Historic Racing Sports Car Club

February 2009

Greetings Fellow Formula Juniorists,

We have now completed our FJ races as part of the Tasman Grand Prix Series at Pukekohe (24-25 January) and Taupo (31 January, 1 February).

As usual we were mixed in with the Historic field supplemented by a contingent of historic FV cars from Queensland. FJ participants were John Rapley (Brabham BT2 – Taupo only), Jim Barclay (Gemini Mk3a), Bruce Carter (Donford), John Holmes (Lotus 18), Roger Herrick (Lola Mk2), Walter Findlay (Elva DKW), Alan Woolf (Volpini – Pukekohe only), Rob Williams (Elva BMC), Ian Garmey (Cooper T56), Nigel Russell (FMZ Pukekohe and Emeryson Elfin Taupo) and Paul Halford (Autosud – Taupo only).

Pukekohe was a warm and fine weekend although the hairpin was causing problems with the track breaking up as the new seal failed and peppered cars with stones. The first race finished under a yellow with the Lola the first Junior home followed by the Gemini and the Lotus. The Lola was getting over it’s previous brake problems and was closely dicing with with Jim’s Gemini. It was good to see Alan out in the Volpini which looked “a million dollars”. Ian Garmey was easing the Cooper in after a winter rebuild and the FMZ was suffering some mysterious electrical issues which seemed to baffle everyone.

The Sunday races saw the FMZ restored to full fitness and the Lola a non starter due to family commitments. Bruce Carter was showing real form in the Donford and led home Jim Barclay followed by Wayne Rodgers driving Ian Garmey’s Cooper. The front engined cars had a real close dice with the FMZ finishing .002 seconds ahead of Rob William’s Elva.

The last race was a handicap with Nigel powering the FMZ around in style to come in a creditable third overall. Wayne Rodgers in the Garmey Cooper put in the fastest FJ time of the weekend with a 1:18.262.

Taupo was a repeat of the previous weekend’s weather and showed the superiority of John Rapley in the Brabham as he was the fastest FJ all weekend with a best time of 1:51.998 followed by the Lola with a 1:57.661 and the Gemini with a 1:58.052. The racing was close all day although there were several incidents that caused the retirement of Bruce Carter in the Donford (a coming together with a FF), Jim Barclay with suspected valve spring issues which caused him to miss the last race and Paul Halford who had a frustrating day with carb and/or electrical problems which saw him getting little track time. Paul’s Autosud is a great car and we are sure it will soon be running properly. It was an unfortunate weekend for Paul as his McLaren Elva Mk1B succumbed to piston failure before the first race.

Nigel’s Emeryson Elfin was running superbly all weekend and Walter Findlay’s Elva DKW was treating everyone to the sound and distinctive smell of two stroke – all the time he was getting faster and he is now very close to the pace of the other front engined cars – watch out!! Roger’s Lola was having gear selection problems which caused a spin in the last race when he arrived at a corner with a box of neutrals. The Lola was also making strange engine noises at the end of the last race so some remedial work is needed. Rob Williams and John Holmes in the Elva and Lotus respectively ran consistently and without problems all weekend often involved with exciting dices with other cars.

All in all a successful series but there was some murmuring about the reduction in races and laps in these HRC organised events. It seems as if we are getting “short changed” by ending up with only three six lap races over a two day weekend meeting. The upcoming TACCOC meetings at Pukekohe on 5 April and 10 May seem a better value for money with 3 races (plus a practice) in one day for $125 (assuming both meetings are entered for a combined $250).

Rumour has it that Neil Tolich’s Jocko is not far away from being in race mode so we may see this unique FJ at Pukekohe in April.