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.
North Island and South Island Formula Ford Series Announced
All series’ working together for bigger grids next season
Formula Ford racing could receive a major boost to grids with the announcement of North and South island local series, both of which will share some dates with the national Formula Ford championship.
Both the North Island and South Island series will be open to any Formula Ford racing cars, but a variety of classes incorporating modern and less contemporary machinery will operate to encourage more drivers to bring out the legendary single seater racing cars. Classes will cater for all later eras of the popular racing category.
Each of the North Island and South Island series will run over six rounds, with each sharing three rounds with the premier six round National Formula Ford Championship – a title which boasts some of the country’s finest racing names as winners.
North Island-based Formula Ford drivers and teams can double up by competing for both the National title and the North Island title. The national championship rounds at Hampton Downs (February 1 and 2), Manfeild (February 8 and 9) and Taupo (March 8 and 9) will also form three rounds of the new North Island series, with the three New Zealand Racing Drivers League meetings at Manfeild (March 1 and 2), Taupo (April 5 and 6) and Hampton Downs (May 3 and 4) completing the North Island series dates.
There will be a similar opportunity on the South Island for teams and drivers there, with the championship rounds at Ruapuna on November 2 and 3, Teretonga on January 11 and 12 and Levels on January 18 and 19 qualifying for both National Championship points and South Island Formula Ford series points, with further meetings at Levels on November 17th, Teretonga on December 7 and 8 and Ruapuna on March 23 providing the remaining three rounds for the South Island Formula Ford series.
“It is very positive to see a high level of co-operation within the Formula Ford classes with the aim to secure a future for the NZ Formula Ford Championship,” explained MotorSport New Zealand’s General Manager, Brian Budd. “Formula Ford is still accepted internationally as the ideal formula in which young race car drivers can develop race craft that positions them to go on and succeed in wings and slicks formulas. For that reason MotorSport New Zealand continues to support Formula Ford.”
NZRDL co-organiser and HRC boss Chris Watson was also delighted with the news of a coordinated Formula Ford approach in NZ. “We’re very pleased to be involved in this very exciting resurgence in Formula Ford racing. The category has always been an important step in the career of young drivers and by including Historic Formula Ford it gives younger drivers less of a financial hurdle to enter the class.”
South Island series organiser Steve Edwards too, says the coordinated approach is great news for Formula Ford in New Zealand.
“New Zealand is a small country so one set of regulations for all FF championships is sensible simply so cars can enter a range of events. Currently all four series have their own rules which divides the racing potential of the 150 odd cars in the country. One core set of regulations have been achieved and that is great news. We want maximum sized grids this season. By improving the ‘class’ structure of the national series this has been achieved. We all very much hope the outcome will be substantial grid sizes with purposeful, close racing throughout.”
In 1911, a little old race was had on an oval circuit out the back of Indianapolis. They raced for 500-miles, and after a grueling 6 and 3/4 hours, a yellow car, emblazoned with the number 32, crossed the line in first place, becoming the inaugural winner of the Indianapolis 500.
The Marmon #32, winner of the inaugural Indy 500 (1911), and possibly the first car to be fitted with a rear view mirror
And today, after a somewhat slightly shorter race time of around 10-minutes, Mr Michael Clarke carried another yellow car emblazoned with the number 32 across the line to take the chequered flag for his inaugural victory. Congratulations, Sir!
Michael Clark; Crossle 30F; took his first win today, ironically having lost his mirror in an earlier race
The weekend saw a total of six races for the majority of cars, as the Formula Fords took over the Super Historics division and garnered double the race time, and double the fun, with rolling starts for the “Super” Formula Ford races.
In the points scoring races, Phil Foulkes and Grant Campbell showed a clean set of heels in all three races opening up a sizable gap to the Class 1 cars, but only managing a few tenths on each other, with Phil taking victory time and again.
Over in Class 1, championship leader Tony Cross was making a habit of fluffing the starts, bogging down and being passed by two or three cars, requiring him to fight back through to get up to challenge Dave Silverton and Class 1 line honours; the two racing lap for lap on each others gearboxes.
Meanwhile, a few tenths back, the two Mikes (Clark and Cresswell) were dicing over third place in class for most of the weekend, however a recurrent fuel problem saw Mike Creswell drop back in several races, often by a few positions, leaving Don Hopkins, Richard Cullen and Vic Clark to quarrel over the minor placings.
Team Lolas-will-take-over-the-world members Bruce McCoy and Chris Fraser (the other two members racing this weekend being Tony Cross and Mike Cresswell) were closely matched all weekend, often dicing amongst themselves, plus Vic Clarke or Richard Cullen, depending on the race at hand.
Rounding out the field this weekend was Phil Major, having made the trek up from Wellington – great to see him for the first time this season able to join in on the fun.
Unfortunately a coming together between Barry Thomas and Gerald Duncan in one of the “Super” Formula Ford races left both cars broken (the Royale suffering rear suspension damage and the Cheetah a destroyed right hand radiator, radiator frame, cowling and bent front right tie rod) – a sad sight during such a great weekend of racing up and down the field.
Other damage sustained during the weekend was incurred when Don Hopkins had a spin and both Tony Cross and Richard Cullen took evasive Rally-Cross action via the grass verges; a few moments later, Richard’s nose cone lifted off and hit him on the head, and Tony’s steering rack and pinion jumped a tooth (or two) from the rather bumpy landing he had jumping the tractor tracks and divots in the grass, leaving him turning right and driving straight – just another job for Ian to fix up….
Pukekohe throws up close racing throughout the field, and this weekend was no exception.
The final round of the season is on May 6th at Hampton Downs.