After months of waiting the 2017 Queensland Formula Ford Series finally got underway with Round 1 at QLD Raceway. This would be a combined event with a mixed group of faster sports and racing cars; on this occasion mostly Formula 3 cars. Qualifying was split so that only the Formula Fords were on track for the first half of the session. Numbers were a little down with just eight Kent cars battling for the title and two local Duratecs along for some track time ahead of the upcoming National round. It would be a busy weekend though, with five 8 lap races over two days.
Experienced racer, but FF1600 debutant, Tim Hamilton got off to a good start on what looked like a slow track, by claiming pole with a 1:19.9. Dylan Fahey was further back than he would have preferred with a 1:20.78 not quite 2 tenths clear of Tony Chapman. Bob Power, Karla Curtis, Jon Mills and Gary Goulding followed in that order. Paul Milevisky was ill and a non starter. Chapman and Power were sent to the back of the grid after being surprised at failing the minimum weight check. Bob’s crew added some lead while Tony contemplated a massive lunch, but instead found a sturdy rubber bladder to fill with water and hide in the nose cone. In the Duratecs Nathan Herne bested Harri Jones by half a second.
Race one was fairly straight forward for Tim Hamilton, posting a win on debut. Behind him Chapman and Power were coming through from the back, the two of them having a good dice with Jon Mills. This ended with a tangle in turn three dropping Chapman back again, but he recovered to charge back into contention catching Power and Curtis. Curtis held on for second from Chapman and Power with Goulding not too far behind. Mills continued to continued to the end with some rather bent wishbones.
Dylan Fahey and Tim Hamilton enjoyed close racing over the weekend.
Race two was another win for Hamilton but there was plenty of action in the midfield. Despite some leftover damage from race one Chapman was closest and pulled away from a great three way dice for third between Curtis, Power and Fahey. Power faded toward the end but Fahey and Curtis slugged it out in the braking areas until the chequered flag waved. Curtis took the lead on occasions but in the end Fahey prevailed with Gary Goulding a few seconds in arrears of Power. Gary was wrapped to cut his first laps in the 1:22 second bracket.
After this race, Chapman investigating why the starter was not engaging correctly, discovered more damage from race one and packed it in for the weekend with a cracked bell housing. Jon Mills had been a non starter while his crew replaced those bent wish bones.
Everyone was on track bright and early for Race 3 on a sunny Sunday morning. Oddly this 8 lap race went for eleven laps! It made no difference to Hamilton. Who only completed six of them before losing a coil lead. Dylan Fahey had found some pace over night and had been close to Tim this time, and took the win from Power and Curtis. Unusually for these reliable FF 1600s, Goulding and Mills both retired with braking gremlins. Fastest lap went to Hamilton with a 1.19.93 less than a tenth faster than Fahey.
A close battle in progress between Curtis, Mills, Power & Goulding
Race 4 saw Hamilton starting at the rear. We saw a fantastic four car battle for most of this race between him, Fahey, Curtis, and Power with Power, Fahey and Hamilton all taking turns at leading before the battle broke into two, with the intense Hamilton and Fahey battle edging away from the intense Power - Curtis battle. And that was the finishing order. Goulding followed while Mills pulled in on Lap 5 after sticking with the front group for the first part of the race.
Race five again saw a great battle between these four, until like last time the front two broke away to make it really tight at the front, alternating the faster time each lap. In the end the margin was just one and a half tenths in favour of Hamilton. Curtis pipped Power, and Goulding led home Mills.
In the Duratecs our two young chargers had been having fun mixing it with some of the F3 and Formula Renault cars. Herne just had the measure of Jones most of the weekend until the last race when Nathan, being pressured by Harri had a spin in turn four and got collected by a close following Formula 3 car.
Nathan Herne having fun mixing it with the wings and slicks cars.
It seemed a bit like everyone was not quite back in sync after the unusually long break, with little track access for testing. We had more DNFs than usual, but we did see some great racing, and the points at the end of the day reflected that, it is sure to be an interesting season.
- Tim Hamilton - 49 pts
- Karla Curtis - 41 pts
- Dylan Fahey - 40 pts
- Bob Power - 39 pts
- Gary Goulding - 23 pts
See Results page for full standings.
Tim Hamilton, Karla Curtis and Dylan Fahey enjoy the spoils.