Report from Western Australia
2009 Watchtower Formula Classic Series.
Late 2008 some discussion amongst several of drivers from Historic Racing & Sports Cars category, here in Western Australia, toyed with the idea of setting up a series to promote their division for 2009. During a general meeting which was held this was widey received and was well attended by 19 drivers with another 8 sending their apologies. As a result in December 2008 during the CAMS Motor Racing Panel meeting approval for the new title of Formula Classic was given for the group as we are now known. Matt Lyford of the Watchtower Property group offered his services came on board as a naming sponsor for this 1st year and thus the series created is now known as The Watchtower Property 2009 Formula Classic Championship Series.
The Watchtower Property Formula Classic Championship Series will be run over five rounds with drivers dropping their worst round results.
As we run with a broad range of vehicles from formula junior, formula fords, F2 & some early Formula Atlantic cars they have been divided into two groups for the series.
The group known as Formula Classic Handicap. This group will be for the majority of entrants.
The second group FA known as Formula Atlantic for all Atlantic cars and drivers who do not want to contest the handicap series. These titles are just how we refer to ourselves in this series & are not recognised CAMS groups.
As this is series in its infancy is expected to grow in time, adjustments will be made to the handicap in future seasons as is required to bring the slower cars up to an equal chance of winning over the full series. Other than the ‘applied after the event handicap’ all manners of running each race is as outlined by CAMS.
More detail on the Watchtower Property Formula Classic Series and a better understanding of handicap system follow the links from the West Australian Racing Museum web site http://www.warm.org.au
Round One was part of the WASCC’s Night Masters race meeting held on Saturday 21St February and was contested by 16 drivers with a very mixed bag of cars that included various Van Dieman’s Palliser, Jane Brabham, Repco Brabham, Tiga plus a couple of sports cars.
Race one started in an expensive manner for newly elected WASCC Committee member and driver of the Tiga, Russell Sewell who destroyed his gear box on the start line, while his son Elliot’s problems were caused by a near flat battery.
Newly acquired race licence holder and driver Shane Gifford enjoyed his days racing so much he went out and purchased a Peter Larner built Twin Cam engine the week after round one as was his desire to be able to drive much faster while Wayne Clarke, the newly converted ex motor cycle road racer and Mini buff had his first open wheeler race giving his Bowin P6F a big thumbs up.
At the end of round one Simon Ridgewell lead the Handicap points
Round Two of the the 2009 Watchtower Formula Classic series held on the 19th April again saw 16 starters in what turned out to be some of the best historic sports car & open wheeler racing to take place in recent years. The racing was close, nearly too close in some instances but everyone did behave & no damage was reported. There were racing battles taking place all around the track. Even race control who were used to getting a procession of cars have been taking notice this year due to the closeness of the racing.
Shane Gifford (with his new engine) put the WA Racing Museum Fielding one pole for race one with only 0.42 of a second separating the first 5 cars & only 2.8 secs in the first 9 cars.
Shane Gifford makes a flying start, Lance Carwardine comes from 5th to 2nd by the first corner & Dave turner had a dog of a time getting off the line with Andrew Gifford nearly running up his rear. Eventually Russell Sewell takes over the lead & has a battle on his hands with David Turner after he got going & they changed lead at least 8 or 9 times with Russell winning in the end & David crossing the line only 0.8 sec behind closely followed by the Gifford brothers & John Hurney.
Dave Turner had a great start for race two & Andrew Gifford worked his way thru to Second at the first corner in front of the 16 car strong field. The start of lap two saw Dave Turner give up his lead as he did a bit of a waltz in turn 1, Dave got going soon after & was in pursuit quickly making a meal of Wesley Muller, Glen Swarbrick by the end of the lap & then Alan Beats, Elliott Sewell & John Hurney. Meanwhile at the front Andrew Gifford had been overtaken by both Russell Sewell & Lance Carwardine & was fiercely trying to take a position back when he too had a loose in turn one at the start of lap 8. At the end of the race it was Russell Sewell from Lance Carwardine. Andrew Gifford & David Turner both recovered enough to take third & fourth places
Race three was another cracker with passing manoeuvres taking place over the entire racing circuit. Lance Carwardine lead down the hill on lap one where Dave Turner took over until re-passed by Lance during turn 1 of the second lap. As this battle was taking place Andrew Gifford, Russell Sewell & Shane Gifford were sorting them selves out right behind Lance & David looking for an opening. Andrew took Dave under brakes at the bottom of the hill into turn 7. Dave being Dave & not liking being passed had a real go at retaking second position into turn 1 but to no avail. Russell Sewell was lurking & was able to take advantage of better cornering speed to pass both David & Andrew on the long downhill run into turn 7 when he then lost both positions back again on the main straight. However trying the same approach again he wasn’t to be out done on the closing stage of the next lap. Andrew then also missed a gear coming out of Kolb & lost position to David, Russell & Shane Gifford.
Enter the last lap. Shane Gifford takes a daring passing move on Dave on the quick right hander going over the top of the hill, This was very sneaky but Dave responds by retaking this position into Kolb. Andrew had recovered his missed gear by this time & re-passes Shane under brakes into turn seven & final race results were Lance, Russell, Dave, Andrew & John Hurney. With Shane Gifford picking up a penalty for jumping the start.
Rob Hagarty drove a Hagarty built Clubman for the first time in memory & joined in the action but had a less than successful outing this time round. Hopefully we’ll see him again soon. A newcomer to our ranks was Jamie Kirkhoff at his first ever race meet as a driver. Driving the newly rebuilt ex Tod Hill Sutol 23 he too had more than his fair share of trouble. (Next time fella’s)
Formula Classic had some of the best racing of the day & with will make for some exciting times ahead with some of the more powerful Atlantic spec Cosworth engine cars expected to grid up in the next couple of events. Thanks to all the organisers & officials who make this happen for us to all enjoy.
Report by: Shane Cassidy, with support from Andrew Gifford, Coordinator, Formula Classic