Newsflash 16/11/2017

Folk,

A report from one our new members, Danny Ciarma at the recent Sandown meeting and a short wrap up from myself.

I fell in love with the Formula Junior marque about 4 years ago when I saw them for the first time at Sandown. I just wanted one to put in my lounge room and look at it all night. I then got side tracked with a GT3 race car and did many track days but eventually the novelty wore off that and I sold it. As soon as I did, a light bulb went off in my mind remembering the day I saw that beautiful machine known as the Formula Junior – I wanted one, and I was going to get one.

I looked around for a while and spoke to people I knew who steered me in the right direction for advice. Peter Strauss was the first person who encouraged me to buy a “Junior” (as I now know is their beloved nick name), in fact it was his BT6 that I saw at Sandown for the first time.

Danny Ciarma Elfin Sandown 17Eventually, I went onto the AFJA web site and looked under classifieds and saw a beautiful Lynx for sale – Lynx, what’s a Lynx? After talking to Peter Strauss for more advice about model types and all of their pro’s and con’s, he then put me onto Bill Hemming to talk about the association. I met with Bill and he was nice enough to let me sit in his Elfin – that was the first time I sat in a Junior. Bill suggested I call Kim Shearn, who was very nice and encouraging on the phone. They all spoke highly of the Lynx so I decided to buy it. Not long after that, I received a welcome call from Noel Bryen who signed me up as a member and then I received a lovely phone call from Margaret Ealand to “welcome me to the family” – that felt really nice. I realised then that being part of the Junior family was more than about owning a car.

Danny Ciarma at Sandown

All this unfolded only several months ago and after a few test days, I actually raced at the Sandown Historic weekend just gone – I had my first ever qualifying and race sessions in a JUNIOR.

Wow, what an experience, the racing was so much fun and I have even fallen more in love with the car. We had four Juniors in the M & O class and at one stage I was involved in a really good 3 way battle, until I sheered a universal joint, but that’s another story – the response from, Peter, Kim & Bill was, not, “oh you poor thing, that is really sad to hear”, no it was, with a smirk on their face, “that’s racing”.

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I was very welcomed on the weekend by all involved with the AFJA and everyone was happy to include me in conversations and give their own bits of advice, such as from Kim Shearn after asking, how the hell did you pass me so quickly, with his words of wisdom being, “I know my car better than you know yours”.

Stephen Moody, Paul Faulkner and Kin Shearn

I’m very happy to be a part of the Junior family and I cant wait to get back onto the track and race amongst a good number of other Juniors into the future and meet as many of you as I can.

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The weekend also taught me something – I now know why the older foxes in the group were so eager to foster and guide a new younger person to the trap, sorry I mean club, they need more people to beat!

Danny Ciarma

Margaret Ealand, happy that Roger’s 18 is in good hands

Thanks for the report Danny, and I am really pleased that your first experience was so positive.  Whilst you were enjoying the camaraderie at Sandown, I was at Eastern Creek (aka Sydney Motorsport Park) with Robert Buckley in his Golford Junior at the HSRCA historic meeting. It was a lose/lose situation for both events, with small fields in Sydney and equally small fields in Melbourne.  How we managed to stage two historic meetings on the same weekend is beyond me, but enough said on that topic!

We were also gridded with the Group O racing field which produced a 14 car grid and the racing was good fun, although lonely at times.  It was a shame to have only 2 Juniors at the final championship round for 2017 but it made the pointscoring quite easy.  Suffice to say that Rob and I both won our respective classes!  The good thing about the whole weekend was that all of our cars went back onto their respective trailers in one piece. 

The pointscore for 2017 after the final round now looks like this, taking the best 4 events only:

Noel Bryen – 160

Robert Buckley – 111

Kim Shearn – 74

Bill Hemming – 70

Geoff Fry – 64

Max Pegram – 62

David Reid – 57

Bill Norman – 30

Murray Bryden – 30

Wayne Hocking – 19

Grant Craft – 17

Dick Willis – 1

Now that the world tour is over we should see some bigger fields for 2018 and our immediate challenge is to design a programme for the year that will encourage our attendance.  Since we are not invited to Phillip Island, it will be a long time between drinks, with the first Historic meeting being the HSRCA round at Wakefield Park in early April. 

One of our thoughts is to make Winton (short) in May a big event and try to encourage as many members as possible to attend, but watch this space – we will put a calendar together as soon as we have firm dates available.

Regards,

Noel Bryen

AFJA Secretary

FORMULA JUNIOR NORTH AMERICAN TOUR – SECTOR TWO

OR, Not the same without Bill!

Whilst it was bitter sweet having to miss out on Laguna Seca, I was pleased to be at home for the arrival of my new grandson that weekend in Melbourne. Soon after, I headed to the Good ‘Ol US of A to partake in the last 3 North American rounds of the Formula Junior World Tour.

Having surrendered my entry to Goodwood in favour of Bill Hemming who had a more suitable car available, I was desperately hoping for good things in the States……I wasn’t disappointed.

In New York and prior to leaving for Lime Rock, I was keen to visit a couple of the Smithsonian museums – what a complex of buildings, displays, information and amazing exhibits. The Space Museum is something to behold. I drove a Lancer (rubbish!) going down to Washington from New York, but soon swapped it out for a Camaro – wicked! Speed limit… what? No wife in tow ( at home gooing and gahring) so I was able to wander and drive at leisure and soak it all up.

The first race was at Lime Rock in New York State. What a picturesque circuit – situated among rolling hills, huge pits, flowers everywhere and a warm welcome by the organisers. We were afforded plenty of track time on this short, but fast and flowing circuit with 2 feature races. The West Australian contingent was out in force along with a few from NZ, Denmark, Canada, South Africa and of course, the UK. Classes were split into 3 groups according to the Formula’s development phases – Front Engine, Rear engine with drum brakes and Rear engine with disc brakes. Generally the weather was terrific and the racing, as usual, was close. Neil McCrudden had a wild moment when his steering column broke and that resulted in a lurid spin finishing in the fence at the end of the main straight. Car – very sad, Neil, just as sad, but not hurt thankfully. Marty Bullock was the Aussie star in his Lotus 27. I was driving the ex Roger Ealand Lotus 18 for the first time in 2 years since my outing at Sonoma that resulted in some front end damage. The car was repaired expertly and on time by Norman Thersby in California  (Thanks Norm!)and was a treat to drive. Starting and finishing mid field was a good result for me and I was well pleased. The David’s – Kent, Watkins and Innes from the UK in the Ex Peter Boel Lola all performed excellently with good placings in a highly competitive field. Don Thallon also went well and was right up with the leading group thus ensuring the Aussies were very well represented on the rostrum among the yanks. Race two was similar but this time, Strauss beat me so between us, we were One all.

Into the new Camaro rental and off to dinner after the parade into the local village and had dinner at a great place – thank you, you’re welcome, have a nice day etc. etc. Peter Strauss had earlier suffered a small off in Qually, but JR Mitchel, who was fettling both Peter’s and my car, soon sorted things out so he could continue racing throughout the trip. I reckoned he should pay for dinner as he was using up all our “credits” with JR, but it was easier to find someone who disliked Trump (no one!) than that. 

We then moved on to Watkins Glen which was an entirely different proposition. A big property, not nearly as well kept as Lime Rock, but fantastic to drive and race at. Neil had swapped out his engine from his broken Lotus 22 and inserted it into his Pink Panther so he could continue racing, albeit, a bit slower than before. Others only had some minor niggles and were up for the challenge on what is also a fast circuit with some verrrry close armco in a few verrrry quick spots. I had a great dice with Tony Ollisof and others after buggering up the rolling start they always have. Results were similar though the racing was a bit more spread out on the longer circuit. Somehow, I managed a third place in the drum brake class and was chuffed to be on the podium at such an iconic circuit. Again, no incidents of concern – what could possibly go wrong from hereon in? I also managed a spin during practice and was black flagged for not immediately pulling in to the pits to explain my actions – simple really on a damp track, ambition exceeded ability. Strange rule that. Another unique difference is that when you have a yellow flag, you slow as we do, but resume racing as soon as you pass the incident – no greens! Tow trucks conduct live recoveries during races under a white / red flag which can be a bit disconcerting at times.

So, JR transported some cars, the WA boys mainly hauling their cars in a huge rented semi that can be driven on a normal licence! Because it’s a “Fifth Wheel” unit, being over 60 feet long doesn’t matter over there! I joined up with Peter Strauss and his good lady Jane for the trip North West to Road America. Surviving on a lunchtime diet at, variously, Wendy’s, Macca’s, BIg Boy, and God knows what other rubbish we found along the way via Cleveland Ohio through Muskeegan (?) accross lake Michigan on a ferry to Milwaulkee then North to the track. It is situated about 150 Klm’s North of Chicago.

Road America was a real treat for several reasons. I purchased my Lotus 20/22 from the President of the track, George Brugentheiss some years back and he and his wife Shirley were very welcoming and a great help all round. This circuit is made up of 660 acres of varying terrain and facilities. Off road, forest tracks, Go Kart complex, huge pits and fastidiously maintained in every way. It is over 6 Klm’s long and also super fast. A terrific challenge in our little cars but plenty of overtaking places and room to “have a go”. By now Peter Strauss was having a few electrical gremlins, but most everyone else was in good shape and the only two no-shows/no race were Jac Nellerman from Denmark (engine blow up) and Eric Jutsen in the Ex Ealand Koala, also blown engine. Both guys were offered spare engines but declined as it was the last meeting and they felt it was time to go home and sort things out at leisure.

Again, the racing was close up front, but enjoyable all through the field with many battles for both minor and class placings. The promoting club put on a dinner, gratis, on the Friday night and a further dinner at a fantastic hotel on the Saturday night for some 800 people. On a personal note, my car was fantastic. No issues throughout 3 weekends including lots of track miles. No leaks, missing, suspension issues of any type and that made my trip extra special as I was able to engage in every session. The only downside is I had no excuses for regularly being mid field. One hicough was the fact that on Sunday at Road America (Elkhart Lake) was the inclusion of about 30 Formula V’s in our grid. Despite having a staggered start, one of our front runners, Chris Drake from the UK was leading when he happened upon the slow V’s towards the end of the race which he leading and got punted off into the armco, doing significant damage to his car and costing him a certain win. MIXED GRIDS are not the way to go for anyone and other solutions need to be found to ensure every one’s safety and enjoyment. In that race the total grid was about 60 cars! Is this the case of promoters being extra greedy for more entry fees and fewer races?

I’m pleased to report that an Aussie, MARTY BULLOCK, won the North American sector of the Diamond Jubilee World Tour. The Poms and Europeans, along with us from downunder out numbered the Yanks at each meeting but they still had a few fast guys and gals to keep us honest throughout. In short, this sector was highly successful and a real tribute to the organisation of Duncan Rabagliati, World Supremo of Formula Junior racing. Roll on next year where we have 3 race meetings in the Baltic States as the second last leg of the World Tour. A big thanks to Sarah, the FJHRA Secretary for ensuring that all things logistic ran smoothly as well. Any problems – call Sarah – she always has the fix!

After all this we spent a few days in Chicago. A pleasant city of surprises from my point of view and was an excellent finish to the trip. Big thanks to the Strauss’ for allowing me to join them on the road. I wasn’t even required to provide marriage guidance as Jane was an excellent navigator and kept both Peter and me on a short leash at all times.

Cheers,

Kim Shearn

BAD GOODWOOD

JUST HOW BADWOULD GOODWOOD GET FOR BILL HEMMING

After a brilliant 3 meeting run in the Good Ol’ US of A, where the little Tojeiro and it’s Fiat Transporter Pod didn’t put a foot wrong, a late invite to the Goodwood Revival could not be ignored. (That’s a GOOD}

A rush booking on a ship to arrive in Southhampton by the 25th August would allow a quick nut and bolt check before presenting at the worlds” premier Historic Motoring event. (Don’t take my word for it, just ask the 300,000 people who have been paying hundreds of dollars to attend every year for 20 years.) (also GOOD)

The girls and guys who picked up the Pod from the docks on the 29th August pointed out the Fiats’ clutch was totally clutchless, the automatic entry door would not shut automatically, and that the interior looked like it had been ransacked. (BAD, BAD and BAD)

On arriving in the UK, young Bill rushed over to check the Pod at the clutch repair workshop to find “ransacked” to be an understatement. (very BAD)

A quick inventory check found nearly $10,000 of BAD. Missing tools, TV, Satnav, Generator, bed linen, kitchen gear – even the salt and pepper shakers! The poor misunderstood petty thieves (they were probably molested and gender confused as children and therefore need forgiveness and understanding by us privileged white old folk) even had to stand on the aluminium Tojeiro to reach some items, leaving dents front and rear. (F…..g BAD)

Oh well, after a few gins and tonic, the Toj was loaded in the Pod and motored down to Goodwood on a beautiful sunny Thursday. Tojeiro unloaded in the paddock, scrutineered and paperworked, and a pleasant afternoon spent at the drivers cricket match sipping Pimms and watching the Spitfire fly- over after parking the Pod in the vast camping area. (all GOOD)

Thursday night it started to rain and rain and rain. The camping ground became a giant mud-wrestling ring…and the showers were cold. (not so GOOD)

Friday am and it continued to rain and rain and rain for the Formula Junior practice/qualifying session – the first of the day. Tip toeing around, the little Tojeiro stayed on the track to come in a respectable mid field 19th and within a second of the next 5 cars. (so far, so GOOD)

Meanwhile Bills’ mud bath campsite was joined by ex Tojeiro owner, Anthony Goddard (and wonderful wife Alix) and Adam Ealand, son of ex Roger Ealand who came to lend support and offer wine. (very GOOD)

Saturday morning, the sun came out enough to turn the car park mud into brown silastic. But it did offer a dry race for Formula Junior which was again the first event of the day. On the dummy grid, the lovely Sarah herded all the FJ drivers for obligatory group photo. It all started so well!(showed GOOD potential)

Until the engine overheated on the formation lap. With the steel trapped mind of a finely honed engineer, Bill put this down to the slow pace of the formation lap an thought a bit of speed would improve the cooling. After a good launch which picked up a couple of places, by the first corner the temperature was off the dial and power dropped off. By lap 2, on a good stretch. The engine managed to jump up to 3 cylinders and the Toj limped into retirement. (all of this was not GOOD)

The only benefit to retirement was that we could witness the FJ race on the big screen. Again, the FJ’s put on a brilliant display and the dice for the lead was breathtaking. The car control of the winner, Stuart Roach, as he was forced off the track onto the wet grass was sublime! (GOOD to see!)

After the race, the FJers were free for the rest of the weekend. Sarah was thrilled to watch her daughter have fun in the Austin A40 pedal car event, and we all went off to dribble on some of the Ferraris, Maseratis, Jaguars, ERA’s, Bugattis, etc etc (ran into Bob King who was fettling a friend’s Bugatti, and Mike and Dot Devine who came to tell Bill how pathetic was his effort). We also had time to prepare for the famous Goodwood Saturday night theme ball. (GOODY)

This year the theme was to dress for Salsa. Most wore Cuban outfits, but Bill mistook things and thought calypso dress was the go. In the absence of Bill’s (if it’s got tyres or testicles – keep away from it) wife, Adam offered to be Bill’s Bitch for the night and dressed up with calypso frills. They looked like an advert for the “yes” vote in the upcoming same sex marriage ballot. Worse, in a room full of Castro and Che costumes, they were as conspicuous as a  Cuban cigar in the hands of Monica Lewinsky. Nevertheless, a great night, and Bill and Adam walked back to the campsite (and I do mean camp) hand in hand to retire tired but happy. (GOOD for some)

Despite a sensational day of race watching, the best entertainment on Sunday was watching a couple of hundred camper vans slithering totally out of control and getting towed to dry land by 3 huge tractors. Goodwood in the rain is (BAD).

But, even with rain and engine failures, the event visuals, spitfires, cars, racing and friends, GOODWOOD is definitely very, very GOOD.

Newsflash 7/9/2017

Folk,

Just a short note to bring you up to date with the latest round of the AFJA Championship for 2017.  Round 6 was held at Wakefield Park on the 2nd and 3rd of September.  It was still rather cool at that time of year and the track was quite cold and slippery, although the weather stayed fine for the majority of the weekend.  During our last race on Sunday a howling gale developed that brought clouds of dust and spots of rain making the track very slippery and threatening to blow us all into the next postcode, but we survived somehow.

The juniors of David Reid (Cooper T59), Robert Buckley (Golford) and Noel Bryen (Rennmax) joined a mixed field of L, M and Vee racing cars to form a grid of about 20.  Track time was generous with qualifying and two races on Saturday, and another two races on Sunday and each race was at least 8 laps long.  Jamie Larner also joined us in Frank Hook’s F3 Cooper from Group O, which was good because Group O was mixed with Q&R cars which would have monstered the little Cooper.

The meeting went very well with no bingles or offs, just the usual mechanical failures.  Surprisingly, this was Rob Buckley’s first visit to Wakefield and he spent Friday familiarising himself with the track, in between sorting out an annoying oil leak from the rocker cover.  A cracked gasket was the culprit but it made an awful mess of the hardware and his garage floor before it was sorted. 

The other incident worth noting was when David was interrupted by a passer by whilst refuelling.  As is David’s want, he became absorbed in the finer points of the Cooper and by the time the visitor left he had forgotten what he was doing and the filler cap wasn’t returned to its proper place.  As you may know, the fuel tank in the Cooper is at the very pointy end of the car and for some reason David decided to fill the tank right up.  Consequently, on the warm up lap of the ensuing race, the floor of the car became engulfed in fuel and by the time he arrived at the fish hook, it had found its way to the rear wheels and an embarrassing spin was the result.  Fortunately, everyone avoided the incident and no damage was done, other than pride of course.

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The racing was great fun and quite furious in places.  I had decided to put some extra padding in the seat of the Rennmax to try and alleviate the usual sore spots and it felt quite good until I started to drive the car.  The extra half inch pushed me forward and up, so that I couldn’t heel/toe or get my hands between my thighs and the steering wheel.  The car was virtually un-driveable when we went out for qualifying, but fortunately I still managed to grab pole, albeit a second off my normal pace.  Needless to say, the extra padding went straight into the bin as soon as qualifying ended. During the first race I managed to spin on the second lap at the corner going up the hill.  I could blame cold tyres and a dirty track, but I just went in too fast in the excitement of leading.  I had some fun making my way back through the pack to eventually take third, which made for an interesting couple of laps in the following race until I regained the lead.  I was also quite chuffed to be awarded driver of the meeting, as judged by the commentators.

The results are detailed below:

DriverCarGroupR1R2R3R4Total
Noel Bryen1963 Rennmax BN-1FJ2R1010101040
Rob Buckley1963 GolfordFJ1R1010101040
David Reid1962 Cooper T59FJ2R818825

The overall results after round 6 are also detailed below:

NAMESTATECarClassPhillip IslandWakefieldMallalaWinton ShortMorgan PkWakefieldEastern CkTOTAL
18/19 March8/9 April22/23 April27/28 May1/2 July2/3 September11/12 November
BRYEN, NoelNSW1963 Rennmax B-1FJ2R403230040400182
SHEARN, KimVIC1961 Lotus 20/22FJ2R281828000074
BUCKLEY, RobertQLD1963 GolfordFJ1R    3140 71
HEMMING, BillVIC1962 ElfinFJ1R 4030    70
FRY, GeoffNSW1961 JolusFJ1R   3034  64
PEGRAM, MaxVIC1960 Gemini Mk11FJ1F400022 0062
REID, DavidQLD1962 Cooper T59FJ2R    3225 57
NORMAN, BillNSW1961 LynxFJ2R 40     40
MEDLEY, JohnNSW1959 NotaFJ1F240015 0039
HARDMAN, DavidVIC1959 StanguelliniFJ1F   30   30
BRYDEN, MurrayVIC1961 Lotus 20BFJ2R   30   30
HOCKING, WayneSA1964 TADFJ1R  19    19
CRAFT, GrantQLD1962 Brabham BT2FJ2R1700000017
WILLIS, DickNSW1962 AusperFJ1R 1     1

The final round for the year will be held at Eastern Creek aka Sydney Motorsport Park, on the weekend of 11/12 November which, stupidly enough, is the same weekend as Historic Sandown and Noosa Hillclimb!  Please, don’t go to Sandown or Noosa, we need you at the Creek!

See you there,

Noel Bryen

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.

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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.

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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

IMG_0296

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.”