Image: FORMULA JUNIOR
BILL HEMMING reports from Canada
With apologies to non-ANZACS
“WE PI CK UP FROM INDY WHERE, after a great weekend, NEIL MCCRUDDEN from Perth has joined us with his Lotus 20/22 to venture over the border to Canada and The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. This is the unchanged ex-Grand Prix Mosport track, 100kms east of Toronto.
“Despite a grid
of 35 Formula Juniors, a field of “Masters” F1 car
s, plus banners promoting “Celebrating 50 Years of F1 in Canada”,
the meeting has a lovely feel of a small country/picnic event – like Mallala or Morgan Park. The officials are friendly,
drivers’ briefings short and happy, and driver behaviour based on an honour system. Many of you
may have to look up “honour” in the dictionary. If you spin
or make contact with anything or anybody, you take yourself to the stewards for a chat!
Trees instead of grandstands
“Test day Thursday
showed this famous old track to be 100% opposite to Indy. Very fast,
very flowing, very undulating and very daunting. And you can see trees
instead of grandstands. It takes some learning
and experimenting. As first time drivers,
we were advised to expect 10 seconds a lap improvements by the end of the weekend. We all tested except John Rowe
who tested his skills at engine swapping.
thankfully, was on a dry track after a very wet night and morning fog. For afternoon qualifying,
conditions were perfect. Marty Bullock
was 2nd by less than 0.1 sec to Greg Thornton
who was flying, even after getting out of his airline business. Bruce Edgar
and David Watkins
proud with 6th and 8th, followed by Neil McCrudden
9th, Lance Carwardine
12th, Bill Hemming
19th, John Rowe
(finally getting a run, but down on revs and power) at 24th. David Kent,
with a terminally rattly motor, limped in at 29th. Unfortunately Peter Boel’s Pink Panther
expired beside the track and both Marty
and David Watkins
elegantly spun on a very oily track.
“That night the party kicked off
with a roaming meal. BBQ wings at one end of the paddock, turkey subs at another end and ice cream at the start/finish line. All with lashings
of the sponsors ale: Steam Whistle Pilsner
(well worth a free plug). The Mud Men
– a fantastic band – played into the night, and inevitably the ANZACS
were first on the dance floor and the last to leave.
“Race 1 Saturday
went for a very, very long 27 minutes- at our ages, this felt like a significant slice out of our remaining years. David Kent (Lynx)
and Peter (Panther)
elected not to start, Lance (Lynx)
ran hot and retired, and David Watkins (Elfin)
drenched his motor in oil from a loose fitting. This left Marty (Lotus 27)
to assume his normal position as bridesmaid, 28 seconds ahead of the 3rd placegetter. Neil McCrudden (Lotus 20/22)
drove hard and well for a 6th, with Bruce Edgar (Elfin)
7th, Bill (Tojeiro, but should have brought his Elfin)
15th and John (Lotus 18)
You call that a tornado?
“Getting ready for Race 2
(due at 5pm) brought rain, and a real live Canadian Tornado warning! We all had to take cover
and racing was cancelled. But what a fizzer – a
bit of lightning and rain and half an hour later it was all over. Crocodile Dundee
would have said: “You call that a tornado?”.
“So we lined up
for race 2 about 45 minutes late and took to a slightly damp track. Everyone was circumspect
and the only casualty was Dave Watkins’ Elfin
which was parked on lap 2 with lost bearings (not just in his engine, he was facing the wrong way on the track). This time
a hot local driver relegated Marty
to 3rd, Neil
12th and Bill
14th after John
retired his Lotus
after five laps with oil loss issues.
Championship Feature Race
“Saturday night was another show of Canadian hospitality
with a beaut hot meal and yet another band in the camping grounds.
was billed as our championship feature race, so we all polished our cars and got to the dummy grid on time, except for the dearly departed Elfin (Watkins)
, Lynx (Kent)
and Panther (Boel). At the 1 minute
start your engines sign we were all revved up with no place to go
, when the grid marshals ran up and down screaming “get out of your cars”. Another bloody storm warning!
Frilly lace knickers
just as we all huddled and cuddled in the marshals’ tent, it really did piss down. At the all clear, after 20 minutes,
we were back in the cars and went swimming.
“Boy was it wet!
And slippery! On the rolling start
warm-up lap three cars went off into the wall, including Neil McCrudden. At the green start flag,
a leading Cooper
spun into the wall on the straight. John Rowe’s Lotus
gave up after one lap when his carby socks filled with water. Fifteen cars
didn’t make it to the end. Only 18 cars
did the 21 minute distance, with everyone nearly one, minute a lap slower than the previous day.
“At the chequered flag
(he could have waved a pair of frilly lace knickers
and it wouldn’t have looked any more appealing). Marty
finished 7th, Bill
14th and Lance
Cooper T69 takes to the air!
“The final race
of the weekend started well enough – but not for long! Bill’s Tojeiro
lost its distributor cap at the green flag (and fortunately got missed by all those following). Lance’s Lynx
broke a rear stub axle after one lap and his own wheel beat him to the side of the track. John’s Lotus
had oil everywhere but in the motor, and he bailed out after two laps.
“But on the final lap
we saw a monumental prang when Ed Moore
in a very rapid Cooper T59,
went over the front wheel of the Sadler
of Nigel Russell
. The Cooper
took to the air, missing a bridge by inches, then barrel-rolled three times. Both cars were totalled
and taken for neck MRIs and a busted hand.
“Finishing under a red flag
saw the surviving Aussies Marty
, 2nd (again!), Neil
9th and Bruce
“Despite a disastrous final race,
our Mosport weekend was a triumph. Several cars
are now off to JR Mitchell’s Connecticut
workshop for minor and major rebuilds for Mid Ohio
next weekend. Those with wives
are going via Niagara (probably armed with Viagra) Falls!”
EDITED by AC