Please find enclosed the results for the AFJA series for 2019. As you can see, it has been a quiet year with only 12 competitors racing over 8 meetings. Max Pegram is the clear winner of the Leo Geoghegan Trophy with 160 points in his 1960 Gemini, with Richard Nitschke winning the Aussie Built Trophy in his 1962 Elfin. Congratulations to them both. The F3 trophy was not awarded this year as there were no competitors.
I will work up a draft calendar for 2020 over the Christmas break for discussion at the AGM, which will be held at Phillip Island over the weekend of 7/8 March, and this will also be the first event on our calendar. The known race meetings for 2020 thus far are:
Phillip Island – VHRR – 7/8 March
Wakefield Park – HSRCA – 21/22 March
Mallala SCCSA – 25/26 April
Winton Short – VSCCA – 30/31 May
Eastern Creek – HSRCA – 6/7 June
Morgan Park – HRCC – 11/12 July
Winton Long – VHRR – 01/02 August
Wakefield Park – HSRCA – 29/30 August
Sandown – VHRR – 7/8/ November
Eastern Creek – HSRCA – 28/29 November.
So, we could be attending a race meeting almost every month in 2020. Please let me know your thoughts for a possible calendar for next year.
In the meantime, AFJA fees are now due for 2020, so either make a direct deposit of $25 to the AFJA bank account BSB: 063465, Account: 10088952 or complete the enclosed form and return it to me with your cheque. Alternatively, Robyn will happily accept cash if you see her in person.
Wakefield Park is on this weekend and is a round of our championship. However, there are no Formula Juniors entered, which is a sad state of affairs indeed.
The next championship event is Sandown on 26/27 October and so far only 3 Juniors have entered. These are David Reid in his Cooper, Kim Shearn in his Lotus and Richard Nitschke in his Elfin. We need more, as does the entire M&O category. We are in great danger of being merged with other categories if we can’t maintain our numbers. We are already seeing Group O being merged with Q&R at some meetings and it won’t be long before Group M ends up in the same boat.
It is not feasible to combine Group M with Q&R because of the speed differential, which means we will end up with Group L as the only alternative. This is already occurring at some meetings and is far from ideal. So, please consider Sandown as your next event – entries close on 30 September. Failing that, the last event for the year is Eastern Creek on 30 November/1 December.
Some more news from Kim, and the points score after our last round at Morgan Park, where we have beautiful but cold weather and some great racing. Only the Juniors of Don Thallon, Rob Buckley and myself made the circuit, with Allan Conway’s F3 Brabham suffering from a gremlin attack which kept it in the pits the whole weekend.
But first, here’s Kim.
Is it just me or do others awaken and think of when is the next race weekend? Sure, we think of the kids, grandkids and friends, but racing is always an early thought.
Over here, in Europe, there is a race meeting virtually every weekend, so no end of fun. Two weeks ago it was was Anglesey on the Welsh North coast. A fantastic track, not unlike Phillip Island in location.
Five Aussies were in the line up and Marty Bullock won the first race and got 3rd in the second. David Kent won his class and, despite a litany of problems, David Watkins also did well collecting, if I remember, a third in the second race.
Bill Hemming went really well in his gorgeous Tojiero and while i was running strong in 4th spot in race 2, I blew a donut and failed to finish. The field was about 20 strong so we all had some success really.
A couple of weeks earlier many of us raced at Most in Czech. It is another excellent venue and the racing there was held in 35°C+ Heat. Everyone got through ok, though overheating was ever present.
We took a couple of weeks to get back to the UK after, you guessed it…lots of shopping, too many bloody castles and numerous churches! She needs therapy of varying types but I’m buggered to understand some of it, even after 45 years of trying!
This weekend we run at Croft which holds a sort of mini Goowood Revival type meeting. Located up North, near Newcastle (there’s that bloody word again) it promises to have a bit of a different feel. I will race the F3 Penny Ford and see how that goes after considerable tweeking during the off season.
Finally, the week after is Nurburgring, a real highlight on this trip. Despite the rigid discipline in the organising it is a really good event with A1 hospitality tents, strong entry and lots of interesting cars in various classes.
After a disappointing incident in practice at Winton before I left home, my Lotus 18 is under going a complete refurb with many new components. Dave Price is, along with Allan Bisset, seeing to it all and I’m looking forward to joining you all on my return for a Summer full of racing.
We are working on the 2020 calender and improving our communications with you all as time goes by. It’s never easy to satisfy everyone, but we’ll keep trying and hopefully grow our group over time. Helpful suggestions are encouraged and your support is the best way to flourish.
Unfortunately, as Tom, the mechanic, warmed up the Penny Ford in his workshop yesterday, it broke another camshaft and, obviously, couldn’t be fixed in time as he was heading off in his truck for Copenhagen on Tuesday night.
Tom was taking my Lotus to Copenhagen as he wasn’t returning to England before going onwards to Germany for my (and others) race the following weekend. The lotus was also waiting on a new driveshaft that was being delivered to Germany so I could race there. What to do?
Tom borrowed a driveshaft from Team Classic Lotus and will take it to Copenhagen. I cancelled Croft, the rang Jac Nellerman in Copenhagen (he organises that event) made a late entry. Jack suggested I fly to Denmark from Edinburgh and stay in ONE of his motorhomes. He arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport and whisk us to the opening cocktail party on the, Thursday night. His driver will also take us to the track on Friday morning to collect one of Jac’s classic cars for the weekend. I then decided we wpuld stay in a hotel in town rather than impose on him for a motor Home. This also allowed Marie to shop while I race…nothing new there.
We then fly back to Edinburgh on Sunday night, collect JOYCE, then catch the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam on Monday night and drive to Nurburgring in time for laps on the old circuit on Thursday next week.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’ll let you know the outcome, but suddenly things got a bit busy here!!!
Apologies for the lull in communications, it seems like ages since I last sent an update on AFJA happenings and an eternity since I last sat in the Rennmax. I have now missed 3 events in the AFJA championship for this year. However, I have been extremely busy in the shed, if nothing else.
For those of you who may not know, Peter Barclay and I had a coming together at Phillip Island in March. Peter was in his BT21 and spun going through Siberia during the first race on the Saturday. I had nowhere to go and we collided head-on. Both of our cars sustained very similar damage and looked sad and sorry for themselves. Fortunately, we were both OK, although Peter suffered some soft tissue damage to an ankle.
The damage to the Rennmax looked serious enough at the time, but naturally I found more once I stripped it for repairs. The radiator/oil cooler was a write off and the oil tank was damaged but repairable. I had to cut the frame away to remove it. One tie rod was bent and the top left had wishbone was also bent. This led to crack testing the whole left hand corner which resulted in a new upright. I removed the RHS wishbone to use as a template, only to discover that it was also bent, most likely from and earlier shunt. So, two new wishbones. During the inspection process I noticed that all of the rose joints on the LHS were well worn, so I checked them all and found that 10 needed replacing. At $70 a pop the repair bill is becoming exponential. The chassis repairs were easy enough and the new radiator is fitted and the chassis repainted at the front. The new body has been made and is in final primer for painting this weekend, weather permitting, although rain is forecast. I plan to run it at Eastern Creek the following weekend for the HSRCA June long weekend meeting, if only to give it a shake down in preparation for Morgan Park in July. I am certainly missing the action.
So, at Wakefield at the end of March, we saw the welcome return of Murray Bryden in his Lotus 22. He had some initial fuel problems but eventually had some fun. Kim didn’t make it as his engine was still being rebuilt after NZ. Rob Buckley ran well initially but then found some serious cracks in the chassis around the engine department which put his car back on the trailer and trusty Bill Hemming was reliable as usual in the Elfin. The runaway winner for the weekend was Max Pegram in the Gemini. Well done Max.
The next event was at Mallala in April and both Kim and Max shared the overall honours for the weekend. Richard Nitschke joined Bill Hemming with a similar Elfin and they were close all weekend. The local boy, Wayne Hocking, was the other player in his TAD. Kims’s report on the meeting is included beow for those of you who may have missed the previous update.
Mallala, what a great little track and an even better weekend away for those who travelled.
Six Juniors were there including Bill Hemming, along with several of his Elfins to celebrate the Marque’s 60th at Tailem Bend after the meeting. Max Pegram had in his delightful and rapid Gemini. The South Australian TAD, well driven by Wayne Hocking ran in every race as did Richard Nitschke in another Elfin. Sadly, Murray Bryden suffered terminal engine problems on Friday and had to withdraw. I took my Lotus 18, fitted with a refreshed engine so it w was flying.
A couple of interesting Cooper 500’s were also running with us and boy are they quick when they get going….love the methanol! We were mixed with groups J, K and L among other group M & O racers, the quickest and overall winner was the Brabham driven by Colin Haste who cleaned up in his 1600 twin cam….. well done
The 500’s suffered multiple minor problems, but the other Juniors ran well throughout the weekend. Max kept Bill honest and I was under pressure A few times by the other Elfin driven quickly by Richard. The TAD was on 5 year old tyres so didn’t figure as close to the front as usual.
All in all, a terrific time was had by everyone thus making the drive well worth while.
Currently we’re preparing for the big meeting next week at Winton where, as is often the case, more than 400 historic cars have entered.
Hope to see some of you there.
Cheers, Kim Shearn
The most recent meeting was the short circuit at Winton where again Max gained maximum points. Two new players for the year, both in Lotus 18s, were Grant Walker and Robert Butcher. Richard Nitschke also came over from SA and it looks like they all had some fun with Bill Hemming. I am certainly jealous of the great racing they have had in my absence.
The points score is detailed below and hats off to Max Pegram for his consistency so far this year. I hope to see all of you on the track soon.
The AGM was held at Wakefield over the course of the HSRCA event last weekend and the AFJA Committee remains unchanged. I will publish the minutes in a separate newsflash in a week or so.
There was some detailed discussion on how we can improve our numbers and some ideas were put forward. One of the suggestions was to reduce the championship rounds from the 8 we have this year to 4 or 5 next year, with the aim being to encourage greater participation because of fewer events.
It was also suggested to have a 3 year cycle with the main events being Wakefield Park, Winton Short, Mallala and Morgan Park, with a big “away” event on the third year, such as Baskerville, WA or NZ. Your thoughts on these ideas would be appreciated.
A motion was moved and carried at the AGM to reduce membership fees from $50 to $25 to encourage greater participation and those members that have already paid $50 will not have to pay for 2020. So, if you haven’t already paid your fees (and not many have) please treat this as a reminder to do so. Let me know if you need details on how to pay.
As you can see from the results for the first 2 rounds so far this year, Max Pegram is off to a flyer with the Gemini, scoring well at both events. Well done Max. Unfortunately, our numbers are not helped by misadventure, with my Rennmax being sidelined until June after the shunt at Phillip Island, Kim Shearn suffered engine damage in NZ during February and Rob Buckley discovered some cracks in his chassis during the Wakefield meeting which will necessitate a major rebuild. But that’s life!
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!
Another year passes and we have to congratulate our trophy winners. Noel Bryen took out top honours this year and it was well deserved. Allan Conway collected the F3 Nereo Dizane title with Rob Buckley succeeding in winning the best performed Australian built car. Now the Diamond Jubilee has wound up we must work harder than ever to ensure the interest garnered in our group grows and flourishes as we would like. Throughout the year we continued to be blighted by small grids in our class. However, some really good racing happened in mixed M & O races and that will help to keep our regular racing members off the streets, so to speak. The highlight for me was the FJ only grid at Wakefield Park, and we should be able to repeat that this April if everyone makes a big effort to get their cars ready for it. Really try….it’s we’ll worthwhile! Personally, I find it increasingly difficult to contact our members as often as I would like due to my extended absences overseas. Members may wish to consider a change in Presidency to address this important issue. Regular contact, coupled with meaningful feedback are certainly two ways to improve our attendances at historic events. I believe we need to reinvent our communication strategy, utilising Facebook or whatever. That way, we can spread news faster, continually share parts availability and better track ownership of our cars to name but a few advantages. It takes funds, of course so we need to grow our surplus to achieve these things. Not easy, though critical for the way forward for the AFJA. In my view, we also need to improve our profile in the Australian historic scene if we are to protect the value of our cars and, more importantly, continue to show the benefits of FJ ownership along with its ability to be part of a truly global racing class. This is our unique feature that no other type of historic car group can boast, hence the world-wide market for Formula Junior cars. I want to sincerely thank Noel and Robyn Bryen for largely carrying the can regarding all things administrative…and more. We are indeed very fortunate to have such dedicated and able people to keep the association in fine fettle throughout this and previous years. Hopefully, this coming year and beyond will see more members getting involved in our activities as this is the only way we will hold our own, let alone expand. I encourage you all to become more proactive and contribute where you can. After all, I can think of no better way to enjoy our cars than when we race together, with great camaraderie. It is fantastic fun and even more enjoyable when lots of us get together. Here’s to a great 2019. Yours in racing, Kim Shearn President AFJA