Last year saw many of our “clan” opt for participation in the Diamond Jubilee events that continued around the world. As expected, this had a negative affect on local grids, but some really good racing occurred here, nevertheless. Congratulations to Noel Bryen who deservedly took out our major trophy, making him “Number 1″in 2018, should he so choose. It is appropriate at this point to sincerely thank Noel and of course, Robyn Bryen for their ongoing hard work and enormous support in ensuring all things Formula Junior in Australia run well. Their knowledge of, and passion for Historic Motorsport is well known to all and it continues, unabated, luckily for us!
During 2017, the American leg of the Jubilee was held and it highlighted to me the difficult issue we also face in Australia – that of distance. The USA races were sensibly split, basically into two halves – West and East coast. I was fortunate to be able to participate in the East coast section along with about 12 other Aussies and Kiwis! It was a fantastic experience. They do things a bit differently over there, but it all works well. Strong grids and really good racing at several iconic circuits along the way. The Yanks are masters of logistics and planning and it shows. The circuits were immaculate and the track surrounds were groomed to perfection. This enhanced activities considerably. I spoke with a number of casual spectators, who, whilst not being what you would consider as true petrol heads, enjoyed the time they spent at the track and they were well catered for. Including lots of grassy knolls…who said that? Whatever you do, don’t mention “The Donald”
The year saw a few cars change hands and we welcome several newcomers to our growing ranks of owners, and, more importantly, competitors. To further enhance this, I am aware of at least two more cars undergoing restoration that just might see the light of day this coming year. Margaret Ealand must be thanked for her decision to ensure Roger’s much cherished Lotus 18 remained in Australia with new custodian Paul Falkner… at some exxpense to Margaret, such is her enthusiasm for our group. No doubt Margaret will be on the phone to you soon to encourage your entry and to keep tabs on our “fleet”” movements.
The calander is set for 2018 and our first meeting at Wakefield should be fantastic with 14 starters at the time of writing. Is it the double points, the track, or just simply time to blow the cobwebs out for you? Your feed back to our small, but growing membership is vital to ensure we remain relevant and accommodating to as many as possible. Dust your toy off – come and have fun with us as often as you can.
Let’s make 2108 a memorable year – time marches on so, IF NOT NOW – WHEN?
Please find enclosed the documentation required for our forthcoming Annual General Meeting to be held on the evening of Friday, 6th April 2018 at the Goulburn Soldiers Club, prior to our first race meeting for the year. The following documents are enclosed.
Minutes from the 2017 AGM
Nomination form for Committee members for 2018
Proxy voting form
Please return nomination and proxy forms to myself at this email address and I will ensure they are distributed accordingly.
Don’t forget that you need to be a financial member in order to vote, so please let me know if you need a membership form.
Prior to the AGM we will be holding a 3 course dinner at the Goulburn Soldiers Club in Market Street, Goulburn for only $35/head, so please let me know if you intend to come along and haven’t already told me. I need to know numbers for catering purposes. Everyone is welcome – you don’t have to be an AFJA member.
Great news! The HSRCA has agreed to provide us with our own races at our first championship round for 2018 at Wakefield Park on the weekend of 7/8 April. This also means it will be double points. I will let you know as soon as entries are open. However, for this to be a success we need your support from all of our classes. That is front engined, rear engined and Formula 3. The more the merrier of course. The HSRCA is also giving us “naming Rights” and it will be known as the 60th Anniversary Meeting of Formula Juniors in Australia. (in actual fact it is probably only 59, but let’s no quibble over a year or two).
This will also be our AGM for the year and I will be sending out the paperwork for this in due course. So, please come along and have your say on the pointscore, the championship rounds for the year and anything else you would like to discuss that affects our Association as well as enjoying some fun in your pride and joy.
Also, just a reminder that annual membership fees are now due. I have only processed 20 or so to date so if you would like to renew please drop me a line or read the details that were in the recently distributed issue of Pitstop.
Some important news and also some feedback that we need, but first a reminder that membership fees for 2018 are now due and the application form is enclosed. We have maintained the fees at $50, as they were in 2017.
After much discussion with the various organisers we have arrived at a preliminary programme for 2018 and we invite your feedback. It isn’t 100% firm at this stage as many clubs are still finalising their events for 2018 and dates are not fully known, but hopefully it won’t move too much. Some points to note:
We are not invited to Phillip Island this year, as it is the turn of M&O to be given a “holiday”. Hence our first historic meeting isn’t until April!
We tried to get an event at either Lakeside or Willowbank but at this stage we have had no luck. We were offered 3 options, one of which clashed with Wakefield in April and the other 2 were one week either side of Sandown in November. However, we haven’t ruled it out and an opportunity may arise as the new year unfolds.
The AGP is on 24/25 March and Phillip Island is 17/18 March.
Round 1 – Wakefield Park – April 7/8 – if we can guarantee 15 cars we will be given our own race. Double points!
Round 2 – Mallala – April 28/29 – not 100% on the date just yet.
Round 3 – Winton Short – May 26/27. If we can provide sufficient cars the organisers will give us our own trophies and provide lots of promotional coverage for us.
Round 4 – Morgan Park – early July
Round 5 – Winton Long – August
Round 6 – Wakefield Park – September
Round 7 – Sandown – early November
Round 8 – Eastern Creek (Aka SMSP) – December 1 & 2
Now for the important bit of feedback. We have been invited to a club level meeting at Sandown on 3 & 4 March, which would be a much better start to the year. However, they need a minimum of 15 cars. The advantages of attending this meeting are:
We will have our own grid.
Entry fees will be less than $400
It is a much better time to kick off the new year and it will be a small and friendly meeting with lots of track time.
We will award double points since we will have our own grid.
Historic Touring cars are also invited so we won’t be the only historic group.
However, the organisers need to know by early January, so please get back to me as soon as possible (BEFORE CHRISTMAS) if you can commit to this event. Remember, we need a minimum of 15 starters to make it viable.
We would also appreciate your feedback on the proposed calendar above. If we include Sandown in March then 9 rounds may be too many, so please give it some thought and let me know. The majority will rule, so please have your say.
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.
Whilst it was bitter sweet having to miss out on Laguna Seca, I was pleased to be at home for the arrival of my new grandson that weekend in Melbourne. Soon after, I headed to the Good ‘Ol US of A to partake in the last 3 North American rounds of the Formula Junior World Tour.
Having surrendered my entry to Goodwood in favour of Bill Hemming who had a more suitable car available, I was desperately hoping for good things in the States……I wasn’t disappointed.
In New York and prior to leaving for Lime Rock, I was keen to visit a couple of the Smithsonian museums – what a complex of buildings, displays, information and amazing exhibits. The Space Museum is something to behold. I drove a Lancer (rubbish!) going down to Washington from New York, but soon swapped it out for a Camaro – wicked! Speed limit… what? No wife in tow ( at home gooing and gahring) so I was able to wander and drive at leisure and soak it all up.
The first race was at Lime Rock in New York State. What a picturesque circuit – situated among rolling hills, huge pits, flowers everywhere and a warm welcome by the organisers. We were afforded plenty of track time on this short, but fast and flowing circuit with 2 feature races. The West Australian contingent was out in force along with a few from NZ, Denmark, Canada, South Africa and of course, the UK. Classes were split into 3 groups according to the Formula’s development phases – Front Engine, Rear engine with drum brakes and Rear engine with disc brakes. Generally the weather was terrific and the racing, as usual, was close. Neil McCrudden had a wild moment when his steering column broke and that resulted in a lurid spin finishing in the fence at the end of the main straight. Car – very sad, Neil, just as sad, but not hurt thankfully. Marty Bullock was the Aussie star in his Lotus 27. I was driving the ex Roger Ealand Lotus 18 for the first time in 2 years since my outing at Sonoma that resulted in some front end damage. The car was repaired expertly and on time by Norman Thersby in California (Thanks Norm!)and was a treat to drive. Starting and finishing mid field was a good result for me and I was well pleased. The David’s – Kent, Watkins and Innes from the UK in the Ex Peter Boel Lola all performed excellently with good placings in a highly competitive field. Don Thallon also went well and was right up with the leading group thus ensuring the Aussies were very well represented on the rostrum among the yanks. Race two was similar but this time, Strauss beat me so between us, we were One all.
Into the new Camaro rental and off to dinner after the parade into the local village and had dinner at a great place – thank you, you’re welcome, have a nice day etc. etc. Peter Strauss had earlier suffered a small off in Qually, but JR Mitchel, who was fettling both Peter’s and my car, soon sorted things out so he could continue racing throughout the trip. I reckoned he should pay for dinner as he was using up all our “credits” with JR, but it was easier to find someone who disliked Trump (no one!) than that.
We then moved on to Watkins Glen which was an entirely different proposition. A big property, not nearly as well kept as Lime Rock, but fantastic to drive and race at. Neil had swapped out his engine from his broken Lotus 22 and inserted it into his Pink Panther so he could continue racing, albeit, a bit slower than before. Others only had some minor niggles and were up for the challenge on what is also a fast circuit with some verrrry close armco in a few verrrry quick spots. I had a great dice with Tony Ollisof and others after buggering up the rolling start they always have. Results were similar though the racing was a bit more spread out on the longer circuit. Somehow, I managed a third place in the drum brake class and was chuffed to be on the podium at such an iconic circuit. Again, no incidents of concern – what could possibly go wrong from hereon in? I also managed a spin during practice and was black flagged for not immediately pulling in to the pits to explain my actions – simple really on a damp track, ambition exceeded ability. Strange rule that. Another unique difference is that when you have a yellow flag, you slow as we do, but resume racing as soon as you pass the incident – no greens! Tow trucks conduct live recoveries during races under a white / red flag which can be a bit disconcerting at times.
So, JR transported some cars, the WA boys mainly hauling their cars in a huge rented semi that can be driven on a normal licence! Because it’s a “Fifth Wheel” unit, being over 60 feet long doesn’t matter over there! I joined up with Peter Strauss and his good lady Jane for the trip North West to Road America. Surviving on a lunchtime diet at, variously, Wendy’s, Macca’s, BIg Boy, and God knows what other rubbish we found along the way via Cleveland Ohio through Muskeegan (?) accross lake Michigan on a ferry to Milwaulkee then North to the track. It is situated about 150 Klm’s North of Chicago.
Road America was a real treat for several reasons. I purchased my Lotus 20/22 from the President of the track, George Brugentheiss some years back and he and his wife Shirley were very welcoming and a great help all round. This circuit is made up of 660 acres of varying terrain and facilities. Off road, forest tracks, Go Kart complex, huge pits and fastidiously maintained in every way. It is over 6 Klm’s long and also super fast. A terrific challenge in our little cars but plenty of overtaking places and room to “have a go”. By now Peter Strauss was having a few electrical gremlins, but most everyone else was in good shape and the only two no-shows/no race were Jac Nellerman from Denmark (engine blow up) and Eric Jutsen in the Ex Ealand Koala, also blown engine. Both guys were offered spare engines but declined as it was the last meeting and they felt it was time to go home and sort things out at leisure.
Again, the racing was close up front, but enjoyable all through the field with many battles for both minor and class placings. The promoting club put on a dinner, gratis, on the Friday night and a further dinner at a fantastic hotel on the Saturday night for some 800 people. On a personal note, my car was fantastic. No issues throughout 3 weekends including lots of track miles. No leaks, missing, suspension issues of any type and that made my trip extra special as I was able to engage in every session. The only downside is I had no excuses for regularly being mid field. One hicough was the fact that on Sunday at Road America (Elkhart Lake) was the inclusion of about 30 Formula V’s in our grid. Despite having a staggered start, one of our front runners, Chris Drake from the UK was leading when he happened upon the slow V’s towards the end of the race which he leading and got punted off into the armco, doing significant damage to his car and costing him a certain win. MIXED GRIDS are not the way to go for anyone and other solutions need to be found to ensure every one’s safety and enjoyment. In that race the total grid was about 60 cars! Is this the case of promoters being extra greedy for more entry fees and fewer races?
I’m pleased to report that an Aussie, MARTY BULLOCK, won the North American sector of the Diamond Jubilee World Tour. The Poms and Europeans, along with us from downunder out numbered the Yanks at each meeting but they still had a few fast guys and gals to keep us honest throughout. In short, this sector was highly successful and a real tribute to the organisation of Duncan Rabagliati, World Supremo of Formula Junior racing. Roll on next year where we have 3 race meetings in the Baltic States as the second last leg of the World Tour. A big thanks to Sarah, the FJHRA Secretary for ensuring that all things logistic ran smoothly as well. Any problems – call Sarah – she always has the fix!
After all this we spent a few days in Chicago. A pleasant city of surprises from my point of view and was an excellent finish to the trip. Big thanks to the Strauss’ for allowing me to join them on the road. I wasn’t even required to provide marriage guidance as Jane was an excellent navigator and kept both Peter and me on a short leash at all times.
After a brilliant 3 meeting run in the Good Ol’ US of A, where the little Tojeiro and it’s Fiat Transporter Pod didn’t put a foot wrong, a late invite to the Goodwood Revival could not be ignored. (That’s a GOOD}
A rush booking on a ship to arrive in Southhampton by the 25th August would allow a quick nut and bolt check before presenting at the worlds” premier Historic Motoring event. (Don’t take my word for it, just ask the 300,000 people who have been paying hundreds of dollars to attend every year for 20 years.) (also GOOD)
The girls and guys who picked up the Pod from the docks on the 29th August pointed out the Fiats’ clutch was totally clutchless, the automatic entry door would not shut automatically, and that the interior looked like it had been ransacked. (BAD, BAD and BAD)
On arriving in the UK, young Bill rushed over to check the Pod at the clutch repair workshop to find “ransacked” to be an understatement. (very BAD)
A quick inventory check found nearly $10,000 of BAD. Missing tools, TV, Satnav, Generator, bed linen, kitchen gear – even the salt and pepper shakers! The poor misunderstood petty thieves (they were probably molested and gender confused as children and therefore need forgiveness and understanding by us privileged white old folk) even had to stand on the aluminium Tojeiro to reach some items, leaving dents front and rear. (F…..g BAD)
Oh well, after a few gins and tonic, the Toj was loaded in the Pod and motored down to Goodwood on a beautiful sunny Thursday. Tojeiro unloaded in the paddock, scrutineered and paperworked, and a pleasant afternoon spent at the drivers cricket match sipping Pimms and watching the Spitfire fly- over after parking the Pod in the vast camping area. (all GOOD)
Thursday night it started to rain and rain and rain. The camping ground became a giant mud-wrestling ring…and the showers were cold. (not so GOOD)
Friday am and it continued to rain and rain and rain for the Formula Junior practice/qualifying session – the first of the day. Tip toeing around, the little Tojeiro stayed on the track to come in a respectable mid field 19th and within a second of the next 5 cars. (so far, so GOOD)
Meanwhile Bills’ mud bath campsite was joined by ex Tojeiro owner, Anthony Goddard (and wonderful wife Alix) and Adam Ealand, son of ex Roger Ealand who came to lend support and offer wine. (very GOOD)
Saturday morning, the sun came out enough to turn the car park mud into brown silastic. But it did offer a dry race for Formula Junior which was again the first event of the day. On the dummy grid, the lovely Sarah herded all the FJ drivers for obligatory group photo. It all started so well!(showed GOOD potential)
Until the engine overheated on the formation lap. With the steel trapped mind of a finely honed engineer, Bill put this down to the slow pace of the formation lap an thought a bit of speed would improve the cooling. After a good launch which picked up a couple of places, by the first corner the temperature was off the dial and power dropped off. By lap 2, on a good stretch. The engine managed to jump up to 3 cylinders and the Toj limped into retirement. (all of this was not GOOD)
The only benefit to retirement was that we could witness the FJ race on the big screen. Again, the FJ’s put on a brilliant display and the dice for the lead was breathtaking. The car control of the winner, Stuart Roach, as he was forced off the track onto the wet grass was sublime! (GOOD to see!)
After the race, the FJers were free for the rest of the weekend. Sarah was thrilled to watch her daughter have fun in the Austin A40 pedal car event, and we all went off to dribble on some of the Ferraris, Maseratis, Jaguars, ERA’s, Bugattis, etc etc (ran into Bob King who was fettling a friend’s Bugatti, and Mike and Dot Devine who came to tell Bill how pathetic was his effort). We also had time to prepare for the famous Goodwood Saturday night theme ball. (GOODY)
This year the theme was to dress for Salsa. Most wore Cuban outfits, but Bill mistook things and thought calypso dress was the go. In the absence of Bill’s (if it’s got tyres or testicles – keep away from it) wife, Adam offered to be Bill’s Bitch for the night and dressed up with calypso frills. They looked like an advert for the “yes” vote in the upcoming same sex marriage ballot. Worse, in a room full of Castro and Che costumes, they were as conspicuous as a Cuban cigar in the hands of Monica Lewinsky. Nevertheless, a great night, and Bill and Adam walked back to the campsite (and I do mean camp) hand in hand to retire tired but happy. (GOOD for some)
Despite a sensational day of race watching, the best entertainment on Sunday was watching a couple of hundred camper vans slithering totally out of control and getting towed to dry land by 3 huge tractors. Goodwood in the rain is (BAD).
But, even with rain and engine failures, the event visuals, spitfires, cars, racing and friends, GOODWOOD is definitely very, very GOOD.
Just a short note to bring you up to date with the latest round of the AFJA Championship for 2017. Round 6 was held at Wakefield Park on the 2nd and 3rd of September. It was still rather cool at that time of year and the track was quite cold and slippery, although the weather stayed fine for the majority of the weekend. During our last race on Sunday a howling gale developed that brought clouds of dust and spots of rain making the track very slippery and threatening to blow us all into the next postcode, but we survived somehow.
The juniors of David Reid (Cooper T59), Robert Buckley (Golford) and Noel Bryen (Rennmax) joined a mixed field of L, M and Vee racing cars to form a grid of about 20. Track time was generous with qualifying and two races on Saturday, and another two races on Sunday and each race was at least 8 laps long. Jamie Larner also joined us in Frank Hook’s F3 Cooper from Group O, which was good because Group O was mixed with Q&R cars which would have monstered the little Cooper.
The meeting went very well with no bingles or offs, just the usual mechanical failures. Surprisingly, this was Rob Buckley’s first visit to Wakefield and he spent Friday familiarising himself with the track, in between sorting out an annoying oil leak from the rocker cover. A cracked gasket was the culprit but it made an awful mess of the hardware and his garage floor before it was sorted.
The other incident worth noting was when David was interrupted by a passer by whilst refuelling. As is David’s want, he became absorbed in the finer points of the Cooper and by the time the visitor left he had forgotten what he was doing and the filler cap wasn’t returned to its proper place. As you may know, the fuel tank in the Cooper is at the very pointy end of the car and for some reason David decided to fill the tank right up. Consequently, on the warm up lap of the ensuing race, the floor of the car became engulfed in fuel and by the time he arrived at the fish hook, it had found its way to the rear wheels and an embarrassing spin was the result. Fortunately, everyone avoided the incident and no damage was done, other than pride of course.
The racing was great fun and quite furious in places. I had decided to put some extra padding in the seat of the Rennmax to try and alleviate the usual sore spots and it felt quite good until I started to drive the car. The extra half inch pushed me forward and up, so that I couldn’t heel/toe or get my hands between my thighs and the steering wheel. The car was virtually un-driveable when we went out for qualifying, but fortunately I still managed to grab pole, albeit a second off my normal pace. Needless to say, the extra padding went straight into the bin as soon as qualifying ended. During the first race I managed to spin on the second lap at the corner going up the hill. I could blame cold tyres and a dirty track, but I just went in too fast in the excitement of leading. I had some fun making my way back through the pack to eventually take third, which made for an interesting couple of laps in the following race until I regained the lead. I was also quite chuffed to be awarded driver of the meeting, as judged by the commentators.
The results are detailed below:
1963 Rennmax BN-1
1962 Cooper T59
The overall results after round 6 are also detailed below:
1963 Rennmax B-1
1961 Lotus 20/22
1960 Gemini Mk11
1962 Cooper T59
1961 Lotus 20B
1962 Brabham BT2
The final round for the year will be held at Eastern Creek aka Sydney Motorsport Park, on the weekend of 11/12 November which, stupidly enough, is the same weekend as Historic Sandown and Noosa Hillclimb! Please, don’t go to Sandown or Noosa, we need you at the Creek!