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Whelan's Formula Ford hat trick


John Whelan (Stealth) took a hat trick of wins in the South Island Formula Ford races at Ruapuna, near Christchurch, last weekend.

The clean-sweep followed on from his national championship race win at Teretonga last month.
In the first race, he was followed home by Nick Donaldson’s Van Dieman RF90 and former national champion John Crawford making a return to racing with one of his Motorsport Solutions Stealths.

While Whelan led the second race throughout, Donaldson and Caine Lobb (Stealth) battled with Lobb getting by on the run along Castrol to take second. Donaldson finished third ahead of Crawford.

Donaldson led the first two laps of the third encounter, but once Whelan got by,
he was able to draw away.

Lobb also got by Donaldson and the three finished in that order with James Mitchell (Stealth) this time taking fourth ahead of Crawford.

Jason Galbraith’s black Plymouth led the Kumho South Island Pre-65 scratch race throughout, with Wayne Tuffley’s Ford Mustang in close attendance. Steve Ross (Mustang) bogged down at the start,
but fought back up to finish third ahead of Tony Jeffs’ Ford Galaxie.

In the reverse top six race, Galbraith was quickly in front, but Ross stuck doggedly in his tracks, and entering the last lap got alongside on the inside line as the two headed down Castrol straight into Pot Hole corner.

In a horrific looking accident the two touched and Ross’ car spun off the circuit hitting a marshal’s post. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but the multiple-championship winning Mustang was badly bent.
The race was red-flagged and the finishing order given a lap back as Galbraith, Ross and Tuffley.

Galbraith didn’t start the handicap race and Jeffs battled with Manny Sim (Mustang) throughout before taking the win with the Galaxie.

John Michelle finished third with his Ford Cortina and was the fastest of the C Class runners all day.
Elton Wichman from Auckland, with his Pro 7 Plus (Mazda RX7) car, was the easy winner of the all three Pro 7 races.

But the battle among the older Pro 7s held more interest. In the first race Mark Elliot shook off an early challenge from Nigel Bunny to finish first Pro 7 behind Wichman and the other Pro 7 Plus car of Shane Paget.

In the second race it was Jeremy Grice who led the Pro 7 runners with Elliot and Bunny next before the race was red-flagged after an accident among the Mini 7s which were running concurrently.
Elliot and Grice got close enough to touch in the third encounter but Elliot led the Pro 7s home in second overall behind Wichman, as Paget was a non starter. Grice finished second Pro 7 ahead of Bunny.

Gary Johnstone was in a class on his own, winning the three Mini 7 races. In the opening race, he was chased by Kent Yarrall until Yarrall retired and this left a sizeable gap back to the second place car of Damon Wilson.

It was Johnstone again in the second race, who was red-flagged near the end when Paul Bennison’s car rolled at the hairpin. Mark Donaldson finished second ahead of Wilson, who had fought his way past Scott Paterson.

Yarrall returned for the third race and followed Johnstone home to take second with Wilson third.

Story by John Hawkins

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