2019 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport
Over the weekend, we raced against a massive field of Pre-1990 Formula Fords at the largest Historic Race meeting in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport has grown to become a must-see event for anyone with an interest in anything automotive. We were proud to be running a pair of gorgeous Formula Fords in the 56-car field.
David Roberts flew down from Queensland to compete in a beautiful Swift FB89 owned by Pete and Di McCluskey. Dave had work commitments on Thursday, which meant he was straight into Qualifying on Friday morning. An ignition system failure resulted in a worsening misfire during his qualifying session, ironically rearing its head as soon as Dave drove down pit lane, despite clean running during pre-event dyno runs and multiple warm-ups before heading on track.
To ensure the issue would not carry over, we converted the car back to a points style ignition system before race 1 and got the car back and running cleanly.
Dave started race 1 towards the tail of the field, passing dozens of cars during lap 1 until an accident on lap 2 ended his race. The Swift was battered and bruised, meaning a long night for the crew to get the car back out and repaired for the second race on Saturday morning.
Just minutes prior to race 2, Dave was notified that he was not permitted to start due to the findings of the stewards following the Race 1 incident. This also meant he had to start from Pit lane in Race 3. This was a bit of a downer for everyone given the late night before! Dave eventually worked his way up the field in Race 3 and then backed it up with more progress up the grid in Race 4.
The 40-km long Perkins Cup trophy race was the final race of the weekend. Dave ended up progressing to 7th, showing plenty of speed. A really solid recovery in a huge field of 50+ cars!
Richard Davison's RF89 Van Diemen was on the other side of our marquee. After a few sessions on Thursday to get back into the groove, Richard headed into qualifying with the pace to run with the front guys. Interestingly, he would have qualified 2nd, but, unfortunately, the track timing system had a glitch and did not record his fastest lap. Richard's recorded time placed him in 5th position for the start of race 1, which meant he was in the lead group regardless.
In Race 1 Richard finished 4th, reeling in the guys ahead. Race 2 featured the same drafting battles until Jonathan Miles had an off. Richard was well positioned and grabbed a 3rd place finish.
Races 3 and 4 were very similar for Richard, who was within a few tenths on overall pace but just a few car lengths shy of utilising the drafts. The front group were rapid all weekend with some spectacular racing, in typical Formula Ford style.
The longer Perkins Cup feature race provided plenty of laps for good racing across the field. The front pair of Tim Blanchard and Oliver White stretched away from Jon Miles and Richard, who were left to fight for third position. Two laps from the end of the 9-lapper, Miles suffered a mechanical issue and Richard was once again waiting in the wings to clinch 3rd position, claiming his 5th podium finish so far in the 2019 season.
We would like to thank Steve Willing for lending us some of his spares, allowing Dave to continue racing during the weekend, Traction Tyre & Suspension for swapping Dave’s RR rim super quickly prior to race 2 and Hayden Edwards for the long hours on Friday night and for being an irreplaceable part of our team.
Thanks also to everyone who came to say hi during the weekend and to all the Historic FF competitors for sharing some unforgettable memories with us.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford in Australia and we can't wait to continue celebrating our wonderful category with more exciting and competitive racing!