Brands Jubilee – 3rd July; Front Engined Grid

Qualifying Friday 2nd July

Friday started wet as promised, but the rain had stopped by 10 am. As the 34 Front engine Formula Juniors formed up in the assembly area in the lower Paddock the sun was shining brightly and the tarmac was starting to dry. At 11 o’clock the safety car led Chris Drake in the Terrier and the rest of the cars across to the centre of the circuit and out onto the track to start the session.  After all the other cars had left Crispian Besley’s driverless Elva was forlornly pushed across the assembly area by his team…. where was Crispian?

Chris Drake was pushing from the start and led the stream of Juniors through Paddock as everyone was finding the limits of the grip and working out where the track had not yet dried. On the 2nd time through, Chris had obviously had an incident as Andrew Tart  in the FWD Bond was the first car through followed by the Terrier, which quickly got back up to speed and soon caught and passed the Bond.

Early order was Drake, Stuart Roach in the Mk2 Alexis and Ray Mallock in the Mk2 U2. These three monopolised the first 3 places throughout the session and the final order was reversed with Mallock securing pole on his penultimate lap, with Roach 3 tenths behind in 2nd and Drake a further half second back.

Towards the end of the session an oil trail was spotted on the track, but luckily no one reported any incidents as a result. It wasn’t clear who was responsible, but a number of cars were later being repaired in the paddock.

The gearbox in Keith Roach’s Condor failed on lap 5, subsequent investigations determined that it was not repairable and the car was loaded onto the trailer.

Race – Saturday July 3rd

Once again it was bright sunshine as thirty five Front Engined cars formed up in the assembly area, with eighteen different marques represented.

There was much concern in the assembly area about the green flag lap, Sarah reading the final instructions out loud to an assembled group at the front of the field, and then phoning race control to confirm that they would apply the regs as written, which had not happened in the earlier F3 race.

Just before noon the safety car led the Juniors in single file from the assembly area to start line. The commentators mistook the Green flag lap for the race start and were very excited as the cars entered  Paddock Bend on the Green flag lap, however they quickly corrected themselves..

As the cars came round through Clearways they slowed and formed up on the grid. Once the last cars was in place the 5 second board was shown,  engine revs rose and the lights went out.

The first five Mallock, Roach, Drake, Woodhouse and Goodliff came through Paddock for the first time in qualifying order. As the rest of the field streamed through, Floris-Jan Hekker in the Rayberg FJ coasted to a halt on the hill to Druids with a broken drive shaft.

At the end of the first lap Mallock was in the lead, Drake in the Terrier alongside Roach across the line and second into Paddock, Mark Woodhouse in fourth in the Elva 100, Robin Longdon was fifth in his Mk2 Lola ahead of Andrew Tart (Bond) and Simon Goodliff who had dropped back  a couple of places in the little Nike, his debut meeting with the car. Second time round Drake and Roach had both passed Mallock, who lay third, 3 seconds ahead of Woodhouse. Ian Robinson in the Number 3 Lola, in Class D2 spec, bringing up the rear of the field.

On Lap 4 Stuart Roach in the Alexis was leading Chris Drake in the Terrier into Clearways, but across the start/finish line Drake regained the lead. Next time round Stuart was leading across the line and starting to pull away.

By lap 6 the Alexis has a 5 second lead and, Drake had dropped behind Mallock. The Terrier was suffering from fuel starvation on left hand bends and going through Surtees the engine completely stopped….forcing Chris to wiggle from side to side  down Hawthorn Straight to try to pick up fuel. Tart in the Bond and Longdon in the Lola were having a great battle for fifth place, with Andrew later commenting that every time he looked in his mirrors Robin’s Lola was filling them. Simon Goodliff in the Nike was seventh, struggling to live with the top 6. The Nike was cocking an inside front wheel everywhere, with it nine inches in the air going through Druids. A spectator was heard to comment that she feared for Simon’s life! The Nike eventually retired on lap eight with a broken rocker.

The throttle stuck open on Graham Barron’s Gemini coming into Clearways spinning him into retirement and leaving the Gemini beached in the gravel.

At the end of lap seven Mark Woodhouse was into third place ahead of Chris Drake’s ailing Terrier.  By the end of lap eight Stuart Roach had established a seven second lead over Ray Mallock and was looking comfortable for the win, with Woodhouse three seconds back in third, and Tart and Longdon still locked together in 4th and 5th respectively.

The Safety car was deployed on lap nine to facilitate the removal of Barron’s Gemini from the Gravel at Clearways.  John Arnold’s Elva 100 in eleventh place was misfiring and stopped completely on lap ten.

At the end of the tenth lap, the safety car came in having done its job and closed the field back up.  Across the restart line into the final lap, Ray Mallock in the U2 tried to get alongside Roach but Stuart was able to hold him off into Clearways. Under Braking into Druids Mark Woodhouse threatened Mallock for second but the U2 managed to hold him off. Duncan Rabagliati retired, as he passed into the pit entrance on the restart, the points on his Alexis HF1 failing, leaving him gliding into the pits with a dead engine.

At the flag Stuart Roach had managed to stay ahead of Mallock in second, with Woodhouse, Tart and Longdon rounding out the top five. Of the thirty five starters, twenty six cars finished with eight different marques represented in the top ten places.

By Laine Martin