NWFF PRE90 2013 preview
Ahead of the opening rounds of the Avon Tyres Northern Formula Ford Championship on Saturday some of the Pre90 competitors have been looking forward to another season of fun in their classic racers.
With Stuart Jones, Ian Parkington and Nigel Dolan all moving up into the Post89s many are expecting series stalwart John Wilkinson to be well placed to collect plenty of silverware after being Class D runner-up in 2013 however the Van Diemen RF86 driver doesn’t think that is necessarily the case. He explains, “There is still a lot of depth in the quality of Pre90 drivers when the likes of Dave Murphy, Matt Ridge, Mario Sarchet, Barry Linley and Bruce Evans take their place on the grid. I also understand there could be a couple new drivers entering the Pre90 class who are expected to be fast.”
In recent years consistently taking the chequered flag in the top six has resulted in respectable end of season points hauls for John who has very humble opinions about his own driving abilities.“There are a lot of drivers who are faster than me,” he muses, “but they sometimes have bad luck or cannot complete the whole season for one reason or another.”
Without taking a break, Wilkinson has raced his RF86 in the Championship for “something like” 12 years. He enthuses, “I enjoy the meetings due the banter in the paddock and the friendliness (most of the time!) of my fellow competitors who, in many cases, are like me in that they prepare the cars themselves. While those in this class are usually working to a tight budget they are always willing to help each other out.”
John spends many hours in his garage readying the Van Diemen for its on-track exploits and in 2013 there will be extra pressure to get everything “spot on” as his son hopes to use the car in hillclimbs and sprints.
Another Pre90 regular is Burnley’s Mario Sarchet who will be returning to the fray with his Van Diemen RF85. He has a RF91 and an ’86 Reynard in his garage but he has had no time to get them ready for circuit use due to helping his son, Tony, with the running of the Hewpro race accessory business which he recently became responsible for.
Hewpro are offering a £50 “Northern Formula Ford Pre90 Driver of the Meeting” Award at every 2013 fixture for which recipients will be chosen for a wide range of reasons. (An identical Post89 prize is available thanks to MedinaSport.) Drivers can also receive a 10% discount on Hewpro purchases if they put one of the company’s stickers on their cars. Mario says, “Our aim is to make motorsport more affordable and so it's great to be in a position to offer something to the competitors in our Championship.”
A man to watch in the Pre90 events will be Jamie Jardine who, having sold his Ray GR11, will be stepping down from the Post89 category. He will be starting the season in David Franklin’s 1984 Reynard which is immaculately prepared by Dave Hart. Jamie enthuses, “The car looks mega – can’t wait to have a go in it!” Meanwhile another Reynard is being built-up to be Jamie’s own car later in the year.