A report from one our new members, Danny Ciarma at the recent Sandown meeting and a short wrap up from myself.
I fell in love with the Formula Junior marque about 4 years ago when I saw them for the first time at Sandown. I just wanted one to put in my lounge room and look at it all night. I then got side tracked with a GT3 race car and did many track days but eventually the novelty wore off that and I sold it. As soon as I did, a light bulb went off in my mind remembering the day I saw that beautiful machine known as the Formula Junior – I wanted one, and I was going to get one.
I looked around for a while and spoke to people I knew who steered me in the right direction for advice. Peter Strauss was the first person who encouraged me to buy a “Junior” (as I now know is their beloved nick name), in fact it was his BT6 that I saw at Sandown for the first time.
Eventually, I went onto the AFJA web site and looked under classifieds and saw a beautiful Lynx for sale – Lynx, what’s a Lynx? After talking to Peter Strauss for more advice about model types and all of their pro’s and con’s, he then put me onto Bill Hemming to talk about the association. I met with Bill and he was nice enough to let me sit in his Elfin – that was the first time I sat in a Junior. Bill suggested I call Kim Shearn, who was very nice and encouraging on the phone. They all spoke highly of the Lynx so I decided to buy it. Not long after that, I received a welcome call from Noel Bryen who signed me up as a member and then I received a lovely phone call from Margaret Ealand to “welcome me to the family” – that felt really nice. I realised then that being part of the Junior family was more than about owning a car.
Danny Ciarma at Sandown
All this unfolded only several months ago and after a few test days, I actually raced at the Sandown Historic weekend just gone – I had my first ever qualifying and race sessions in a JUNIOR.
Wow, what an experience, the racing was so much fun and I have even fallen more in love with the car. We had four Juniors in the M & O class and at one stage I was involved in a really good 3 way battle, until I sheered a universal joint, but that’s another story – the response from, Peter, Kim & Bill was, not, “oh you poor thing, that is really sad to hear”, no it was, with a smirk on their face, “that’s racing”.
I was very welcomed on the weekend by all involved with the AFJA and everyone was happy to include me in conversations and give their own bits of advice, such as from Kim Shearn after asking, how the hell did you pass me so quickly, with his words of wisdom being, “I know my car better than you know yours”.
Stephen Moody, Paul Faulkner and Kin Shearn
I’m very happy to be a part of the Junior family and I cant wait to get back onto the track and race amongst a good number of other Juniors into the future and meet as many of you as I can.
The weekend also taught me something – I now know why the older foxes in the group were so eager to foster and guide a new younger person to the trap, sorry I mean club, they need more people to beat!
Margaret Ealand, happy that Roger’s 18 is in good hands
Thanks for the report Danny, and I am really pleased that your first experience was so positive. Whilst you were enjoying the camaraderie at Sandown, I was at Eastern Creek (aka Sydney Motorsport Park) with Robert Buckley in his Golford Junior at the HSRCA historic meeting. It was a lose/lose situation for both events, with small fields in Sydney and equally small fields in Melbourne. How we managed to stage two historic meetings on the same weekend is beyond me, but enough said on that topic!
We were also gridded with the Group O racing field which produced a 14 car grid and the racing was good fun, although lonely at times. It was a shame to have only 2 Juniors at the final championship round for 2017 but it made the pointscoring quite easy. Suffice to say that Rob and I both won our respective classes! The good thing about the whole weekend was that all of our cars went back onto their respective trailers in one piece.
The pointscore for 2017 after the final round now looks like this, taking the best 4 events only:
Noel Bryen – 160
Robert Buckley – 111
Kim Shearn – 74
Bill Hemming – 70
Geoff Fry – 64
Max Pegram – 62
David Reid – 57
Bill Norman – 30
Murray Bryden – 30
Wayne Hocking – 19
Grant Craft – 17
Dick Willis – 1
Now that the world tour is over we should see some bigger fields for 2018 and our immediate challenge is to design a programme for the year that will encourage our attendance. Since we are not invited to Phillip Island, it will be a long time between drinks, with the first Historic meeting being the HSRCA round at Wakefield Park in early April.
One of our thoughts is to make Winton (short) in May a big event and try to encourage as many members as possible to attend, but watch this space – we will put a calendar together as soon as we have firm dates available.
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