FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” Championship Rounds 4 & 5 – Front Grid
CADWELL PARK; 5th – 6th JUNE 2021
FRONT ENGINED GRID
A really impressive entry – all the usual quick runners Drake, de la Roche, Roach, Morton, Mallock, Woodhouse, Longdon and so the list of talent goes on. We even had two delectable Class A cars in the form of a Bandini and Volpini, and even more unique was Alan Croft in his Graham GR2 – the history of which was a mystery to me – but I hear Duncan will enlighten us in the next magazine. Also making a really welcome return after his sad sabbatical was Keith Roach in his Condor.
Cadwell was looking at its very best – everyone looked forward to taking on its demanding contours and the quality of runners throughout the field promised some exciting racing in the manner seen at Donington.
The writer had expected at least half a dozen cars to post times within a tenth or so – while this may not have happened, Chris Drake in his unique Downdraught carburetted Terrier and Pete de la Roche in Pat Barford’s Lola Mk II set about the lap record with a vengeance – Drake took pole by the narrowest margin (0.040 sec) from de la Roche. Roach was perhaps surprisingly a couple of seconds down on the two leaders while Mallock and Morton were separated by a tenth. Further down the order the times promised some close battles in the races. Sadly, the Graham didn’t last long on its debut, with some engine teething problems.
Drake’s Terrier made a perfect start and led away up the hill followed by the Mallock U2, the Morton Condor with 5 makes of cars in the first 5. A great advert for Formula Junior. Further back Keith Roach was going really well and all present were truly delighted to see Richard Bishop-Miller going reliably and well in the Triumph Herald engined Autosport.
Pete de la Roche had made a leisurely start dropping (very briefly) to 4th. He then sliced effortlessly through to take the lead on lap 3. Thereafter, he pulled away comfortably to a 28 second gap by the end. Stuart Roach was a consistent third, but never able to catch the lead two, with the only real battle at the front being between Ray Mallock and Alex Morton.
There was also a great scrap further back between Bernard Brock’s Elva 100 CG and “Fish and Chip” procurement chief Tony Pearson in his Bandini.
Unfortunately, non-finishers included Duncan whose Carrot tyre valve sheared, Iain Rowley in Ian Robinson’s Lola which broke a driveshaft UJ on lap 1. Stuart Roach after going well had the differential break two laps from the end. Finally on the last lap, Graham Barron’s superb Gemini suffered – er – fuel starvation on the last lap.
Three of the race 1 retirements had resuscitated their mounts by Sunday. Iain Rowley had repaired the Lola driveshaft, Duncan’s puncture had been healed by the Avon Tyre Crew present at the meeting, and Barron’s issue was – er – a simple fix. Sadly, Stuart Roach’s spare diff was alive and well, but at home 200 miles away.
Pete de la Roche drove superbly gaining almost a minute over Ray Mallock by the flag, meanwhile pulling steadily away from Chris Drake whose Terrier rear universal joint soon failed – no doubt surrendering to the unusually high demands of the Cadwell topography. Chris entertained us with his graphic description of his surprise/fright/terror when the UJ breakage allowed the Terrier’s right rear wheel to assume its own destiny being only vaguely attached to the rest of the car – inevitably at the fastest point of the circuit.
Peter in the process set a new lap record, as he had in race 1, leaving it 3.493” faster than the previous record held by Stuart Roach. Ray Mallock in turn was 7.5 seconds clear of Alex Morton and so on it went – what might have been a less enthralling race at the front, was certainly enlivened by spirited dices further down the order. Graham Barron and Justin Fleming had a great battle throughout – Barron just got the position at the line – by 0.2 seconds, with Keith Roach and John Arnold, in his beautiful Indy livery Elva 100, keeping lying in wait having their own dual just behind.
Bernard Brock in his Elva 100, Tony Pearson in his Bandini and Roger Woodbridge in his Volpini resumed their earlier dice – however they became separated so at the finish, Tony Pearson had pulled out a handy 20 second gap over his playmate.
And so ended a race with glorious cars, in glorious weather on a glorious circuit.
If anyone ever harboured the slightest doubt that Formula Junior was in superb health, expertly guided and administered by Sarah and Duncan – then listen to this.
At the prizegiving (informal as ever) I remarked to Second placed Ray Mallock that I was a tad disappointed not to have seen a stunningly close race such as we had recently at Donington. He replied that he too was disappointed – this from the man whose CV includes – class wins at Le Mans 24 Hours, Formula Atlantic Champion, Formula 2, Front runner in British F1 and owner/developer of the successful Ray Mallock Racing, developing Works Cars for worldwide Touring and GT races – what an endorsement – yes Sarah, Duncan, even with a pandemic to contend with you really have got it right.