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Britons arrive for historic races


V8-powered Formula 5000 single seater race cars are in action at Pukekohe this weekend

British driver Judy Lyons will race a rare Eagle FA74, built by the company owned by ex-Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney, in the MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series’ annual Historic Racing Club meeting at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway, south of Auckland, this weekend.

Her husband Frank will race a Lola T400. The pair are among four international drivers joining the series.

The others are Australians Bob Harborow (Lola T192) and Aaron Lewis (Matich A53).

Another Australian driver, John Bryant, who owns and drives one of the oldest cars in the field, a Lola T140, has already competed here.

He shipped his car over early for the MSC series round at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting in Christchurch at the beginning of the month.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the stock block 5.0-litre-engined single-seater Formula 5000 category, and the local association is celebrating the fact that New Zealand was one of the first territories outside America to run races for the cars.

It was the success of a meeting featuring some of the very first F5000 (or Formula A as they were known in America) racing cars built at the Bay Park circuit at Mount Maunganui on December 28 1968 that prompted New Zealand’s adoption of Formula 5000 as the country's national formula in 1969.

More than 30 original F5000s are now owned and raced by New Zealand enthusiasts.

Of that 30-plus at least 16 are expected on the grid at Pukekohe.

Leading the series after two of the five rounds is Christchurch's Chris Hyde (McRae GM1). He has won all six races contested so far, despite strong and vigorous competition from Ken Smith (Lola T430).

Photo caption: Judy (blue car) and Frank Lyons.

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