FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” UK Championship Rounds 6+7, Cadwell Park, 18th – 19th June 2016
THE BARRY WESTMORELAND TROPHY
Barry Westmoreland died at Cadwell in 2008 while racing his Lotus 22 with us – a greatly respected member of our Formula Junior Family, he is remembered particularly at this meeting where his soul departed just as he crested the Mountain.
A decent if not overwhelming entry – just enough to justify separate races for Front and Rear engine cars despite a clashing Lurani Round at Monza on the same weekend.
It remains a strange fact that nearly everyone who races there declares Cadwell to be the best circuit in the country – yet where were they all?
The Front Engine races had 15 entries all of whom turned up and all took part in qualifying.
Of the Rear Engined Grid, 16 entries with no shows from Laine Martin and Nick Fennell.
Front Engine Qualifying
Stuart Roach had qualifying well under control with his familiar Alexis – no surprise but the margin to second placed Mark Woodhouse certainly was at just under 5 seconds – a margin that was certainly not maintained come the race!
Mike Walker was 3rd followed surprisingly not by his Team Mate Andrew Tart but by French domiciled German Driver Ralf Emmerling who seems to go particularly well here in his Gemini.
Front Engine Race 1
Stuart Roach made a great start, equalled by Ralf Emmerling who eased into 2nd place which he held for 2 laps before Mike Walker got by – Andrew Tart took up the chase for several laps.
Roach steadily increased his lead to 8 seconds by lap 5 – on lap 8 Emmerling retired with main bearing failure
By lap 5, Walker had warmed to the task and began to gain on Woodhouse closing to just over a second at the finish while behind a great scrap involved Ian Phillips in his ex-John Monson Monaco winning BMC, John Arnold I his Elva and Roach Senior in his beautifully restored Condor.
We lost Andrew Tart on lap 7 to a head gasket problem, while Graham Barron’s beautiful Gemini clouted the bank somewhere “around the back” (my words not his!)
Towards the back 2 most interesting cars circulated – Ian Robinsons immaculate Lola which like the driver has been hibernating for some years
Roach continued to pull away from the Woodhouse/Walker duo despite having a dramatic journey over the grass at the foot (and halfway up) the mountain – perhaps oil down?
Rudolf Ernst circulated making superb 2 stroke noises in his Mitter DKW – this fascinating car represents the very early days of Formula Junior – at one time a DKW was considered the only engine to have and Gerhard Mitter was a works Porsche driver with later form in F2 and even a short period in F1 – superb to have such an iconic car in our midst.
Front Engine Race 2
Roach made a good start once more – but Woodhouse an even better one and held the line (and lead) around Coppice and Charlies to lead lap 1.
On lap 2 Roach reasserted himself in the lead but didn’t pull away this time – in fact a splendid duel ensued for 1st position with Mike Walker keeping a watching brief in 3rd in the absence of team mate Andrew Tart whose Head Gasket woes finished his play for the day.
4th place witnessed a great and close scrap between John Arnold, the Elva Expert, Michael Fowler in his Gemini and Ian Phillips in the BMC – they finished in this order after a well behaved scrap – followed by Graham Barron who had repaired the previous day’s damage
By lap 6, Roach had created a gap and Walker was closing in
At the finish, Roach remained 1.4 seconds clear with Walker a further 2.3 seconds back. The 4th place scrap opened a little by the finish with John Arnold eventually having a well driven and comfortable 4th.
Rear Engine Qualifying
History was made – has a Condor ever been on pole? It has now – most of us had never seen a rear engine Condor but here it was at the front.
Second was John Sykes in the ex-Denis Welch Merlyn – complete with tribute to the late, great Denis on the bodywork – a thoughtful and greatly appreciated touch.
The next six qualifiers were covered by under 3 seconds in the order, Alex Morton, Peter Anstiss, Pete Morton, Jonathan Fyda, James hicks and Peter De La Roche with the ex-David Hall BMC
Chris Alford and Crispian Besley qualified less than 1/10 secs apart – looked like a good race for both.
The brace of Mortons both had mechanical problems – Pete’s Ausper broke a driveshaft and despite all efforts the Louth Ausper Agent couldn’t be located – happily Dad’s Lightning with broken suspension wishbone was healed before the start – a good effort!
Rear Engine Race 1
Poleman Roach made a poor start – Sykes led into the 1st corner followed by Alex Morton, Hicks, Fyda and Roach
Chris Alford made a storming start – overtaking several rows in front – sadly a few seconds before the red lights were extinguished!
By lap 2, Alex Morton had the lead from James Hicks – on lap 3 Roach and Morton diced for the lead and Sykes closed on Morton – this lasted only until lap 4 when shortly after the commentary reported a “missed gear” for Sykes, the entire gear lever came adrift – end of an excellent drive..
Crispian Besley and Chris Alford had a great dice, Besley eventually finding a way by to win class C2 by 0.3 sec.
Ex hillclimbers Peter Hawkey and Simon Durling diced throughout – recording almost identical fastest laps and Hawkey leading home by a couple of seconds.
Most spectacular manoeuvre was performed by Gordon Wright in his recently acquired Britannia – a driveshaft let go climbing the mountain – as this acts as the top link, that corner of the car dug in and performed a spectacular pirouette onto the grass – end of weekend for Gordon.
So Roach maintained a comfortable lead over Morton and Hicks to the finish. Surely a first FJ win for a rear engine Condor?
Rear Engine Race 2
Additional nonstarters were Gordon Wright’s injured Britannia and Simon Durling saving his main effort for Brands Hatch.
Roach again made a poor start – caused this time by absent gears in his Renault gearbox – he fell quickly to 6th. Meanwhile, Fyda made a superb start and led into Charlies first time round followed by Sykes, Anstiss, Hicks and a lame Condor of Roach
By lap 2, Sykes had mounted a successful challenge on Fyda (note – surely the first occasion on which a U2 has led a rear engine race!)
Alford and Besley continued their battle for C2 honours with Besley gaining the upper hand until a driveshaft broke on lap 6. Roach also retired on lap 6 with failing oil pressure.
Meanwhile, Sykes driving superbly maintained his 2 sec lead over Fyda who was under severe pressure from Hicks. On the very last lap, Hicks found a way past securing 2nd place.
John Sykes was typically modest about what he claimed was his first ever win – I really don’t believe such modesty is justified – a win at Cadwell is very special and particularly difficult to achieve – a great race Sir, At that racetrack up there, Denis will be proud of you.
The winner of the Barry Westmoreland Trophy is James Hicks whose combined times were the quickest – a great drive in a D2 car to win this most coveted award.
by Bob Birrell