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MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (4)

On the road south towards Mid Ohio, we got lots of messages of GOOD NEWS!

After a couple of days in hospital, Ed Moore of the Mosport crashed Cooper, is expected to make a complete recovery, despite a small skull fracture. Even better news is that the Chassis plate that was ripped off in the colossal prang has been found in the long grass by a search party led by Duncan Rabagliati. It was spotted by David (no wonder I can’t get away with anything at home) Kent’s missus, Leslie. Pity she can’t find us a cold beer when we ask for it. The plate was badly damaged and half worn away, but enough of the important stampings are there to maintain the cars’ important historic significance.

Even more good news is that, after closer inspection, Nigel Hunter’s pretty Sadler is indeed repairable. Work has begun!

David Watkins’ Elfin and Marty Bullock’s Lotus 27 are getting fresh spare engines. Bruce Edgars’ Elfin is hoping for a new gearbox, John Rowe (Lotus 18) and David Kent (Lynx) and Peter Boel (Panther) are trying to get their engines rebuilt. Lance Carwardine’s Lynx is getting a couple of new driveshafts turned and, so he doesn’t look useless and lazy, Bill Hemming is also working 24/7 fitting a 20 cent clip to his distributor on the Tojeiro. Neil McCrudden is doing sweet bugger all to his sweet running Lotus 22.

Lucky we’ve got 3 days between race tracks.

It’s always a joy crossing from Canada to the USA, especially in a foreign registered right hand drive vehicle. Bill’s Fiat van/motorhome/transporter totally threw America’s finest at the gate. “You can’t bring that to the US (but sir, – which is how you address a 6’3” American carrying a gun – I came from the US). What’s that? Another car in the back! You can’t do that! You’ll have to go INSIDE!”

After 2 hours INSIDE, watching 12 people all with guns and bullet proof vests doing nothing but talk to each other, Bill was summonsed to counter 13 (counters 1 to 12 were vacant) and a man with a gun asked about the van and the car with right hand drive. The photo of the Tojeiro (with middle drive) totally threw him and he had trouble matching the paperwork for the van to the car. In the end, he got so much documentation that he guessed someone else had approved everything and we were on our way.

With bureaucrats like this, Trump is a sure thing to Make America Great Again! At least they all apparently had sufficient IQ to be allowed to pack a weapon. Scary! Reminds us of the story where a guy walks into a crowded bar waving his pistol around yelling “I’ve got a 45 Colt with 7 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the barrel, and I want to know who’s been sleeping with my wife!”. A voice at the back of the bar responds “you’re going to need more ammo!”

We arrived Mid Week at the beautiful Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in various states of disrepair. Peter’s Panther and David Kent’s Lynx were non-starters, David Watkins’ Elfin had its spare engine fitted, Marty’s Lotus had 2 new drive shafts that didn’t quite fit and John’s Lotus had an out-of-body gearbox with new seals. Both Marty and John got things together for Thursday practice.

For private testing on Wednesday, Neil McCrudden made a magnanimous offer to non-runners David Kent, Peter Boel and Nigel Russell to have a session each in his Lotus. Just to say they’d driven Mid Ohio. This came to nothing when the three mechanical cripples weren’t allowed on the track without a full entry fee. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

Another bloody tornado warning, just in time for our first practice session at 8.30am. We managed to start in light rain and slithered around the track to get a time. Just as well because racing was cancelled for the rest of the day. Tony Olissoff from NZ was fastest by seconds in his front wheel drive Emeryson Elfin. Marty was 3rd, Bruce 4th, David Watkins 6th, Bill 7th, Neil 12th, John 16th and Lance 17th after he forgot to bleed his rear brakes when he changed his stub axles. Then back to our vans, motorhomes, motels for the rest of a miserably wet day.

Camp at Mid Ohio.jpg

Not everyone went out in the wet practice session. At Indy, we saw winners get a celebratory drink of milk. At Indy, they have a special brand of milk for those who don’t go out in the wet.

Homo milk Mid Ohio.jpg

Saturday morning saw beautiful weather and all 26 Juniors braved the sunshine for Qualifying and for Race 1 mid afternoon. Marty (Lotus 27) started 3rd but finished his customary second when the pole sitting Stanguellini didn’t front up. Neil McCrudden (Lotus 22) started 11th and finished 7th, Lance (Lynx) went from 12th to 8th, Bruce (Elfin) jumped from 14th to 10th, Bill (Tojeiro) 18th to 15th, David (Elfin) was still having intermittent oil feed issues but improved from 21st to 17th and John Rowe (Lotus 18) from 26th to 20th. A great race on a great circuit.

Saturday night was another dinner party. They seem to have as many free food parties as they have tornados.

Our final race for this leg of the North America Diamond Jubilee tour was on Sunday. Only 1 Aussie car (David Kent’s Lynx) didn’t make the grid.

Peter Boel was so Pissed off his Pretty Pink Panther was Pathetically, and seemingly Permanently Placed in Park mode, that he succumbed to Peer Pressure, Picked up some Parts and Pampered his Pet to Perform one last time. Putting his Panther on the start line didn’t Panic the other Peddlers because after 3 laps the Panther Panted Phew and Pulled off totally Phucked. Poor Peter.

The rest of us fared a lot better, except for Bruce’s Elfin which lost its clutch at the half way mark. The only other non finisher was Tony “Pissedoff” Olissoff when his fantastically quick, and quickly driven, front wheel drive Emeryson Elfin broke its accelerator cable on the start line.

The rear engine Stanguellini missed the 1st race with a broken camshaft, but an overnight engine rebuild saw Joe Colasacco start from 12th and drove like a demon to be second to Greg Thornton in his quick Lotus 22 – until the last lap – when Greg put up his hand to acknowledge a stationary yellow flag and slowed. Joe zipped through to claim the chequer. Apparently passing under a yellow is allowed here.

Marty again mounted the podium for 3rd. David (Elfin) stormed through the field from 15th to finish 6th. Lance (Lynx) came in 9th, just holding out Neil (Lotus 22) in 10th and Bill (Tojeiro) finished 16th and John (Lotus 18) 20th.

Racing over, we trooped off to a terrific steakhouse for a wet, wild celebration.

That’s it for this leg. It’s been wonderful racing on great tracks with great people and cars. Packed up, some headed west for Laguna Seca in a few weeks, the rest headed East to park up at GMT Racing for repairs or storage until we return for Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and Road America in September.

It’s been fun! Bill Hemming

Newsflash 12/7/2017

Hello everyone,

I thought I could be the one to report on this last weekend at Morgan Park, as I wanted to take my new campervan on a journey out there to see what was happening with Formula Junior Racing for myself…….and of course to let you all know…..and I am so very happy I did!

David Reid not only saved me a parking spot for my arrival on Saturday, but very kindly left me a ticket at the gate, so when I asked the very nice man for it, his face lit up and he gave me the most wonderful welcome!  The occupants of the car behind me shouted for this lovely man to hurry up, and his reply was ….’I can’t, I have Royalty here’!  I realised in an instant how much Roger was loved by all.

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Some of the “Support Team” watching the action – Joan Wright, Robyn Bryen, Jill Armstrong and Margaret Ealand.

The brilliant winter sunshine and very blue skies was just perfect, not only for racing but camping in the pits, (such a fun part of motor racing) but of course most of us know that any circuit that starts with a W, is freezing at night in winter the moment the sun goes down…..ie Winton, Wakefield Park & Warwick!  However this only meant that fun was had around the blazing fire that Mike & Maggie Goodfellow had going outside their tent, whilst others had the wine flowing, some had heaters, electric blankets and hot water bottles like myself!  All part of motor racing, which I always loved, with everyone happy and enjoying themselves.

IMG_0297Not a lot of Formula Juniors at this 40th Historic Queensland event, with quite a few overseas, however there were enough Historic Cars in three Groups to be able to have four exciting races over the two days…so great fun was had.  I have to say here that our very own Secretary, Noel Bryen was flying! He broke the FJ lap record on Saturday afternoon, then last race on Sunday he broke it again!  Well done Noel, congratulations!

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Viv Buckley making sure Rob’s bow tie is straight before one of his races.

Before I leave a bit of room for Noel Bryen to tell you about cars and racing, I would just like to finish by saying how wonderful it was for me to be back in the environment I am so familiar with and to have such lovely hugs from friends we made over the years.  I am grateful to still be a part of the Formula Junior family, even if it is only to get some reports to you all, which I hope you are enjoying.

My best wishes,

margaret.ealand@gmail.com

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David Reid sampling his second place trophy.

Thanks Margaret, it’s great to have a non-racing perspective of our race meetings, as we tend to get so involved with the track action that the social side is sometimes taken for granted.  However, without the support of our “other halves” life in the pits would be just that – the pits.

For this meeting the mix was Groups L, M and V which formed an 18 car grid with the 4 Juniors of David Reid (Cooper T59), Rob Buckley (Golford), Geoff Fry (Jolus) and myself in the Rennmax.  The other Group M car was Geoff Varey in his Elfin Mono.  Allan Conway had entered his “new” BT15 F3 Brabham, but gremlins prevented him from making the start line.  Bill Norman would have been competing in his Lynx, but unfortunately he sold it to the UK, so another Aussie icon leaves our shores – not Bill, the Lynx!  Bill was there in his RALT RT4, playing in the “big league” and went very well, running second all weekend to the much later RALT of Chris Farrell.

The Rennmax was sporting a fresh engine (with a couple of new fast bits) courtesy of Superior Auto, and new tyres, thanks to Tony Simmons, so I didn’t have any excuses not to be at the pointy end of the field.  Fortunately, everything went well and the car improved all weekend and I was really pleased with how well we both went.  I am now totally pain free with two new hips and it is just amazing how much easier life has become!

For this year, instead of having one trophy race on Sunday, the HRCC awarded points over each of the 4 races to determine the winners, which was a good idea as it rewarded consistency and improvement.  This worked well for David Reid who had a great time in the Cooper and really enjoyed himself to take second in Group M overall.  It didn’t work so well for Rob Buckley who had a bit of an off around the back of the circuit during the main race, when he put a wheel or two off the black stuff and the soft edges sent him spinning across the circuit.  I remember coming around shortly after to find a witches hat right on the apex and dirt across the remaining part of the line, but fortunately the yellows did their job and Rob and car were both OK. 

Unfortunately for Geoff Fry, he had trouble selecting second gear all weekend and eventually battled on without it, which didn’t make for a very competitive car, but it was good to see that he never gave up trying and finished all of his races.  Well done Geoff.

The points score after 5 rounds now looks like this:

NAMESTATECarClassPhillip IslandWakefieldMallalaWinton ShortMorgan PkTOTAL
Noel BryenNSW1963 Rennmax B-1FJ2R403230040142
Kim ShearnVIC1961 Lotus 20/22FJ2R2818280074
Bill HemmingVIC1962 ElfinFJ1R040300070
Geoff FryNSW1961 JolusFJ1R000303464
Max PegramVIC1960 Gemini Mk11FJ1F400022062
Bill NormanNSW1961 LynxFJ2R04000040
John MedleyNSW1959 NotaFJ1F240015039
David ReidQLD1962 Cooper T59FJ2R00003232
Robert BuckleyQLD1963 GolfordFJ1R00003131
David HardmanVIC1959 StanguelliniFJ1F00030030
Murray BrydenVIC1961 Lotus 20BFJ2R00030030
Wayne HockingSA1964 TADFJ1R00190019
Grant CraftQLD1962 Brabham BT2FJ2R17000017
Dick WillisNSW1962 AusperFJ1R010001

I hope to see you at Wakefield Park on the first weekend in September.

Regards,

Noel Bryen

AFJA Europe

Well, while Bill Hemming, MARTY, Lance, Bruce and others are relishing Indy, the poor folk are in Europe once more.

Though everyone has their own selection of “must do” tracks ( Yes, there really is a choice over here on any weekend) we have/will race at MOST in Czech, about 100 K’s North of Prague, then Dijon, Cadwell Park and then on to Brands Hatch.

Three Aussies at MOST. Myself, Nicholas Daunt and John Gillett in his superb K 3 MG. Spectacular track with some elevation and ideal for Juniors. Whilst I was running the Penny Ford F3, I was invited to run with the Juniors which made it great fun for me. Though none of us were at the pointy end, it’s fair to say we had a great weekend with no major dramas. Nick’s car ran faultlessly in both races and, except for a sticking throttle, so did mine.

Czech is still a quite cheap place to visit with good food and wine… And you guessed it, shops for Marie. Sometime this year she is planning on watching a race – just for novelty, you understand! 

The circuit owner only purchased the track a couple of years ago and has poured money into the facilities etc. and it is now of a high standard. Naturally, he also owns the 13th century castle in the highest hill overlooking the town. On Saturday night he invited a few hundred of us for dinner – we went, just to be friendly – right?

We spent the next couple of weeks with friends in the South of France and also hopped over to Corsica for 5 days – outstanding place. Unique scenery the likes of which I haven’t seen become and again, naturally, superb food. Then it was on to Dijon….

A circuit I look forward to each year – fast and flowing. Remember the epic Ferrari battle? Qualy saw me a lowly 26 of 35 with Nicholas Daunt not far in arrears. Peter Barclay did Qualy, but was a reserve in race one as they only start 35 cars and his was a late entry. I made a few tweaks with Iain Rowley’s advice and improved in race 1 by 2+ seconds. Nick’s bonnet flew open on lap one, so that was the end of his race sadly. Sunday, race2. Hot, temp over 30, blue skies and start at 3:00 PM… The hottest!!! Peter Barclay for a start along with Nicholas and myself. Peter’s Barclay’s Brabham ran well and he drove it we’ll to be first in the F3 class. Due to consistency (being start and finishing two races) I picked up a class win.

Scotty Taylor and Wayne Wilson were also at Dijon. Wayne nipped up an engine but is carrying a spare so all is well. Scotty continues to entertain all and sundry a he moves around with the HGPCA circuit in UK and Europe.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ZSgHdwdwNGhIIwNyR-_oBAlVio16s-kfXIWggUwkIVqr7Bplg70lOmU-7ubMQqq3cKak9AsWOTIRc_iLOdPpf4ze42kYXKgr_maxwhBXoGW9skjiVbcLlCg3cUvwN44_nAs0cA=w1124-h843-no

Dijon FJ paddock at dusk.  Each truck holds 4 to 6 cars.  About half the FJs use them.

Now it’s off to Cadwell Park next weekend after a couple more days touring Northern France. It’s tough, but we’ll just keep pressing on….

Cheers,

Kim Shearn

President AFJA

June 12, 2017

MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

(2nd instalment  11/6/17)

All the Aussie FJ’s arrived at GMT Racing headquarters and vaguely made race ready for the first event at Indianapolis from 7th to 11th of June. The one big issue in touring through the US is transport of the race cars.

In the past we have hired big 6 car transporters, complete with driver, at a cost of about $15,000 for a few weeks. This group of tight-arsed ANZACS are trying several “cheaper” methods. David Watkins (Elfin plus wife) sent over from Perth – via Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand –  his converted Merc Van with  flash living quarters and room for the car, and is doing it easy. Bill Hemming (Tojeiro minus wife) brought his ex Roger Ealand van over from the UK with un-flash living quarters and room for the car. He’s happy farting around (literally) in his own company. Marty Bullock and David Innes imported David’s extra flash UK motor mansion and a 2 car trailer for their Lotus 27 and ex Boel Lola. Unfortunately, the mighty motor home wouldn’t motor, so they have hired a truck to sleep in and tow the trailer. They’ve gone from 5 stars to 5 seashells! Lance Carwardine convinced the yanks that his  West Australian Truck Licence was OK for an articulated lorry, and he, Peter Boel, Bruce Edgar, David Kent and John Rowe threw their cars (Lynx, Panther, Elfin, Lynx and Lotus 18) into a huge rig they hired for $2 a mile. The prime mover has a living area of sorts and 3 of them are air mattressing. John Rowe wisely chose to travel with David Kent (plus wife) in the most sensible outfit…a hired motor home. Tony Olissof (Emeryson Elfin) brought his much travelled yellow transit van over from NZ via Los Angeles to join us at the circuit.

After a 13 hour drive from Connecticut, we all parked up at the HUGE Indy complex and drove in under the banner… “THE RACING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD”…a slogan obviously penned by Donald Trumps’ twitter writer. But I guess when you consider that the Indy 500 pulls over 300,000 paying spectators, and has hosted Formula 1, Moto GP and weekly race meeting, the claim may actually be justified. A visit to the fabulous Indy Museum (in the grounds) certainly reinforces the sensational history of the place. And driving onto the track through the famous “Gasolene Alley” was a buzz.

(gasolene alley entry.jpg)

On to the track for a Test Day (2 x 15 minute sessions for only $295!) had us all in awe of the complexity of the layout. Three 90 degree corners at the end of very long fast straights, two chicane sections, and two diversions onto the banked oval track make for very hard work. Half of us loved it, and half hated it. And half of the hating half stuffed it up completely. David Kent’s (Lynx) expensive new motor destroyed a push rod – out for the weekend, Bruce Edgar (Elfin) broke a valve – repaired for the weekend, John Rowe (Lotus) ran his bearings – his weak end buggered his weekend.

Friday practice saw Marty Bullock (ex Glynn Scott Lotus 27) show ‘em what Aussies can do with a great 2nd fastest time behind Professional Champion Driver Joe Colasacco in his gorgeous rear-engined Stanguellini. Joe and this car have been unbeatable for years. David Watkins was great with a 6th in his drum braked Elfin, Bill Hemming (Tojeiro) was a surprising 10th, Lance Carwardine (Lynx), 11th, Bruce Edgar (Elfin) cruised in 13th, John Rowe (Lotus 18) limped his sick car for a few laps for 16th and Peter Boel (Panther) pulled in 19th.

At Indy, they have 2 Qualifying sessions, 1 Qualifying Race and 1 final “championship” race. No, we didn’t understand the system, and no one could explain it to us, but grids were set based on fastest lap time so I guess everything before the final race is “qualifying”. Anyway, who are we to argue with “THE RACING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD’.

Qualy 1 confirmed Marty at 2nd and David at 6th. Bill dropped to 13th, Bruce to 15th, Peter 16th, and John’s big end ended after 1 lap.

For the “qualifying race” Marty changed his ratios and while he was just beaten to the flag by the Stanguellini, he set a quickest lap! David and Bruce brought their Elfins home in a great 6th and 7th, Bill got 12th and Pete’s Panther 16th.

Saturday night and the circuit put on a big party. It was Bill’s birthday and he thought they did it just for him. Apparently not. But a few rugged Australians were among the last table to leave, and in our emotional state, thought it would be a good idea to jump the fence and do the time honoured tradition of “kissing the bricks” (Winners of the Indy 500 kiss the strip of original bricks left at the start/finish line from the days of yore when the Indy Brickyard was completely paved with bricks.

(Kissing Indy 1.jpg)

Problem was, we looked like a line up of Muslims praying to Mecca, and we were a tad nervous The Donald might deport us if seen. So we drunkenly stood up and climbed onto the winners dais to pose in front of another understated slogan “THE WORLD’S GREATEST SPECTACLE”.

(indy drivers.jpg)

Then back over the fence and hide in our RV’s. The world’s greatest riff raff strikes again.

Not to be outdone, Margaret Ealand has sent us a photo of Roger in his Lotus 18, crossing the “Brickyard” strip when he came 2nd in his last ever race in 2015. He might be gone, but his media presence continues to haunt us!

(Roger at Indy.jpg)

On the Sunday, there was only one race for us, but it was billed as the Championship Race.

Once again, Marty drove his butt off to a fine 2nd place. David made a habit of coming 6th (and second in class for drum braked cars), Bruce’s Elfin was 9th, Bill 12th and Peter 15th.

Trophies were presented by Jennifer Revson. Jennifer was sister to the late, great Peter Revson who had a distinguished career in Formula Junior before moving onto to Trans Am, Can Am Sports Cars, Indianapolis and Formula 1 before tragically being killed testing at Kyalami for the 1974 South African Grand Prix .Peter was interred in a crypt in New York with his brother Douglas who was killed in a racing accident in Denmark in 1967. Revson’s replacement at Shadows F1, Tom Pryce was also killed at Kyalami in 1977.This is all a bit ghoulish, but we’d like to think that Roger, Peter, Douglas and Tom are up there looking down on us remembering them.

(indy jennifer revson.jpg)

We’re now off to Mosport in Canada, just outside Toronto. Another famous track steeped in history.

What a life….where else could you have a fabulous weekend by providing THE WORLDS GREATEST SPECTACLE in a CHAMPIONSHIP RACE at the RACING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!   

From Martin Bullock:

“The WA boys, who are running, all did very well Bruce went very well, Watto came second in class and got on the podium and I came second in class and overall after an epic battle with a beautiful and very rare Stangalini owned by a Billionare. Unfortunately he got the better of me and put in a very fast lap towards the end as my tyres overheated and I dropped off the pace. 

Dave and I got to have a very special moment on the proper podium at Indy and received the traditional bottle of milk. We got to keep the bottles so very special. My replacement engine is now with JR so need to get to Mosport early to put it in. Also need to get to laundromat to wash filthy clothes and maybe a motel to have a break from living in the back of a box van.
Very hot here so looking forward to some cooler weather about 500 miles north.”

Historic Winton. May 2017

Formula Juniors @ Historic Winton. May 2017.

The week-end of 26-27th May saw the 41st year of this great event. There is possibly no other Australian event that brings out a bigger entry of Classic Historic racecars and also Motor Bikes. It’s worth noting that not too many years ago our great friend and FJ mentor Roger Ealand, not only entered one of his race cars, but to the surprise of many appeared from his campervan with Margaret stuffing him into a full set of leathers only to jump on a racing bike and off to take on the 2 wheeled field.

Formula Junior was represented by a small group, 3 Rear Engined cars who ran with M & O  Sports & Racing and 3 Front Engined cars, who competed with Lb racing.

Murray Bryden in his Lotus 22, Geoff Fry in the Jolus FJ and Frank Hooks Cooper T76 , in reality an F2 car , but is 99% Formula Junior, and was driven by Jamie Larner. Over the week-end the Cooper was clearly quicker in the M & O field, slowed only by a concrete wall.  Murray Bryden followed back in the field with small teething issues then Geoff in the Jolus further back , hoping the fencing wire clutch system held together.

In Front Engined cars , stalwart John medley in the Nota, David Hardman in Norm Faulkner’s Stanguellini, and Max Pegram in the Gemini-Ford Mk. II, took on a big field of Lb racers. The 3 ran mid field over the event, with young Hardman leading the way showing the potential of Norms  beautiful Stanguellini. Over the week-end the Gemini was able to get in a PB trying to catch the Stang, while Johns Nota was always close behind.

Of interest was ex FJ owner , Mike Gosbell’s new car, the Sabakat Special. Its a very early Lotus, 1957, with a 1500cc Coventry engine. Although not a FJ is shows exactly where the next few years where heading.  The story of how this car came to Australia in a crop duster aircraft disguised as ” spare plane parts ”  is well worth reading up on.

With some of our FJs and owners currently in the US then heading to UK and Europe, it was obvious that entries would be down. However we really need to get more FJs onto grids here. Having just competed in the NZ leg of the Formula Junior Jubilee and experience the interest and atmosphere our cars create , its up to us to get more of our great little car onto the tracks.

Max Pegram