadays. Please consider supporting this new series, even if it is just to race one or two rounds. In this inaugural season, grid numbers are likely to need our support.
Well it was a blustery weekend that saw cars take to the track in the first round of the Avon Tyres Historic Formula Ford Championship. A modest turnout of 13 cars formed the grid, having lost Paul Dold (GLH # 74) the day before thanks to some clutch issues.
Saturday was not the warmest on record, and everyone had an eye to the skies wondering when the first drops of rain would fall. For practice, Grant Campbell stoked his Swift around the track, and posted a 1:13.931 – an early indication that on a hotter day, he is set to go sub-73’secs early on for this season. On his heels was Dave Silverton running on balding rear tyres at 1:14.520, edging out Ben Field in his Mark VIII Elden who posted a 1:14.608.
The first race was run in cold and windy conditions, with Brent Main (Keram #34) a non-starter thanks to a gear shift selector problem. At lights out Grant Campbell shot off for the lead, closely followed by Dave Silverton, Ben Field and Michael Clark (Crossle #32). Ben got around Dave on the second lap and set about chasing down Grant, however a late race mistake let Grant off the hook and Ben had to settle for second. Dave by this stage had fallen off the pace and started to drift towards the fourth place of Michael Clark. However MC was most likely contemplating other peoples famous fourth place drives, trying to ascertain if Fangio had looked as comfortable in fourth as he now found himself. Whatever is was, Michael stayed in fourth all the way to the line.
Mike Hunter (Hawke #85) chases down Vic Clark (Palliser #911) in Race One
A little further back and Lindsay Porter was putting on his best Trulli-Train impersonation, keeping no less than four cars in tow behind him until the last few laps, whereby the three Lola’s in the field (T342 of Chris Fraser, T440 of Ian Staples, and Lindsay in his T644) did a casual reversal of placings, in so doing, letting Phil Major in his Spartan (#133) to sneak through.
Race Two was held on a wet track – the skies had opened up over night, and had kept drizzling all morning. The sedan’s had done the best they could to create a dry line, but the rain god’s were having none of that, and proceeded to wash whatever line appeared away. And so it was, the race started under “wet track” conditions. Michael Clark decided that rolling starts were a good idea, and was casually heading for the first corner long before anyone else – however when the lights went out, and the clutch was dropped, he managed to reverse all his gains by spinning the back wheels and going nowhere fast. MC would have us all believe that he did not jump the start, and simply “started outside his box”.
With the spray going high, the cars soon spread out and Ben Field was off the front with a clear view in front of him. The two Clarks, Michael and Vic, both served a mechanical black flag. In MC”s case, the stewards were probably all too aware that this was the man renowned for losing his exhaust pipe, and for losing his wing mirror out on track, so they figured this warranted a mid-race nut and bolt inspection.
Michael Clark (Crossle, nee Marmon Wasp) gets shown a flag he’d rather not see in Race Two…
….and serves his Mechanical Black Flag after stewards determine that all bolts and nuts are tight.
Gerald Duncan in the Cheetah (113) had a decent first lap, finding himself in second place at lap end, with a hard charging Mike Hunter in his Hawke (#85) right on his tail pipe. By the end of the third lap Mike was through, and the next car eyeing up Cheetah-stew was Dave Silverton having had a bad first lap. On lap four, Dave was into third, and there they all stayed to the flag; Ben for first, Mike second, Dave third, and Gerald fourth. Behind them, Lindsay led home a Lola-trio as he finished 5th, Ian in 6th and Chris Fraser, 7th. Brent Main finished in 8th and was the last car on the lead lap.
Ben Field (Elden) takes a the chequers after a wet race two
The final race of the day was held on a dry track, with lap times tumbling back down to the 74-second mark. Many drivers set faster laps in this race than any other of the weekend, thus garnering 6-bonus points in the Minor Series. A heated battle ensued at the front of the pack. Ben Field, ever present, led at the end of the first lap – however, that Marmon Wasp rounded out the second lap in first place!! Ben was having none of that, and slotted back into the lead for the next five laps, with Michaels’ Clark and Hunter keeping him honest.
And then, somehow, he did it again…The Right Honorable (some say) Michael Clark snatched victory out of the palm of Ben’s hand, crossing the line a mere 0.160-secs to the fore, and in so doing, won his second ever race. Mike Hunter was a mere 0.151-sec’s further back on Ben, and took a well deserved third place.
So in conclusion, it was great to see the Wellington boys at the track again -welcome back Ian and Phil; great to have you out there lapping again. It appears that this year will be a tight tussle at the front between a hard charging Michael Clark, Mike Hunter, Ben Field and Dave Silverton, with several others not too far behind. Certainly the midfield has closed up from last season, so it will be interesting to see who improves over the season.
In the minor series standings, Lindsay Porter has a one point buffer over Ian Staples, with Vic Clark in third. Most people improved their fastest lap times over the course of the weekend, which is great to see.
Next up is the one-dayer at Pukekohe on October 6th.
Chris and Ian do Lola-battle in their T342 and T440’s respectively. Brent Main is hovering in the rooster tail behind…
Flags. Things that flap in the wind, and things you use to take over the world (see below). They are also things that we use to say “Hey! Over here!!”, and as of this weekend (Icebreaker), Historic Formula Ford Racing has it’s own set of “Hey! Over here!!” flags, courtesy of Avon Tyres, our seasons’ sponsor.
So, to aid in curing where-am-i-going-to-pit-itis, just look for our new flags and pit near them (all in a nice row).