Callum Crawley has won the 2018/19 North Island Formula Ford Series in his rookie season. The 2017/18 NZ Formula First champion and 2018/19 NZ Formula 1600 Rookie of the Year finished his first season in Formula Ford racing in style, claiming three wins from three races aboard his Spectrum 016 at Taupo last weekend.
Leading into the weekend, only 22-points separated Crawley of Feilding and Alex Hawley of Pukekohe
Many drivers in the 20-car field, consisting of 13 Formula Fords and seven Formula Juniors, were caught out in the cool conditions for qualifying.
Cameron Tanner (Van Diemen #68) locked a wheel and ran into the turn 2 escape road on his first flying lap, hindering the progress of others with yellow flags. Most notably though was the absence of Crawley, who was affected by engine issues resulting in loss of power. The session was eventually red-flagged early, a result of Hawley (Stealth #41) spinning into the gravel at turn 3.
Hawley had set the fastest time by a convincing 1.3 seconds over Kim Crocker (Van Diemen #6), however the deletion of his fastest time for the red flag promoted Crocker to his first pole of the season. David Silverton lined up P2 on the grid and Hawley finishing P4 with his second best time. Crawley would start from the back of the Formula Ford grid in 13th, a long way behind title rival Hawley.
Race 1 was an impressive affair for Crawley, who had a dream start to make up eight spots on the first lap and eventually win with a 2.4 second lead over Crocker. The podium being completed by Hawley who once again had engine dramas slowing him down on the exit of Hamptons downs’ multiple hairpins. Tony Graham was fourth and Nick Buxeda completed the top five. Both managing to pass Silverton who finished sixth, the top 10 being completed by Grant Campbell, Phil Foulkes, Paul Dold and Cameron Tanner.
The second race was a lights to flag triumph for Crawley. Due to setting the fastest lap of the day in the first race, a 1:10.552, Crawley started on pole and was not troubled all race, taking the checkered flag with an impressive 9.4 second lead. Crocker made the most of his starting position to gain another second place, Buxeda making it onto the podium for the second round in a row in his near identical Van Diemen. Graham finished impressively in fourth once again, while Cameron Tanner gained a season best finish of fifth after some close racing with Silverton (6th) and Campbell (7th). The top 10 was filled by Phil Foulkes, Geoff Bogue and Paul Dold.
Hawley failed to make the start line for Race 2, pulling into the pit lane after the formation lap, ironically having a similar issue to that of championship rival Crawley in qualifying.
The final race of the season was much like the previous race, Crawley once again had a convincing win with a margin of 10 seconds. Crocker, Buxeda and Graham continuing on their three-way scrap for second, all three cars separated at the line by only 2.2 seconds. Hawley managed to make the grid, however slowed going through turn 2, this allowed Silverton and Campbell to seize the opportunity to pass the boxed in Tanner and the slowing Hawley. Tanner managed to re-pass Silverton and Campbell to gain fifth place back before a bent valve resulted in a DNF, while Silverton fell back towards the end of the race, resulting in Campbell finishing 5fifth, and Silverton in sixth. Paul Dold, Geoff Bogue, Vic Clarke and Robert Corbett completed the top 10
After five rounds of racing, three different winners and pole sitters, the title was awarded to Crawley of Fielding. Hawley finished second after a very strong start in October, eventually losing out due to reliability woes.
Missing the first two rounds did not seem to affect Crocker. Bouncing back in a strong way with two second round placings and one fourth, Crocker was only seven-points behind Hawley at the seasons end.
Hawley did take out Class 2 honours by a comfortable 111 points, while Silverton was top in class 3, 36 points clear of Graham
The North Island Formula Ford series will continue in the 2019/20 season, with some more great action and close racing assured!