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
My apologies for the final report being a little late this year – the Christmas holidays interrupted things a little.
The final pointscore is attached with the winners of the three perpetual trophies being:
The Leo Geoghegan Trophy – Noel Bryen
The Aussie Car Trophy – Rob Buckley
The Nereo Dizane One Litre F3 Trophy – Allan Conway.
Hopefully, now that the Diamond Jubilee has finally completed we will have some more competition for 2019, which kicks off at Phillip Island in March. We will also hold the AGM at Phillip Island and details will follow as we get closer to the event. I am open to suggestions for the racing calendar for 2019 and the list below is just a suggestion at this stage. I am pretty sure that the Sandgropers intend to have a dual event one week apart at Barbagallo and the new track further south sometime in 2019, but I don’t have a confirmation of which month. So, a very draft calendar based on what we did this year is:
Round 1 – Phillip Island – March
Round 2 – Wakefield Park – April
Round 3 – Mallala – Easter
Round 4 – Winton Short – May
Round 5 – Morgan Park – July
Round 6 – Winton Long – August
Round 7 – Wakefield Park – September
Round 8 – Eastern Creek – November.
Please, let me know your thoughts.
Enclosed is a note from Rob Buckley, who is selling his lovely Aussie Special, the Golford. A very affordable racing car for someone wanting to get into historic motor sport.
Also enclosed is the AFJA renewal form for 2019. The joining fee is still only $50 and don’t forget, we are a CAMS affiliated Association, which means that this is the only club you need to join in order to go racing!
My apologies for not writing sooner, but things have been a bit hectic since my return from racing overseas. And what a time it was! Five race meetings over five weekends in five different countries. That was only the start as several meetings followed them a month or two later. The Baltic Series for the Diamond Jubilee (In Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden) was a huge success and Aussies, as well as the Kiwis featured well up in most, if not all events. My memory forbids me from mentioning a few in fear of leaving out many. Suffice is to say the Marty Bullock was our outstanding representative winning several sectors of the Jubilee and a number of individual races along the way.
Our trusty motorhome travelled around 10,000 K’s this year in only a few months and “Joyce” was super reliable as usual. Some terrific camping spots were found with Bill Hemming and his wife Deb… and some crappy ones too! The pleasure of camping in the paddock at meetings was again reinforced as a most enjoyable way to go motor racing. Why don’t more circuits allow it here at no cost? Surely it would help to increase their number of entries? It seems to me that promoters don’t take into account the TOTAL cost of entering their meetings and may be well advised to re-think the overall cost to competitors.
Back home, things moved along with mediocre support from our group. We continue to struggle to get enough cars out at any one time to fill a grid, so the Wakefield Park meeting was encouraging and seems to be our best opportunity to have an FJ only race. We’ll do it again next year, so be sure to place that one on your calendar when planning ahead. Those who attended one or both Winton meetings were rewarded with some good racing at this Junior friendly circuit. Phillip Island is back on for us next year so that is also one for your diary.
Meanwhile, Sandown and Eastern Creek are looming and will be quite well attended by various “Juniors” so if its not too late, your entry will see even stronger participation of Formula Juniors. I view these meetings as important for us as they offer an excellent opportunity to showcase our cars and their true worth in the Historic Racing scene. Make sure your car is included! We are one of the few classes that race truly original cars and that must also enhance their monetary value as well as their appeal to spectators. Is it important to you to protect your asset’s value….I think it is…your thoughts?
FORTHCOMING NEW ZEALAND TOUR
Four cars from the Eastern States are currently booked for the New Zealand tour on the South Island run from February 1st, 2019 through to February 17, 2019…. three race meetings over three consecutive weekends. THERE’S STILL ROOM FOR TWO MORE IF YOU’RE QUICK! CALL ME ON 0418 335 385 if you are interested. each meeting entry is only about AU$275, International freight circa $1250 and local cartage in NZ to be advised, but will be reasonable, judging on past experience. The Kiwis really look after us and put on good ól time race meetings that are super enjoyable. Eight cars are also coming from the UK so along with 18 locals they will be fantastic events for sure. Cheap motels along the way (many for AU$75-80) and wonderful sights to see in between each meeting. In total, you’ll drive less than a thousand Klms from, and back to, Christchurch, so it’s a great holiday too!
The European championships for both front and rear engine cars completed last weekend and the results, for those who are interested, will be announced soon. They include the Lurani FIA championship, that is run in several countries around Europe and the Silverline front engine championship that is based primarily in the UK.
NEXT YEAR’S CALENDAR
Locally, I would like to hear from any members regarding the structure and location for our next year’s championship as now is the time to lock in any alternative venues or events that appear popular among our racing members. We can vary things if numbers are strong enough and it is about trying to please as many as possible. Naturally, we can’t always satisfy everyone’s individual requests, but I’ll certainly endeavour to make the meetings as accessible and as cost affective I can.
NEWSLETTER…. FREE OFFER!
On another note, it would be fantastic if anyone has photos of our cars and especially our members, at recent race meetings. If you could forward these to Noel Bryen it will be pleasing to circulate them to our membership in the forthcoming newsletter. Should any of you have any news of interest, a car or trailer for sale or even spare parts, now is the time to let us know, preferably with a photo and we’ll publish it free of charge to the membership at large.
Please find below a report from Danny Ciarma on our recent round at Morgan Park in July. Great fun as usual.
Morgan Park is a fantastic track and what a fantastic event the HRCC put on over the weekend. There were just under 300 cars entered and the events still seemed to unfold seamlessly.
The mornings were very cold at -5 deg but the days warmed up to the low twenties, clear blue sky and lots of sun – great weather for racing, cold air and dry track, however very slippery, maybe due to the cold temperatures or the new surface.
The weekend consisted of a qualifying session on sat morning followed by 4 races with the usual Friday practice. The M & O category had around 18 entries with three of them being Formula Juniors – and it was the three Juniors that made the races in this category exciting!
Up the front of the field was a three way battle between Noel Bryen in his Rennmax, Don Thallon in his MRC and me in the Lynx.
Don showed up on Sat morning just before qualifying and first session out posted the fastest lap time of 1:30.506, just in front of Noel Bryen who posted 1:30.653 and then myself at 1:31.124.
In race 1, Don lead all the way with a win posting the fastest time of 1:29.752, closely followed behind by Noel Bryen and then myself third. I don’t have footage of Race 1 as my gopro didn’t switch on, however I have great footage of the next three races, which are below.
In race 2, I managed to get the edge over Noel Bryen in the first turn and followed Don Thallon for the whole race whilst fighting off Noel from behind. To spice up the race, there was Faux Pas racing amongst us with a 2550cc engine capacity, which made for great dicing amongst our juniors. Don again posted the fastest lap time of the race with a 1:29.902.
Below is a link of the onboard footage from my junior – sorry the footage of the three next races is one dimensional given I was the only one with a camera, so you’ll have to just put up looking at me steering.
Noel Bryen got me back in race 3 by pipping me at turn 1. The race got interesting for me when I went too fast into 4 and came off but did a Dukes of Hazard style driving on the dirt to avoid the motor from stalling. Once back on the tar, I then had a lonely race for several laps until I finally caught up with Don, so somewhere along the way Noel managed to take the lead from Don. A couple of cars came off the track in the last and second last turns, which resulted in a localised yellow flag – this created a bit of a bottle neck with the stragglers as the front runners were lapping them. You’ll see on the footage below how Don got held up.
Noel took out first place with the fastest lap time of 1:29.797, Don second and myself third. See link to the footage below.
Race 4 was a fantastic race – the Faux Pas had gone home which left the three juniors to fight it out. Noel kept the lead off the grid into turn 1 but I managed to out pace Don to second place. That’s how the order finished however there was some great dicing along the way between Don and myself and then Noel and myself in the second leg of the race. Im told that the commentator got quite animated with this race calling, and im sure we would have been a great spectacle for the on lookers. I posted the fastest lap time of 1:29.346, which I owe to Jamie Larner for his tireless efforts in tweaking my car to get it to its utmost best. Below is the footage for those who are interested.
The weekend finished with Noel taking out the over all Group M first place, with Don second and myself third.
I try and post footage of most events I run in so please fill free to go to Australian Formula Junior Racing on Youtube to see all of the footage, but im really hoping that most of you get a gopro mounted on your car so that I can splice together the dicing to give those at home a front seat view of the action (and sometimes rear seat).
It was a fantastic weekend of racing and well worth the 16 hours over two days to get there and the same to get home, despite Jamie and I getting lost on a back road somewhere between Stanthorpe and Texas at dusk with hundreds of roos, I mean literally hundreds coming at us like missiles. We had to sit on 60k’s whilst continually tooting the horn for two hours! But it was all worth it. Now I cant wait to do it all again in a few weeks time at the Winton Festival of Speed.
I was recently reminded that AFJA news has been a bit thin on the ground in recent times, so this is a catch up on recent happenings and a reminder of what lies ahead for 2018.
The most recent event was held on the Winton long circuit during August and was conspicuous for the usual wet weather. Fortunately for me, work commitments prevented my attendance for Friday practice, as it rained all day and would have been a waste of effort.
Saturday morning wasn’t much better and qualifying was still wet. I hadn’t raced there for nearly 20 years and spent the first couple of laps remembering the scenery and managed to spin on what would have been my flying lap. After sloshing out of the mud I managed to get going again only to be presented with red flags as a result of Peter Strauss putting his Brabham Climax into the Armco at turn one. As a result, I qualified on the third row beside Danny Ciarma. We were the only 2 Juniors to qualify, although it was great to see Murray Bryden start in the first race at the rear of the grid in his Lotus 20. Fortunately for Peter Strauss, Jamie Larner was in attendance and managed to repair the rear suspension on the Brabham so that Peter could have some fun for the remainder of the weekend.
Our first race was dry and I made a good start, managing to out drag Danny on the outside to the first corner. Unfortunately for Danny, he locked up his fronts under braking, had nowhere to go on the inside and climbed over my left rear, launching his car over my roll bar with all 4 wheels off the ground. He landed on the front right, completely demolishing the corner, and so he was out for the weekend as a result. I sustained some minor body damage but was able to continue. Fortunately, neither of us was hurt and I now have lots of faith in my roll bar!! Murray came through from the rear and took maximum points for the race.
In the second race Murray had a DNF and didn’t compete in the last race so I can only imagine he was struck by gremlins of some sort. So, it was a quiet weekend from the FJ perspective, although I had some fun and enjoyed racing at Winton again after such a long break. Strangely enough, the motel we stayed in still had my old contact details in their system from 20 years ago. I couldn’t remember staying there – it was just a coincidence that I booked it. Small world!
Our next event is on the weekend of 22/23 September at Wakefield Park and is shaping up to be a good event. So far we have myself, Danny Ciarma (Jamie must have worked overtime to rebuild his car), Bill Hemming, Alan Conway, Jeff Brown, Jamie Larner and Rob Buckley. There is still plenty of room and the HSRCA will happily accept late entries (Robyn is involved in the acceptance process) so come along and have some fun. After Wakefield we have Sandown Park on November 10/11 and finally Eastern Creek (aka SMSP) on December 1 and 2.