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.
The three year celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Formula Junior has seen grids from several continents and dozens of countries cart their cars and crews for full grids to the UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, America, back to the UK and Europe and now we were off to do the Baltic Sector – three races in Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden.
The Australian representatives (now there’s a frightening thought) included Marty Bullock from Perth in his ex-Roger Ealand Wren (after being crashed into at Zolder the previous week in his rapid Lotus 27), Lance Carwardine also from Perth running the Lynx borrowed from the West Australian Racing Museum, Bill Hemming (Melbourne) in the “shit it’s not an Elfin” Tojeiro, David Kent from near Sydney in another Lynx, Neil McCrudden, Perth, with a Lotus 22, John Rowe again from Perth (must be a good place to get away from) in his Lotus 18, Brian Searles – Perth again – pedalling the West Australian Museum’s Pink Panther, Kim Shearn and Peter Strauss from Melbourne in their Lotus 22 and Brabham BT6 respectively, David Watkins – yes you guessed it – from Perth with an Elfin FJ, and I think we can include Noel Woodford from NZ (but at least he was born and bred in Brisbane) who was driving Kim’s PennyFord F3.
Fortunately there were enough other teams with 2 grids of at least 20 cars, to water down the effect of this motley crew of Aussies.
As with the rest of the world tour, the Baltic Sector was organised by the tireless King of Formula Junior, Duncan Rabagliati, and his brilliant daughter Sarah who was responsible for running the events and looking after the involved humans.
BIG KAHUNAS AT KAUNAS – LITHUANIA
There really is a race circuit in the middle of Lithuania which the Russians forgot to demolish when they left about 20 years ago. Mind you, someone looks like they tried to demolish the Nemuno Ziedas Circuit, boy was it ROUGH. Great undulating layout, but boy was it ROUGH.
The European Union has been splashing money from the rich members like Britain and Germany into the poorer countries like Lithuania and Latvia to try and build the economies and have a more level trading field (which is political speak for “let’s go to the lowest common denominator”). One of their brilliant grants was to give the local car club 3 Million Euros to resurface this circuit. Surprise, surprise…the Club treasurer pocketed the money and buggered off to South America to leave the crumbling circuit “as found”.
We were given a wonderful and descriptive Driver’s Briefing and driven/shown around the track.
“Here is where you will probably crash” we were told at one uphill, blind crown that was designed to throw you into the bank.
Well after qualifying a terrific 4th, David Kent probably crashed at THE spot in race 1 when his throttle jammed. And Neil McCrudden probably also crashed in race 2 at THE spot. Both cars were seriously damaged. David stripped the Lynx and will fly the chassis back to OZ to put on his jig, make a couple of new uprights and fly it all back to England to reassemble for his Goodwood Revival gig in a couple of months. Neil took up an offer from a local bunch of enthusiasts who reckoned they could straighten his car and body to try to make it the Latvia the following week.
Meanwhile, the rest of us bounced around the bumpy bitumen and in the final race on Sunday, Marty finished an excellent 4th, Peter Strauss 6th, Lance 8th, Bill 10th and Kim “I always make a great start” 11th after stuffing up the start. David’s Elfin ceased to proceed after half a lap.
Importantly, there was an all Australian podium in the Drum Braked class with Marty, Bill and John Rowe….Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…Oui, Oui, Oui!
Despite the ROUGH surface, it was a wonderful weekend and all the foreigners were treated like royalty. Lots of TV coverage and displays of our cars in the city square.
On the way to Latvia, we all stopped off for a Gala Dinner at the Zagare Palace. Sarah The Sensational actually lives in this village and runs FJ worldwide from her home office while mothering three very busy kids. Husband Saulis is an official guide and gave us a walking tour of this historic village before we dined at the Palace. There should probably be inverted commas around the word palace, but there was nothing un-spectacular about the feast of local goodies. The night was spoilt when Bill’s wife Deb got up and made a long, tedious speech where she apologised for not going to more race meetings, and told everyone how wonderful they were and she hoped to see them more often now she has seen the appeal of our trips. Perhaps Deb has finally seen the light and will yet fulfil her destiny to become a fixture as Bill’s Brolly Bitch and Battery Bimbo.
Next day, we drove to Riga.
PENILE ‘RIGA’ MORTIS – LATVIA
After Kaunas, the Bikernieki Curcuit was SMOOTH but still a bit daunting and fast. This drivers briefing and track tour also included “many people crash at this corner” plus a series of bends “when you crash here, it will be a big one”.
As it turned out, no one crashed. The only injuries were whiplash as we turned our heads to gaze at the magnificent derrieres on the suitably clad grid girls. Who would have thought that the term “arse about face” originated in Latvia.
In Sundays main race, Marty again showed us how to do it and came 3rd, Lance 7th, Kim 10th, Peter spun his way back to 11th, Bill 15th and Neil in his hastily repaired Lotus, 16th. The Davids (Kent and Watkins) sat it out with broken cars and engines.
This time, the Drum Brake Class podium had Marty and Bill split by an American…bloody Trump’s fault. But we still got a close encounter with the grid girls. We really shouldn’t go on and on about grid girls, but after the racing, they were a highlight of Riga, along with the Riga Motor Museum which was attached to the circuit. This is a world class museum that really needed a full day for a visit. Now that was Euro grants well spent.
The last night in Riga proved interesting for our South African mate, David Innes (driving the ex Peter Boel Lola) who went out on the town and, no doubt inspired by the grid girls, was harmlessly chatting to a Latvian lass in a bar, when her boyfriend belted him over the head with a bottle. The Police arrested the bottle basher and insisted on taking the bleeding (heart and head) Innes to hospital. For some strange reason, they took him to a dentist, who stitched him up while he sat in the dentists chair. Maybe they thought he suffered from acute “foot in mouth” condition.
Then onto the overnight ferry to Sweden.
FREEZING OUR BOLLOCKS OFF AT KARLSKOGA – SWEDEN
After a couple of days sightseeing around Stockholm (1 day too long), we took off for 2 hours to Karlskoga, to the Gellerasen Arena, the oldest track in Sweden.The drivers briefing advised that start was to be by flag…except it was when the flag was raised, ie as soon as it left the starters leg. Interesting.
A very, very tight track that created polarising opinions, great surface and facilities, but a circuit where you do not want rain!
So on Sunday race day it rained…and it rained…and it rained. But at least it was bitterly cold, so David Watkins who had suffered overheating problems was able to start and drove from the back of the grid to finish 7th. Peter Strauss lunched his new gearbox on Saturday and chose not to bother half fixing it, so didn’t start. Kim broke his front suspension arm (courtesy of the rough Lithuanian track) and belly flopped into the sand trap on Saturday. A new (old spare) arm got him back on the Sunday ice-skating rink. Marty slid his way around with the Wren to finish a fine 4th. The rest of us gently managed to stay afloat. No mean feat after the Saturday evening “Herring and Schnapps” education session where singing was optional but embraced.
At the trophy presentation, Marty and Bill picked up 1st and 2nd in the Drum braked class and Marty won the the major trophy for the whole Baltic sector.
So that was it for the 3 race Baltic Series. An absolutely fabulous experience where the Host countries and people were happily supportive and the organisation abilities of Formula Junior Grand Poobah, Duncan Rabagliati shone. Except for the very last day, we were blessed with great weather and even greater racing.
Half the team were going back to the UK to join over 120 Formula Juniors at Silverstone, which is the last race of the FJ 60th Jubilee three year programme – a super successful and massive undertaking. !
No other class of historic race cars can compete with the worldwide FJ program/circus so we should look forward to fostering strong support and growth of the category in Australia. Just like Formula 5000, there is terrific scope to mount an annual Tasman Series with New Zealand to field grids of 40 plus.
So that’s enough fun for now, it’s back home to face the Bank manager.
Apologies for the lack of AFJA reports, but I have been in Europe since the middle of April (non motor sport related) and have only recently returned. Consequently, I missed both Mallala and Winton, but am now really looking forward to Morgan Park, as it has been a long time between drinks.
Mallala was attended by Kim, Bill and local member Wayne Hocking, with Wayne maximising points for the weekend because Kim left early and by the looks of things Bill was having car trouble. Unfortunately, Kim and Bill are currently in Europe racing in the final Balkans leg of the Diamond Jubilee, so I don’t have a race report to share with you.
The big news from Winton was the excellent form of Danny Ciarma in the Lynx, who managed to write a new lap record of 1:08.047. Congratulations Danny, I am looking forward to having some fun with you at Morgan Park in mid July. You can watch Danny’s record lap at the following link. https://youtu.be/Mu9IvpR9I9E
So, after three rounds our championship table now looks like this, with Danny Ciarma sitting on top. Keep it up Danny!