BRSCC Rockingham Race Weekend FJHRA
FJHRA UK Championship – Round 8
Most of the drivers entered for this championship race had never seen Rockingham Motor Speedway , though the Junior Junior series had staged a race there last year. The weather seemed set fair for a nice day and so it turned out. There were a couple of late entries ; Edwin Jowsey in his Lotus 22 , also running in the Formula 3 race in his Dallara , and Andrew Hibberd trying Mike’s Lotus 27 for size, with a view to driving it in the Silverstone Classic.
The Qualifying sessions were running a little early; it was quite a trek to the pit wall from the outer paddock ,two lifts and a long tunnel. Looking over the pit wall at the banked oval track was strange, like being in a giant Goldfish bowl, acres of concrete all around. Mark Woodhouse later remarked that driving round the banking was a bit intimidating, all that sloping track with a concrete wall waiting for you at the top.
Edwin Jowsey’s Lotus 22 set the pace early in the session on 1.31.876 with Jon Milicevic ( Cooper T59 ) not too far behind, Edwin pitting during qualifying but continued. Mark Woodhouse was third fastest in his 20/22. Callum McLeod in the Caravelle Mk II, having its first race since Easter 1961 at Brands Hatch, was best in class D on time (1.37.135) but early into the pits and only managed a couple of laps with original Martin engine off song. Chris Drake Elva 300 was second in class D.
Jack Woodhouse was seventh overall and best of the front engined runners, in his Elva 100 with a lap in 1.40.684.
Andrew Hibberd was not finding the Lotus 27 easy on this circuit, it was out of sorts so he cut the session short.
It was interesting watching the Juniors in these surroundings, to me they were a bit of a mis-match , our cars looking lost in this huge stadium.
It was nice to see Bill Grimshaw lapping round in the Moorland and a first for me, Kevin Musson in the Lola Mk3, ex-Garry Ryan, and now back on correct drum brakes, instead of his familiar Lotus 18.
During the break between Qualifying and the race there was plenty of activity in the paddock with Andrew Hibberd changing the ratios in the Lotus 27.
Ian Bankhurst’s Gemini Mk II seemed to be having a complete rebuild close by.
Andy Bradshaw stopped for a chat and said how nice it was to see the Jack Woodhouse in Mark’s Elva ,Andrew Hibberd in his dad’s Lotus, and Edwin in Clifford’s Lotus 22 after seeing them first as lads growing up in the race paddocks.
Race seven was under way almost on time though the cars were held in the assembly area for some time, as a Fiat Punto had rolled on the last corner of the previous race; driver OK.
The start was smoothly managed from high up on the Indy type gantry and it was Edwin Jowsey and Jon Milicivec jockeying for the lead side by side on the lefthander where the infield circuit leaves the banked track, Edwin briefly had the advantage only to lose it when he went off in a cloud of dust at Tarzan hairpin.
These two remained very close for the early laps of the race.
The commentator was getting very excited about an incident between the leading pair , Edwin being forceful in his determination, but Jon emerged unscathed, and Edwin was to be grateous after the race and compliment Jon on his well deserved win
Andrew Hibberd retired the Lotus 27 on lap three with lack of power.
On lap five Edwin pulled over on the grass in the pit straight when he felt hot water spraying over his back, the radiator cap having let go.
There was a great battle going on near the back, with David Crowther ( 22) being much the hare on the straights , and Kevin Musson , Richard Utley , in the Mk I Caravelle, and Duncan Rabagliati, the tortoises, catching up on the corners , but alas Duncan retired his Alexis on lap five when a plug lead came off the distributor, and Edwin’s rather too forceful lappery, before his final spin and retirement, had disrupted the battle , .
Edwin’s demise put Jon’s Cooper T59 firmly into the lead , although Sid Hoole, returning to his FJ roots of 30 years previously [ with only Sue to help “ mechanic” ] briefly had his Brabham BT6 into second place, before running out of petrol – sadly he’d accepted the advice from Kimbolton that only 20 litres would be needed for the day ! The chase was resumed when Mark Woodhouse cleared some lapped cars and moved into second place, by now though well out of touch with the leader.
Chris Drake was up to third overall in his Elva 300 leading class D.
Linden Brand , who had also been “ light on fuel” in practice, was now in fourth in father’s 22, making a great debut in FJ , after successes in 750 events.
Jack Woodhouse in the Elva 100 was leading class B in a healthy fifth spot, with Crispian Besley his nearest challenger also in his Elva 100 in sixth.
Andrew Taylor had his Envoy, rebuilt and first time out since the Brands Hatch Jubilee celebrations in seventh place leading class C albeit a lap behind the leaders, but taking a couple of points away from former joint Championship leader, John Hutchinson, Senior. Further back, former multi-Champion Tony Steele was having a quiet race in his Lola Mk 2, enlivened by a couple of spins , while Justin Fleming ( ex David Watts Elva 100 ), back overnight from the Greek Islands , was pleased to record a finish
After the earlier excitement , the race had settled down into a sort of strung out configuration, unusual in Junior racing, more common perhaps in F1 !
17 cars finished out of the 23 starters.
Winner and first in class E Jon Milicevic Cooper T59
Second and second in class E Mark Woodhouse Lotus 20/22
Third and first in class D Chris Drake Elva 300
Fourth and third in class E Linden Brand Lotus 22
Fifth and first in class B Jack Woodhouse Elva 100
Seventh and first in class C Andrew Taylor Envoy.
Fastest lap Jon Milicivic Cooper T59 1.31 915
Stan Hibberd ( with DCPR ) 20th July 2009