NZ Festival of Motor Racing, celebrating Bruce McLaren
29-31 January 2010 – Pukekohe Raceway
Sunday Formula Junior & Formula 5000 action
Sunday 31 January 2010 commenced with a delayed start of the meeting by one-hour due to repairs being carried out on the track from the Saturday deluge of rain. The rain that swept across the track on Saturday afternoon left cars wet, 2-inches of water across the entire pit lane & through the town of Pukekohe minor flood conditions.
The race track itself suffered damage with the down pour lifting a small section of the ashphalt, which prior to racing commencing had to be re-sealed and deemed safe for competition to start.
Formula Junior & invited F3 Sunday feature race
First event for the day was for Formula Junior and invited Formula 3 cars.An overcast morning presented itself with minor drops of water as the 34 car strong grid waited patiently for the green light. This was given near 10am when the track was then wet again and some drivers chose discretion and retired from the race.
On to the final races for the weekend, and indeed the festival the Formula Juniors hit the track in much better conditions. On the dummy grid Peter Strauss had trouble re-starting the Brabham after warming it up moments before and had to be push started by his crew once the entire grid had let the pits.
This no doubt eventually played in Peter’s favour as he had his best race of the weekend, finishing in third place behind the UK pair of Robin Longdon and Sir John Chisholm. The starting positions for each event were derived from the individual best lap time of each competitor across the weekend. Bill Hemming qualified extremely well in his Elfin Catalina out-pacing Kim Shearn by half a second to post a 1.13:8 on Friday (a time, which he didn’t match over the weekend).
In this battle of the Victorians Shearn won three from four races, but Hemming managed to keep him at bay in the Sunday afternoon feature race (see photo here) – they finished in sixth and seventh respectively.
Formula 5000 feature race
The feature event for the weekend was held under differing conditions as the cold, overcast day continued with fine conditions at the commencement of the race, and then began to rain with a light shower toward the latter part of the race.
Ken Smith again dominated proceedings, including conquering challenges laid out by Ian Clements after the re-start of racing from a 2-lap yellow flag period. His car owner David Abbott put in his best performance for the weekend with a 4th place finish. Aaron Lewis was again top placed Australian in seventh. Paul Trevethan retired once the rain came out in his Elfin M6L and Bill Hemming completed a weekend without lifting the engine cover on either car in 17th place.
The Australian consignment then commenced the pack up, including putting all 60 cars in containers. Some of the containers are bound for Taupo for the weekend of 6-7 February where the Formula Juniors have a race. The Formula 5000s will shortly commence their journey across the Tasman sea for the upcoming Phillip Island Classic where more than 40 Formula 5000s will take to the grid.
Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia