I promise not to mention the dreaded word COVID-19 in this update. Oops, I already have – my apologies, but there appears to be no avoiding it. We have managed one race meeting only, and we were very lucky to get that one in. This was the annual historic classic at Phillip Island and also the first round of the AFJA championship. We boasted 7 Juniors, the best turnout for a while and 2020 was starting to look really good. There were 5 (yes, five!) Lotus 18s, (Kim Shearn, John Rowe, Grant Walker, Paul Faulkner and Steve Moody), Robert Nitschke in his Elfin, Max Pegram (Gemini Mk11) and myself in the Rennmax. Congratulations to John Rowe for most distance travelled, all the way from Perth. A photo is enclosed showing the grid for the last race of the weekend with the Rennmax sandwiched between two fat Brabhams, with Kim Shearn and Grant Walker in their 18s.
The racing was great fun, and there were no major catastrophes, although Steve Moody retired early with what appeared to be a “floating” camshaft that was upsetting both valve and ignition timing that will necessitate a rebuild. Grant Walker also suffered from the usual gremlins that creep into a new car as it is being sorted, but certainly made good progress over the weekend. Max Pegram chose to play with similar front engined cars to his Gemini and raced with Group L for the weekend, and he had a good time once the wet weather cleared on the Friday.
A lot has changed in our daily routines since the halcyon days of March 6/7/8 when we were at Phillip Island and it is hard to believe it was only 3 weeks ago.
To put it into perspective, we had a field of 40 or so M&O sports and racing cars at Phillip Island and 2 weeks later at Wakefield Park, there was a field of 2, neither of which was a Formula Junior. The entry list at Wakefield at one stage had nearly 150, but by the time the race meeting started it was less than 80. I feel sorry for the HSRCA – the meeting ran at a huge loss. Since then, Winton, Mallala and Eastern Creek have all been cancelled.
At this stage, the next meeting will be at Morgan Park in early July, but who knows whether or not it will go ahead. It is a fantastic meeting and I haven’t missed it for the past 6 years or so, but the question on my mind right now is – to book or not to book accommodation!
So, all I can suggest is to do a refresh on your engine if it is due, fix all of the little things that have been bugging you and stay fit and healthy.
The pointscore after our fist round is shown below.
As Kim mentions below, I will send the details out shortly for the AGM which will be held at Phillip Island. We book a house for the duration and the intent will be to have the AGM on the Friday night over a BBQ and a few refreshing drinks of your choice. But more on that later.
I have also included an extraction from a conversation Kim had with his local Hoosier tyre agent. They are having a special on Formula Vee tyres which are the Vintage TD compound. The Vintage TD is on the Group M tyre list, so if you want to get your car out on the track for a run, the Hoosier could be a cost effective option. If you entered your car as Group M rather than FJ, then you should be legal. However, for FJ only races, you would need the regulation Dunlop.
A message from our President:
Well, another year passes and thoughts turn to what lies ahead. Each one of us has their own challenges, however, I really hope more of us can gather together at some race meetings this year.
The magic happens when like-minded people meet, talk and swap war stories with each other. Last year alone, we had members travelling far and wide including Antarctica, New Zealand, Denmark, not to mention the UK and numerous other European countries. All have great Formula Junior tales (except maybe Antarctica!) Some are even true, but most include terrific fun, with exploits abroad and at home too.
Most members say it’s the people as well as the racing that attracts them. If that is the case, I sometimes wonder why more folk don’t race, or at least attend meetings, more often so any feedback would be more than welcome.
My absence overseas each year continues to have me believe that another member of your choice may be better positioned to further our cause and re-invigorate our group. How about it? Anyone prepared to take over the reins from the AGM which will be held at Phillip Island in March?
Location and time details, voting slips, an agenda and previous minutes will be circulated in due course by our untiring Secretary, Noel Bryen.
Please give thought and voice as to how we can enhance what is a truly unique and special group of historic racing enthusiasts…FORMULA JUNIOR.
Thank you for the chat on the phone this morning.
Following our conversation we have a special on our Formula Vee tyres which will work on Formula Juniors.
We are having a sale of these tyres at $450+ per set!
The compound/tyre range is our Vintage T.D. which has received amazing success around the world in both wet and dry conditions.
I understand that the current tyres you are using are Dunlop 4.50-15 Front and 5.00-15 Rear.
Our FV rear is very close to the 4.50-15, we also have a 5.00-15.
So, other options may be the following:
FV front & 5.00-15 rear = $980+ / set
FV Rear (on front) & 5.00-15 rear = $988+ / set
The specs on the tyres are as follows:
Please note, the measurement of tread width is quite subjective.
Measured Rim also affects the section width.
Therefore when comparing to other tyres it may not be an accurate comparison.
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!