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2011 Nationals

posted Dec 21, 2011, 11:31 PM by Rod Lisson   [ updated Dec 21, 2011, 11:34 PM ]

THE 2011 alcoholthinkagain FORMULA VEE NATIONAL CHALLENGE

BARBAGALLO RACEWAY, 14-16 OCT 11

Competitors started to arrive early for this year’s Nationals. Steve Butcher towed the Team Stinger trailer from NSW with both his and Dylan Thomas’ cars, arriving two weeks before the event. Steve took his 1200 out for practice the Saturday before the event and promptly chewed a piston. With a total engine rebuild at Chris Scoble’s workshop, he certainly put the hours in to get ready. Chris Reynolds also brought two cars, Daniel’s Sabre and Morgan Freemantle’s Astec. The Checkmate and Jacer from the Porter family arrived early in the week and the Gretgrix brothers from Victoria towed the GRD10 over the Nullarbor and borrowed two Mako’s from WA’s Neil McLay. The nine ‘Eastern States’ entries were supported by 22 WA entries and with fourteen 1600s and seventeen 1200s we were set for practice on 14th October.

Friday was a cost free practice with six 20 minute sessions followed by a dedicated hour for Formula Vee only. The support from alcoholthinkagain was very welcome and the bunting and flags had turned the pit area into a carnival of race cars. With a sausage sizzle at McCracken House afterwards, the weekend had got off to a good start; the local boys were explaining to the visitors (or not telling them) how to take Kolb corner, over a beer and a snag.

Saturday started with separate practice sessions for 1600s and 1200s and saw the fastest times of the weekend. Daniel Reynolds dominated with a lap record beating 1.07.6722 but local David Campbell (DC) showed what a session on the dyno and new tyres can do by recording a 1.08.2329, arguably the fastest time set by a WA driver on this track. Talking tyres, in order to keep the costs down, the organisers had imposed a ‘one set of tyres only from qualifying’ rule, which was a concern but proved to be justified by Sunday afternoon. The tyres had lasted well after qualifying, three races, a warm up on Sunday and a final. Thanks to Stuart Kostera and his dad for being there all three days and fitting 33 sets of tyres. Steve Butcher was running his new engine in (?) by setting a time one second faster than anyone else in the 1200s, although local Bruce Welsh was keeping his cards close to his chest by not going out in his Jacer.

Qualifying one was at 1130 for the 1600s and noon for the 1200s with fine weather and a track temperature of 31 deg C. Five 1600s were in the 1.08s with pole going to Daniel, second to Ben Porter and third to Dylan Thomas. DC managed fourth, 0.04 behind Dylan, and Bruce Allen did an excellent job by putting his borrowed Ajay on fifth. Bruce had never driven this car before Friday and it had done next to no racing this year. In 1200s, Butcha’s engine was obviously well run in as he has pole on 1.12.3154, Steve Williams did an exceptional job to get second in his 25 year old Daverick and Derek Bromlewe showed he was a contender by getting third in his Elfin Crusader. Rod Lisson set his fastest ever time to get fifth but Andy Stevens only managed one lap with gearbox issues. The officials let him set qualifying times on the Sunday morning warm up to prove his worth and he was allowed to race later that day.

 

For Race 1 the weather was still good with high level cloud and the track was no warmer, staying around 31 deg C for the rest of the weekend. Daniel led from start to finish with Ben, Dylan, DC and local hotshot Jacob Parson in his Jacer all fighting for positions. Bruce Allen departed on Kolb corner on the second lap rather than be part of a crash and Dion Gretgrix only managed 5 laps. Daniel won by six seconds with the pack behind

fighting it out to the last corner. DC held second place down the hill into Ford Fast Brake corner and Ben Porter had the speed to overtake around the outside of the bend. Ben’s front wheels lost grip and he slid wide, outside the kerb dividing the track and the pit lane. Ben kept his foot in and rejoined the track over the kerb to finish third behind DC and in front of Dylan. The Clerk of Course did not like this and the CAMS stewards later excluded Ben from this race, and put him at the back of the grid for race 2 whilst lightening his wallet.

 The 1200s were having some great battles throughout the field with some going onto the grass to get through the pack. The stand out was Nordine El Hafidoun who finished third using an engine borrowed from Bruce Welsh, who finished second after a tough fight with the winner, Butcha. There was action everywhere with Neville Bettridge setting great times and Liam Gretgrix jumping from a 1600 into a 1200 to finish seventh.

That was it for the Saturday, time for a few rebuilds at Gerry Prosser’s workshop for three cars. Dylan Thomas and DC compared notes at 6 am the next morning at DC’s house, both of them had been up since 3 am trying to work out how to catch Daniel.

 

Sunday was again a fine day with temperatures in the high 20s and track temps of 30. Race 2 for 1600s started at 1015 after an earlier warm up session, and Daniel dominated again. Ben Porter made it from the back of the grid to seventh on lap 1, fourth on lap 2 and second by lap 3. DC dropped back to battle with Cameron Edwards in his Ajay, Jacob and Ben Riley in his Jacer – it was like a normal WA round except for the three visitors ahead. Bruce Allen had made it from the back to seventh by the flag and Morgan Freemantle was enjoying his return to the track after several years away from WA and finished ninth. Ben Riley had carburettor issues and dropped back and Stewart Burns had technical issues and did not finish. Bruce Welsh managed to spin his 1200 yet finished eighth, Butcha won again from Bromlewe, Williams and El Hafidoun. David Gourbould showed promise by finishing fifth ahead of hard charging Rod Lisson and Neville Bettridge. Allan Yeo (Vixen) and James McDonald (Elfin) are related and they raced well to a family finish 0.06 secs apart, Allan just getting his nose ahead.

 

Race 3, at 1145, was full of incident; the track had slowed and there was some sand blown onto the track. DC had clutch problems, jumped the start and could not easily select fourth. He tried to do the same as Ben Porter had done around the outside of Ford corner but lost grip on the sand on the outside and spun. With the one minute penalty for the start and the spin, he finished last. Cameron Edwards showed his true form, despite brake issues and finished fourth ahead of locals Parsons, Riley and Allen; with Dion Gretgrix, Leigh Porter, Morgan Freemantle and Liam Gretgrix following. Locals Campbell Gow (Stinger) and Stewart Burns (Aurora) were next. The first three finished in an unfamiliar order, Porter, Reynolds then Thomas. The two leaders had broken away and had their own battle with Ben just getting his nose ahead on the last lap to win by 0.037 secs.

Butcha had won the 1200s but not without a considerable fight with Bruce Welsh and Derek Bromlewe. These three were swapping positions corner for corner, all three of them leading at one stage. Rod Lisson pushed through to fourth, Steve Williams was fifth after fixing his earlier rocker issues, James McDonald charged into sixth and earned himself the 1200 Charger of the Event award, and Bettridge got the better of Gorbould (Sabre). Locals John Cousins (Ribuck), Robert Lambe (Ribuck), Deni Razmovski (Elfin) and Brett Scarey (Elfin) were all providing great entertainment with their constant position swapping and three abreast racing. Andy Stevens was enjoying a trouble free run at last and finished his first ever Formula Vee race. El Hafidoun unfortunately retired on lap 4 with engine issues, and it was a loner from Bruce Welsh

 

Controversy hit the 1600s after race three. The scrutineers deemed cars 2, 17 and 9 to be below the required ride height and reported the matter to the Clerk of Course. The competitors were summoned to the race office and all three contested the decision to exclude them from race three results and a $700 fine. Because of this, their finish positions in race three were not removed and were used with races one and two to decide their grid position for the final. Not the best situation and the outcome of the inquiry is still to be decided.

The 1600 final was a 12 lap marathon and was dominated by Daniel Reynolds; and he was the worthy winner of the 1600 National Challenge. Thomas was second for the first four laps but Porter snuck past and claimed the runner up spot ahead of Thomas. Fourth was Edwards, then Parsons, and sixth was DC who still had gear selection issues and had dropped back from fourth. All cars stopped on the start/finish line where awards and sashes were presented before all cars returned to parc freme for checking. The results were:

Pos Car   Driver               Vehicle        Time           Fastest...Lap

 

1    78  Daniel Reynolds (ACT) Sabre 02       13:48.6738     1:08.4356

2    37  Benjamin Porter (NSW) Checkmate JP02 13:52.9259     1:08.4062

3    68  Dylan Thomas (NSW)    Stinger 010    13:57.1230     1:08.9112

4     2  Cameron Edwards (WA)  Ajay 08        14:06.2946     1:09.7593

5    41  Jacob Parsons (WA)    Jacer 99       14:06.3906     1:09.7290

6    58  David Campbell (WA)   Stinger 007    14:06.6317     1:09.0976

7    88  Ben Riley (WA)        Jacer F2 K9    14:06.6356     1:09.5592

8    75  Dion Gretgrix (VIC)   GRD 010 FV     14:14.4367     1:09.9349

9    54  Leigh Porter (NSW)    Jacer          14:14.5017     1:09.9550

10   11  Bruce Allen (WA)      Ajay           14:14.7828     1:09.7892

11   44  Morgan Freemantle(ACT)Astec Elfin NG 14:19.6654     1:10.5159

12    9  Liam Gretgrix (VIC)   Mako 03        14:24.2300     1:10.7205

13   17  Campbell Gow (WA)     Stinger 004    14:28.5664     1:11.2812

14   92  Stewart Burns (WA)    Aurora FV001   14:31.4414     1:11.4973

 

The 1200 final was a spectacle with battles happening throughout the field; groups of seven cars all entering corners together and surprisingly, no one was hurt and no cars got damaged. The three front runners were in a class of their own. Butcha, Welsh and Bromlewe were again swapping the lead regularly so it all came down to the last lap, and indeed the last corner. Bromlewe’s engine had cooked itself with three laps to go as the fan belt had come off so he was a few lengths behind the other two into the last corner. Butcha defended on the inside and Welsh had the lead but on the outside. Both committed to the corner like the Nationals depended on it, which it did. Unfortunately they had a coming together which resulted Butcha’s nose cone coming off and Welsh’s car spinning off the track. Neither of them had lifted off the throttle and both of them described it as a racing incident. They congratulated each other on the finish line after the race before the presentations – no hard feelings. The awards were presented on the start/finish line again and reaffirmed that evening at the dinner held in Hillarys Boat Harbour. Unfortunately, unbeknown to anyone who was racing, the Clerk of Course did not like what happened on the last corner and he did not tell any on the drivers until 1100 the next day that Butcha had been excluded and fined for dangerous driving forcing another car off the track. Extremely bad timing by the officials, which has led to a letter to CAMS form FVAWA asking them to explain the rules regarding when results are declared final, and the officials decisions and timing of those decisions. Butcha was devastated as he started the long drive back to NSW but bounced back during the journey to return to his usual happy self. Tops marks to Steve Butcher – a true gentleman. Despite the ailing engine, Derek Bromlewe was awarded first place on the Monday afternoon. Strangely the decision was announced by the Drivers Liaison Officer on a chatroom webpage rather than officially on the WASCC web page or Natsoft.

The official results have since been amended on Natsoft as follows:

Pos Car  Driver                Vehicle          Race.Time Fastest...Lap
 
1    53  Derek Bromlewe (WA)   Elfin Crusader   14:46.0267    1:12.4498
2    26  Bruce Welsh (WA)      Jacer            14:54.4721    1:12.5376 
3     5  James McDonald (WA)  Elfin             14:57.0896   1:13.5849 
4    28  Stephen Williams (WA)Daverick - MK6    14:57.3867   1:13.1443 
5    71  Rod Lisson (WA)      Sabre             14:57.7868   1:13.7407 
6    91  David Gorbould (WA)  Sabre             14:58.0025   1:13.6323 
7     7  John Cousins (WA)    Ribuck            14:58.2539   1:13.2284 
8    38  Neville Bettridge(WA)Polar PV95        14:58.8759   1:13.1848 
9    77  Allan Yeo (WA)       Vixen             15:02.0956   1:13.4244 
10   33  Deni Razmovski (WA)  Elfin Crusader    15:02.2492   1:13.4901 
11   32  Brett Scarey (WA)    Elfin NG          15:04.8270   1:14.2352 
12   18  Robert Lambe (WA)    RiBuck/Williams   15:04.8338   1:13.8997 
13   15  Andrew Stevens (WA)  Repco V MK1       15:08.4288   1:14.6162 
14   23  Andrew Calvert (WA)  Spectre Vee       15:29.0681   1:15.3069 
DNF  19  Liam Gretgrix (Vic)  Mako 02           
EXC  13  Stephen Butcher (NSW)Stinger 005       

 

A special mention must go to Andrew Calvert. His tow car blew a water pump on the way to the track so he arrived with tow car and race car on the back of a tow truck and took part in the racing. He was at the track until gone 11 on Saturday evening fixing the pump and did not have the best of days racing. If there was an award for persistence, Andrew would get it.

Mia Cucina restaurant provided a great venue with beautiful views over Hillarys Boat Harbour, great food, fantastic music and the opportunity to review the in car footage from the weekend on a screen. FVAWA President Derek Burns presented the awards: DC got the hard charger award for 1600s and Daniel (Chris) Reynolds got the best presented car award. The 1200 awards were obviously changed the next day so they will be presented again at the FVAWA dinner on 18 Nov 11.

 

FVAWA would like to thank all competitors and helpers, particularly those who travelled the full width of the country to be in WA. The organising team would also like to thank again the WA Government through alcoholthinkagain for sponsoring the event. We look forward to Wakefield Park for the 2012 Nationals and just hope that next year officialdom does not get in the way of a great weekend of racing and socialising.

 

 Formula Vee 1600 National Challenge winner                     Daniel Reynolds 78

 

 

Formula Vee 1200 National Challenge winner                     Derek Bromlewe 53

 FVAWA Organising Committee

 

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