AFJHA Phillip Island 2019

Phillip Island, Australia’s premier Historic race meeting March 2019 attracted perfect weather, huge entries (over 350), huge crowds (over 20,000)…..and 4 Formula Juniors!

Max Pegram ran his Gemini in Group Lb, but his excellent effort was overshadowed by his new girlfriend who has a Bugeye Sprite, which shows her taste in cars is better than her taste in men.

The M and O field had Noel Bryen in his Rennmax beating Twin Cams and V8’s, Steve Moody driving Phil Segat’s Lotus 18 and Bill Hemming bringing up the rear in his overheating Elfin.

Unfortunately, a slow return of cars from New Zealand ruled out a few cars, but that was really the only excuse for a poor turnout of Juniors. This meant that the FJ Australian AGM had to be postponed until Wakefield Park when a larger turnout is expected.

On the other hand, we were blessed with the attendance of Margaret Ealand who showed real commitment by driving her camper all the way down from Murwillumbah to support us. She did what she does best and co-hosted our Friday night BBQ with Noel and Robyn. A terrific night with really good food (thank you Bryens) and a good roll-up of “non-formula junior driving” guests including Jeff Brown, Kim Shearn, Peter and Jane Strauss, Mark Goldsmith etc. A night topped up with Apple Crumble and a (too small) scoop of ice cream.

Back to the grid, Noel qualified with a 1.51 sec lap, which must be close to the FJ record, while Steve and Bill were nearly 20 seconds off his pace.

In race 1, Noel predictably cleaned up and Bill edged out Steve by only being 13 secs a lap slower than Noel.

Race 2 was almost a race, but best forgotten after Noel was an innocent victim after a nasty head-on with a spinning Peter Barclay Brabham BT21. The race was abandoned with no recorded result, and Noel’s Rennmax was loaded onto the trailer with no recorded mirth.

Sunday’s race 3 saw Steve Moody edge out Bill’s Elfin and the last race of the day, Race 4, had Bill as the only FJ finisher.

All in all, this years’ Phillip Island was a brilliant event, despite a piss-poor showing from Australia’s 30+ FJs. We understand a significant number of our cars are still overseas after the 60th Anniversary World Tour, but there is ongoing discussion and planning on how we can return FJ to its rightful place as the best and one of the most popular categories in Historic Racing. Noel and Robyn are doing a fabulous job, and Kim needs help (that’s putting it mildly!) to make up for the time he spends out of Australia.

The best help we can give, is to COMPETE in our fabulous cars with a nice bunch of people. Help yourself!     

Bill Hemming.

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