This was the one and only ICSCC (International Conference of Sports Car Clubs) Championship race weekend to be held at Mission Raceway this season. It had all the promise of a great weekend of racing as we had 4 time ICSCC Club Ford Champion James Hepburn entered along with Washington State drivers Larry Bangert, Mark Keller and Bruce Boyd joining us. In addition local driver Rick Payne was back in Alan Long’s Crossle 40F. The weekend had all the earmarks of 3 very good Formula Ford races with 4 new challengers for our regular Mission group of drivers to take on.
In ICSCC the Formula Ford group has been split into 2 classes, Club Ford and Formula Ford. Club Ford is a subclass of Formula Ford but it is for cars built before 1981 and they race on a spec American Racer tire. Formula Ford is open to all cars regardless of age and there is no designated spec tire rule. For the ease of the readers of this report I have lumped all the cars together in 1 group as Formula Fords. At the end of each day’s race report the finishing positions of all drivers is shown and those entered in ICSCC Club Ford are noted. This hopefully will make the race reports flow much better and make them easier to follow.
With the compressed daily schedule of 3 races for all classes over a single weekend there was no time for the usual practice/warm up sessions first thing in the mornings. Instead the drivers had to go straight to their qualifying sessions, which on Saturday morning meant a couple of our Washington State drivers didn’t have an opportunity to check out their gearing before the start of qualifying. Both Larry Bangert and Mark Keller had chosen gear ratios for their cars that were too low for the track and their laptimes suffered as a consequence. Larry in his 1979 Crossle 35F was only able to turn a fast qualifying lap at 1:16.252 and Mark in his 1978 Crossle 32F turned a fastest lap of 1:16.699. This was not an issue for James Hepburn, the current ICSCC Club Ford points leader, as he turned a fast time of 1:12.197 in his 1979 Crossle 35F to gain the pole position among the Formula Fords. He was followed by our current CACC Formula Ford points leader Alan McColl in his 1977 Tiga FF77 with a fastest lap of 1:12.280. These were the only 2 drivers to break into the 1:12 second lap times. They were followed by Keith Robinson in his 1979 Van Diemen RF79 at 1:14.284, by Dave McKay in his 1984 Lola 644 with a quickest lap of 1:14.655 and Doug Floer in his 1981 Van Diemen RF81 at 1:15.565. Next up was Frank Winterlik in his 1982 Van Diemen RF82 at 1:15.874 and Bruce Boyd in his 1977 Tiga FF77 at 1:16.198. They were followed by Larry Bangert and Mark Keller as well as Alan Baker in his 1989 Van Diemen RF89 at 1:17.564. Unfortunately Rick Payne in a 1980 Crossle 40F did not qualify so he would have to start the race from the back of the grid.
At the drop of the green flag to start the race it was James and Alan McColl who lead the field into Turn #1. Alan was able to get inside of James under braking for the corner and into the lead of the Formula Ford race. Turn #1 was to provide some more excitement, further back in the field Bruce Boyd and Frank Winterlik tangled with each other. Bruce’s left front tire hit the right rear tire of Frank’s car sending both of them sliding to the outside of the corner and turning Frank’s car around so that it was facing the wrong direction. As luck would have it no other cars were involved and both drivers were eventually able to get their cars restarted and they rejoined the race. Then on the next lap Mark Keller dropped his left rear wheel into the dirt on the exit of Turn #1 which resulted in him spinning across the track coming to rest on the grass on the right hand side of the track. This spin dropped him from 6th place down to 9th place.
The best start of the race belonged to Rick Payne who went from dead last up to 3rd place within 7 laps. Unfortunately his race came to a premature end on lap 23 of 25 as he stopped his car in Turn #6 with a gearbox problem. Both Dave McKay and Keith Robinson were involved in their own battle right from the start of the race. Dave passed Keith on Lap #3 and for the next 16 laps Keith dogged Dave looking for a way past him. At one point Keith tried a half-hearted attempted at overtaking and he stuck the nose of his car to the inside of Dave’s car going in Turn #2. The result was Dave’s Lola unceremoniously knocking the nose off of Keith’s Van Diemen. This seemed to fire Keith up as shortly there after his Van Diemen, sans nose cone, drafted by Dave’s Lola down the front straight into the Turn #1 braking zone. Once by Dave he was able to maintain his position to finish a well deserved 3rd while Dave finished in 4th place.
Another fine battle taking place involved Doug Floer and Larry Bangert. Off the start Larry got the jump on Doug and managed to hold onto his advantage over him for the next 11 laps. Then on Lap #12 Doug finally found a way past Larry but on the next lap Larry had returned the favor and repassed Doug again. It took Doug another 6 laps to make his way past Larry which he did on Lap #22. This time, once Doug past Larry, he was able to hang onto his position and he finished the race in 5th place with Larry coming in 6th.
For Mark Keller it was an eventfully race, in addition to his early race spin he also damaged the nose of his car later on which resulted in him having to make a pit stop on Lap #21 to have the loose nose cone removed. This dropped him 3 positions and he finished the day in 11th place. Alan Baker, Bruce Boyd and Frank Winterlik all benefited from Mark’s having to pit.
Up at the front of the race both Alan McColl and James Hepburn were having a tremendous scrap for the lead and in the process they pulled away from the rest of the field. The intensity of their battle resulted in both of them turning a quicker lap in the race than they had in qualifying. On lap #11 Alan turned his fastest lap of the race at 1:12.094 and on the very next lap James turned his fastest lap at 1:11.989. Alan had remained in the lead of the race from the opening lap but James’ black Crossle was stuck to the back of Alan’s Tiga for lap after lap. Then on lap #20 as they entered Turn #9 a car they were overtaking spun out mid corner in front of both of them. Alan chose to go to the high side of the track to go around the spinning car and James went for the low side. For James it was the wrong way to go as the car spun directly into this path and although he was almost able to come to a stop his right front wheel made contact with the other car. By the time he got untangled from this car and got going again, Alan was long gone and the battle for the lead was over. James did manage to complete the race and brought his damaged car home in 2nd place.
The finishing order among the Formula Fords was:
1st – Alan McColl
2nd – James Hepburn (1st in ICSCC Club Ford)
3rd – Keith Robinson
4th – David McKay
5th – Doug Floer
6th – Larry Bangert (2nd in ICSCC Club Ford)
7th – Alan Baker
8th – Rick Payne
9th – Bruce Boyd
10th – Frank Winterlik
11th- Mark Keller ( 3rd in ICSCC Club Ford)
Sunday morning’s qualifying session produced a front row, for the Formula Ford group, that was a carbon copy of the day before. James Hepburn in his 1979 Crossle 35F was on the pole with a lap time of 1:11.994 and beside him was Alan McColl in his 1977 Tiga FF77 at 1:12.358. They were followed by Mark Keller in his 1978 Crossle 32F at 1:14.092 and Rick Payne in a 1980 Crossle 40F at 1:14.192. Behind them came Larry Bangert in his 1979 Crossle 35F at 1:14.208 and Doug Floer in his 1981 Van Diemen RF81 at 1:14.873. Next up was David McKay in his 1984 Lola 644 at 1:15.140 and Keith Robinson in his 1979 Van Diemen RF79 at 1:15.188. Then came Frank Winterlik in his 1982 Van Diemen RF82 at 1:15.272 and Alan Baker in his 1989 Van Diemen RF89 at 1:16.816. Unfortunately Bruce Boyd decided to withdraw from the race weekend when he determined that he was not able to repair the damage to his steering rack caused in his coming together with Frank Winterlik’s car in Saturday’s race.
The drama started real early in this race, even before the cars had made it onto the track. As the cars were released from pregrid to start their pace lap, the engine in Rick Payne’s Crossle refused to fire up. This meant he lost his qualifying position and after all the other cars had left he was able to get a push start but he now had to start the race from the back of the grid. When the starter waived the green flag to get the race underway it was James Hepburn who lead the field into Turn #1. Seems he was determined not to have a repeat of the start of Saturday’s race when he was overtaken into Turn #1 by Alan McColl. Keith Robinson had made a very good start, passing Doug Floer, and he was right up with the Formula Ford leaders as they exited the first corner. Unfortunately Keith was not able to match their pace in the opening laps and he began to slowly drop back. James held the lead for the next 2 laps, then as he and Alan headed for Turn #1 on Lap #3 Alan made his move under braking to take over the lead. It was to be a short lived lead as on Lap #7 James pulled the exact same move on Alan as they headed into Turn #1. Up to this point in the race there was nothing between these 2 drivers as their cars were nose to tail for lap after lap. Following James’ out braking maneuver back on Lap #7 Alan was looking for another opportunity to get past him. His chance came within a couple of laps as he used the draft from James’ car as they went down the front straightaway to pull even with him going into Turn #1. Unfortunately for Alan his rear brakes locked up causing him to spin out and he narrowly missed hitting the wall. Having stalled his car after spinning out by the time he got it restarted James was long gone and it was a disappointing end to what could have been a great battle right to the checkered flag. Despite his spin Alan did not lose any positions on the track and he still managed to finish in 2nd place in Formula Ford although he was a fair distance behind the race winner James Hepburn who drove a near flawless race.
Further back in the field Rick Payne was making another inspired charge from the back of the grid similar to the one he made the day before. He again passed most of the field and once more by Lap #7 he was in 3rd place but to far back from the leaders to make any further headway. Then on Lap #12 his race came to an end due to a severe engine misfire. With Rick’s retirement from the race Keith Robinson assumed 3rd place but his position was soon under attack from Dave McKay. Dave had fought his way back up to Keith after a spin in Turn #5 earlier in the race as he tried to stay with Rick Payne. With 3rd place clearly within his grasp Dave made his move passing Keith on Lap #14, but Keith was having none of it as he repassed Dave 2 laps later. For the next 5 laps Dave dogged Keith looking for a way past him but to no avail as Keith was able to hang on until the checkered flag to claim a hard fought 3rd place and Dave finished in 4th.
The 5th place position went to Larry Bangert, early in the race he and Dave McKay had been involved in an entertaining dice that lasted quite a few laps. The 2 of them were being closely followed by Mark Keller and Doug Floer. For awhile it was a 4 car train then slowly Dave and Larry began to put some distance between themselves and the duo of Mark and Doug. Unfortunately in the heat of their battle the nose on Larry’s Crossle touched the left rear wheel of Dave’s car, as they went through Turn #2, and it was knocked off. With the aerodynamics of his car now compromised, Larry slowly slipped back from Dave’s Lola as he was not able to keep pace with him. The best he could do was to maintain this track position for the remainder of the race.
For Doug Floer he was not able to capitalize on his good start to the race that saw him up to 3rd place on the opening lap. Unfortunately for him by the end of that 1st lap he had dropped a position to Keith Robinson and within a couple more laps he had been demoted all the way down to 8th place in Formula Ford. He was passed by Mark Keller, Dave McKay, Larry Bangert and Rick Payne in his fall down the order. On Lap #9 he had repast Mark Keller to move up a position and when Rick Payne retired he gained another position. At the checkered flag he was in 6th place with Mark Keller right behind him in 7th followed by Alan Baker in 8th and Frank Winterlik in 9th place.
The finishing order among the Formula Fords was:
1st – James Hepburn (also 1st in ICSCC Club Ford)
2nd- Alan McColl
3rd – Keith Robinson
4th – Dave McKay
5th – Larry Bangert (2nd in ICSCC Club Ford)
6th – Doug Floer
7th – Mark Keller (3rd in ICSCC Club Ford)
8th – Alan Baker
9th – Frank Winterlik
10th – Rick Payne
The final race of this 3 day weekend was on the Labour Day Monday. Following the morning qualifying session we once again had the now familiar sight of James Hepburn on the pole position for the Formula Ford group. He turned a fastest lap time of 1:12.130 in his 1979 Crossle 35F. He was followed by Alan McColl in his 1977 Tiga FF77 at 1:12.364 and Larry Bangert in his 1979 Crossle 35F at 1:13.867. Lining up beside Larry would be Mark Keller in a 1978 Crossle 32F at 1:14.216, then came Dave McKay in his 1984 Lola 644 at 1:14.252 and Doug Floer in his 1981 Van Diemen RF81 at 1:14.813. They were ahead of Keith Robinson in a 1979 Van Diemen RF79 at 1:15.363, Alan Baker in a 1989 Van Diemen RF89 at 1:15.472 and Rick Payne in a 1980 Crossle 40F at 1:18.230. The engine misfire that had plagued Rick during Sunday’s race was still there despite all their work overnight to try and fix the problem. The grid was 1 car short for this race as Frank Winterlik had decided to leave early to avoid traffic problems on his trip home to Kelowna.
With the cars lined up in pregrid waiting to go onto the track for their pace lap Alan McColl’s Tiga refused to start when the 1 minute warning was given. This meant he would require a push start but it also resulted in him losing his grid position and he would have to start the race at the back of the field. When the green flag was waved to start the race it was Rick Payne, his engine misfire now cured, who made the demon start and he got inside of James Hepburn under braking for Turn #1 to lead the field around for the 1st lap. His lead was to be short lived as James swept past him on the next lap going into Turn #1 to take over 1st place. From that moment on it looked very much like James had command of the race as he was able to pull away from Rick over the next several laps. At the start of the race Alan had started to pass several drivers and was climbing his way back up the grid order. By Lap #10 he was back into 2nd place having dispatched the rest of the field with the exception of James Hepburn but it appeared his charge to the front had now come to an end as he was to far back from James to be able to catch him. Then fortune appeared to smile on Alan and it looked like he would be given an opportunity to fight with James for the lead. It came on Lap #14 in the form of a black flag that stopped the race, thereby erasing the lead that James had worked so hard to build up. As Larry Bangert and Dave McKay were attempting to pass Rick Payne going into Turn #1 Dave’s Lola made contact with the rear tire on Larry’s Crossle. This coming together resulted in front suspension damage to Dave’s car rendering it non-drivable. For Larry the result was much more favorable as his car sustained no damage and he was able to continue on with his race. Dave’s car had come to rest in a rather precarious spot down in Turn #1 and the race officials decide to temporarily stop the race to allow the corner marshals the chance to move his car to a safer location. All the cars were brought onto the pit lane and there they were lined up in the positions they were in on the lap proceeding the black flag. For Alan, Dave’s misfortune had turned into the chance he needed to get back into a position to be able to challenge James for the lead of the race and the win. However, after the cars where released from the pits to restart the race it was James who got the jump on Alan as they exited Turn #9 heading for the starter’s stand and the green flag. Alan tried for the remaining 7 laps to find a way past James’ Crossle and despite being glued to his gearbox he was not able to get around him. James ran a very strong last 7 laps making no mistakes and not leaving any openings for Alan to take advantage of.
Aside from the 2 leaders there were several other good battles going on further back in the field. Right from the start Larry Bangert and Mark Keller had a dice that saw them swapping places a couple of times in the early laps of the race. Their fight was then joined by Dave McKay and on Lap #9 he passed Mark and began to hound Larry for the 4th place position. Dave’s race unfortunately came to an sudden end on Lap #14 when he and Larry were trying to overtake 3rd place runner Rick Payne going in Turn#1. For Larry, while he no longer had his mirrors full of Dave’s Lola he now had to contend with Rick who was not going to surrender his 3rd place position without a fight. On Lap #22 Rick seized his chance and was able to repass Larry and take back the position. With the 2 of them running nose to tail through Turn #9, Larry spun out thereby handing 3rd place to Rick. Larry’s off track excursion promoted Mark Keller back into 4th place, but he was in a major tussle of his own with Doug Floer who had been right behind him for a number of laps. With only 1 lap to go Doug made his move on Mark and was able to get past him but Mark was not done yet and as both cars exited Turn #9 onto the front straight they were side by side heading for the checkered flag. As they crossed the finish line it was Doug just inching out Mark to hold onto 4th place. They were followed home by Keith Robinson, Larry Bangert and Alan Baker.
The finishing order among the Formula Fords was:
1st – James Hepburn ( also 1st in ICSCC Club Ford)
2nd – Alan McColl
3rd – Rick Payne
4th – Doug Floer
5th – Mark Keller (2nd in ICSCC Club Ford)
6th – Keith Robinson
7th – Larry Bangert ( 3rd in ICSCC Club Ford)
8th – Alan Baker