Apr 23, 2014
FORMULA FORD SET FOR NATIONALS RETURN
NATIONAL-LEVEL Formula Ford will return to Mallala Motorsport Park for the first time since 2006 when the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals returns to the South Australian circuit this week.
Then, current V8 Supercar star Tim Slade took pole position and won two of the three races en route to a round victory, one that would help launch him towards a career in the V8’s. Since then, only state-level Formula Ford competition has been held at Mallala and the return of the national series will provide an exciting spectacle for fans of open-wheel racing.
Formula Ford is a proven category for drivers to learn the ropes before racing V8 Supercars or heading overseas, a majority of the current V8 Supercars Championship field plus ‘international Aussie’s’ like Mark Webber, Will Power and Daniel Ricciardo all having raced in the category here.
Expected frontrunners this year include Toowoomba’s Jordan Lloyd, who finished sixth in the national title last year, plus Tom Randle – son of former Kerrick Sports Sedan Champion, Dean.
Sonic Motor Racing’s trio of youngsters that include Nick Rowe, Hamish Hardeman and Christian Morina will all likely be contenders, as will Borland Racing’s James Golding and Tom Grech – who join the factory Spectrum team.
A 22-car field has entered for the Formula Ford series opener including South Australians Chris Slusarski, Matthew Roesler and Greg Edwards.
Formula Fords feature as part of a bumper six-category program locked in for the ANZAC day long weekend at Mallala.
The program includes the opening round of the Kumho V8 Touring Cars Series, which pits ex-V8 Supercar Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons head to head – some of them running in the liveries that made them famous in the touring car circus in the mid-2000s.
The third round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli will bring Porsche Power back to Mallala, whilst the Australian Super Six Touring Car Series – six cylinder, production based Commodores and Falcons going head to head – will bring more door-to-door touring car action.
The thunder of the Kerrick Sports Sedans, Australia’s fastest ‘tin tops’, the nimble Australian Sports Racing Cars and the opening round of the Australian Formula Ford Series make up a massive program across the two days.
The Kumho V8 field includes several new faces this year, including computer gamer-turned racer, Justin Ruggier, who will make his series debit at Mallala.
Ruggier will drive a well-known ex-HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ in the series for ex-V8 Supercars, a car used by Rick Kelly to win the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship and also finished runner-up at that year’s Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 with brother Todd co-driving.
The Victorian is a six-time state and two-time National Karting Champion but is also a dedicated gamer, racing online each week. He has travelled the world as a result of his online racing success, and this weekend that will translate into circuit racing for the first time.
Amongst the Kumho field will be also be Adelaide drivers, V8 Ute racer Craig Dontas and former series champion Chris Smerdon.
Across the six categories competing, more than 100 competitors will travel from interstate to compete at Mallala this weekend with a bumper program on offer for race fans.
Action commences with private practice on Friday, ahead of Qualifying and the first races on Saturday – including a twilight Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge 40-lap enduro affair.
Action then continues on Sunday with a bumper program of sprint races.
Tickets cost $20 (Saturday), $25 for Sunday or $40.00 for a weekend pass. Children under 14 are admitted free and access to the pit / paddock area is at no charge.