3rd-5th August 2012 - Croft
Dean Goes Forward to Two Wins
Dean goes Forward to two wins
Croft Nostalgia Weekend
August 3rd – 5th 2012
This meeting at Croft represented the next step forward for Historic F3 with a second dedicated double header of the year. The meeting received an encouraging 22 entries with quite a few arriving for testing on Friday, which most people survived without drama accept Ferdi (Ferdinand Gustafson);after coming all the way from the depths of Sweden he managed to collect something very solid with the left rear, resulting in a broken rear upright. Fortunately Steve Wilkinson offered to lone him one from his Brabham. A trip back to Steve’s workshop near Oulton and a late night, saw the BT18 looking as good as normal before qualifying on Saturday morning. Clas Muller suffered an engine failure in his Brabham BT28, with an apparent broken cam, with no simple solution to this his weekend was over.
Qualifying saw six drivers, second to seventh, covered by a second, however the star of qualifying was Dean Forward, Brabham BT21B. Dean is quickly adapting to single seaters and despite the loss of his undertray at Sunny, he put his local knowledge to good use to end up comfortably clear of the rest of the field with a time of 1:33.559., still a little short of that set by David Methley in 2011 of 1:32.852. Delayed at the start of qualifying by a starter issue Keith Messer, Vesey, made the best of the deserted track and the red flag, (shown to allow Roland Fischer’s Tecno to be extricated from Clervaux), and was leading the times until the last few minutes when he was pushed back to third. Nigel Bancroft, with the Chevron B17 struggling for grip, pipped Keith to second by 0.048 of a second. Ferdi took it cautiously, still learning the circuit; Peter Hamilton, having an outing in the Andrew Thorpe March 703, looked to be enjoying it and going well as was Jim Chapman in the freshly re-painted Lotus 59 looking and sounding superb. Francois Derossi with brake balance issues was fortunate not to repeat the Roland Fischer manoeuvre at the end of practice, stopping short of the barriers. Vincent Rivet failed to make qualifying when forced to withdraw with the engine sounding rough on start up. Juerg Tobler had to qualify out of session, travel commitments having delayed his arrival. Christoph Widmer’s freshly rebuilt engine did not want to keep the oil inside, and kept pumping it out after only a few laps.
Unusually the whole of the grid seemed to make a slow start but in unison, resulting in a bit of a scrabble in the first corner, Clervaux, but all got through without problems though Steve Seaman Brabham BT21 did run very wide. Forward made a quick break with the rest of the field being slightly held by Bancroft’s Chevron, still struggling for grip and now also with clutch slip. Messer had lost out at the start but quickly regained the place as Derossi fought for gears into the Chicane and then passed Bancroft into Tower on lap two. With the Vesey settled in second for five laps, behind Bancroft and Tizzard fought for third place. Despite the Chevron’s problems Bancroft was close enough to capitalise on a slight mistake by Messer and he was back to second. Tizzard was also gained and was past Messer and then Bancroft’s orange Chevron into second.
Jim Timms, another quickly adapting to HF3 and the Brabham BT21, got the better of the battle with Leif Bosson BT28 for fifth place. Juerg Tobler starting from the back of the grid and still learning the circuit, finished in 9th, behind Seaman and Hamilton. Tim Kary with Brabham BT28 a bit out of sorts, a tappet had backed off, completed the top ten. Mauro Poponcini in the Cooper T76, looking for more early cars to come and join him, won Class A. Nigel Winchester, Mauro’s only competition suffering a misfire in the Mallock. Christoph Widmer despite much paddock support was forced to retire the Brabham when it continued to pump its oil out.
Despite the grid making a much better start for race two, however it was the same story as race one, with Dean Forward again dominating and pulling well clear to take a comfortable 11 second victory and fastest lap. Initially behind Forward; Bancroft, Messer and Tizzard ran together however Messer had a half spin when he challenged Bancroft for second at Sunny Out. Messer gradually dropping back after this, driver overheating and an occasional reluctant gear change, to finish 8th. Kary, tappets reset, made an excellent start and was able to slowly pick off the cars ahead to take a well earned 2nd. The first race contest between Tizzard and Bancroft was continued and finally resolved in favour of the former but he was unable to catch Kary. Timms had another good run to 5th as did Chapman to 6th; Derossi just caught Messer at the end resisting a move from Messer at Sunny out on lap 9. Tobler had a subdued race to 9th. Seaman had a lonely race ahead of Class A winner Nigel Winchester who enjoyed a race long battle with Thorpe. Leif Bosson in the usually ultra reliable Brabham BT28 had the clutch fail, on lap 6. Peter Froude Tecno had a good first race but was unfortunate to have a spin in the second from which he did not recover. The March of Peter Hamilton was another to suffer clutch problems this time with slave cylinder forcing retirement on lap six.
The Croft Nostalgia weekend, dry this year throughout the HF3 racing, is always a great meeting with plenty of off track spectacle topped this year with an air display by a Spitfire, but also gave some good on track spectacle from the Historic F3 cars.
Social event of the weekend was the Saturday night barbecue hosted by messrs. Tizzard, Chapman and Kary; this was held in traditional HF3 weather a torrential downpour but was much appreciated by all the ‘HF3 circus’
Next race Oulton Park Gold Cup Meeting for a Classic Racing Car encounter, then the Brands Hatch HF3 double header and on to the season finale at Dijon.
Mike Faloon and Keith Messer