A Curly Tale: TACCOC Hampton Downs

November 9, 2014


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

A Busy 2013/2014 Schedule Ahead

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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:

  1. 14/15 September – Icebreaker @ Hampton Downs
  2. 5 October – Spring Classic @ Pukekohe
  3. 3 November – Summer Classic @ Hampton Downs
  4. 11/12 January – Tasman Revival @ Taupo
  5. 18/19 January – NZFMR 1 @ Hampton Downs (and/or)
  6. 25/26 January – NZFMR 2 @ Hampton Downs (and/or)
  7. 22/23 February – Tasman Revival @ Pukekohe
  8. 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:

  1. 9/10 November – MG Classic @ Manfeild
  2. 30 Nov / 1 Dec – HRSCC Picnic @ Taupo Club Circuit

South Island Historic Events (weekend of):

  1. 31 January – Skope Classic @ Ruapuna
  2. 7 February – Enzed @ Levels, Timaru
  3. 14 Feb – Southern Fest @ Teretonga
  4. 19 April – Classic Event @ Highlands Park  (to be confirmed)

North Island Formula Ford Championship (to be run alongside the NZ Racing Drivers League):

  1. 1/2 February – Round 1 @ Hampton Downs
  2. 8/9 February – Round 2 @ Manfeild
  3. 1/2 March – Round 3 @ Manfeild
  4. 8/9 March – Round 4 @ Taupo
  5. 5/6 April – Round 5 @ Taupo
  6. 3/4 May – Round 6 (Final) @ Hampton Downs


South Island Formula Ford Championship:

  1. 2/3 November – Round 1 @ Ruapuna
  2. 17 November – Round 2 @ Timaru (short circuit)
  3. 7/8 December – Round 3 @ Teretonga
  4. 11/12 January – Round 4 @ Teretonga
  5. 18/19 January – Round 5 @ Timaru (long circuit)
  6. 23 March – Round 6 (Final) @ Ruapuna


National Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Motorsport NZ):

  1. 2/3 November – Round 1 @ Ruapuna
  2. 11/12 January – Round 2 @ Teretonga
  3. 18/19 January – Round 3 @ Timaru
  4. 1/2 February – Round 4 @ Hampton Downs
  5. 8/9 February – Round 5 @ Manfeild
  6. 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.

Pukekohe Controlled Testing

With the end of the motorsport season now upon us, Pukekohe has now reverted to the more work friendly weekend Controlled Testing Days.

May 19 & 26 1030-1630 $90

June 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 1030-1630 $90

July 14, 21 & 28 1030-1630 $90

August 3 or 4 (TBC), & 17 (Fri) 1030-1630 $90

September 1, 7 (Fri), 15, 22, & 29 1030-1630 $90

All dates are Saturday’s (unless stated).  Ring Pukekohe to confirm anything with them.

(Remember our season opener is on September 15 at Hampton Downs, so if people are keen, perhaps an informal “Group” test could be arranged on the 1st September (weather permitting))

Legends of Speed Race Report

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.


TACCOC Spring Classic – Pukekohe – Event Photo’s

Special thanks to Pete Dawson for snapping these photo’s:

In NASCAR they say "boogety boogety boogety"...we just say, "GO!"

Bruce McCoy leads Michael Clark and Gerald Duncan on the front straight

Cheqeurs for Dave Silverton and Phil Foulkes. They were seperated by mere tenths of a second at the line.

Graham Dickie leads Vic Clarke with Ron Wilkin tagging along.

Bruce McCoy stops for a coffee; "Latte, skim milk, please"

In Formula One, you used to get the Trulli Train....in Historic Formula Ford, you get the Clark Conga Line

Heading off into the sunset????

TACCOC October Spring Classic

The TACCOC Spring Classic saw a fine mid-spring day at Pukekohe Raceway.  The Historic Formula Ford’s only had ten cars entered for this meeting, eight Class I cars, and two Class II cars.  Making their season debut’s were Bruce McCoy (#13 Lola T342), Michael Clark (#32 Crossle 32F), and Phil Foulkes (#22 Van Diemen RF85).


Practise / qualification saw a spread of 7 seconds across the nine cars that took to the track.  Mike Lee (#55 Mondiale M86S) pounded out 11 laps around Puke’, setting the pole time of 1:10.526.


Race 1 was over 8-laps, and was eventually won by Foulkes in a rampant 9:25.771, setting fastest lap for the weekend of 1:08.527 in the process, but not before a short battle with Dave Silverton (#43 PRS), who just 0.102 seconds adrift of Foulkes at the line, with Foulkes only taking the lead on the final lap.  Mike Lee, whom had led for a period of the race, finished third 2.397 seconds behind Foulkes, but comfortably ahead of another tight grouping of three cars featuring Mike Creswell (#7 Lola T342), Vic Clarke (#911 Palliser WDF3) and Graham Dickie (#191 Begg FM3) whom were spread by a mere 0.873 seconds at the line.


Race 2, again over 8-laps was comfortably won by Silverton, finishing 13.533 seconds up on Michael Clark; himself only 0.201 seconds ahead of Foulkes in third.  Vic Clarke and Graham Begg again finished within a blink of each other (0.06 seconds), with Ron Wilkin (#72 Elden PRH10) on their coat-tails, just 0.6-seconds behind them.


Race 3 was once more  a Siverton victory, this time by 8.516 seconds.  Silverton also set the Class I fastest lap in this race, with a 1:08.826.  Foulkes raced home in second with a handy 4.5-second gap to Mike Creswell, who had his best placing of the weekend in third.  Creswell however had Michael Clark right on his exhaust pipe, a mere 0.205-secs behind in fourth.  Fifth was Mike Lee, whilst Ron Wilkin and Vic Clarke crossed the line in sixth and seventh respectively separated by a scant 0.014-seconds…


The Class leaders have changed around this weekend, with Dave Silverton taking charge in Class I, and Mike Lee moving atop the Class II table.


The next meeting is November 6 at Hampton Downs.  Entries at motorsportentry.com