Rookies provide real competition at SI F1600 opening round

pic: Media 77

Southland’s Jordan Michels may have won the opening round of the 2017/18 South Island Formula 1600 Championship but a group of rookie drivers have shown that they will be hot competition this summer. Run in sunny conditions at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, Michels set fastest lap, was runner-up in race one and then won the two remaining races on Sunday to now lead the six round championship by just seven points from Christchurch rookie driver Bailey Paterson.

Winner of the opening race of the season, Paterson (Van Diemen Stealth) went on to finish runner up to Michels (Mygale S513) giving notice that he wants to run at the front of the competition.

“We all ran pretty close this weekend,” commented Paterson. “There wasn’t much between the three of us (Michels, Paterson and Josh Bethune) so some great racing all round.”

The ex Mini 7 national champion is campaigning the ex-Dave Arrowsmith car and has realistic expectations. “It’s a learning curve for us with the aim to get podiums and wins.”

“It’s been a fantastic weekend,” said Michels. “The competition is really impressive. Bailey (Paterson) is doing a great job and young Josh (Bethune) is proving to be very quick.”

Also a rookie, 14-years-old Bethune already has a wealth of kartsport experience with South Island titles in the Vortex Mini ROK, Junior Yamaha and Junior Rotax classes.

“It hasn’t been a bad weekend,” commented Bethune. “We had a few problems earlier on but we have got good straight line speed. I hope that we can have some more close battles. Our expectations are learning the tracks, getting on the podium and of course winning.”

Returning to the category after nine years is Kurt Peterson (Stealth). Three top five finishes sees him fourth overall on 85 points, just two points behind Southland’s Ethan Anderson (Stealth).

Four Class two cars took to the track with Robert Toshach (Spectrum) fifth overall and winning the class from Noel Atley’s beautifully presented Swift F1600, Philip Butcher (VDRF92) third and Derek Wilson (Swift) fourth.

“I’m quite pleased with the weekend,” commented Toshach. “I got good starts and was then able to maintain a steady pace and keep a buffer to the next competitor.”

A consistent drive from current Historic Class 3 titleholder Roger McKenzie (Begg FM3) saw him finish second in class to Joseph Oliver (Crossle F55). Current national titleholder Andy Downs (Lola 642E) was third and rookie Nelson kartsport driver Matt Butchart fourth.

Butchart, the South Island F1600 Club Scholarship winner, proved to be quick right from the start of the weekend finishing first Class 3 car home in the first two races. He was on track to win the round for the category but a fuel issue in the final race saw him retire, losing valuable championship points.

“It’s been awesome and a steep learning curve,” commented Butchart. “There’s a huge difference between these (cars) and kartsport but my aim is to win the Class 3 title this season.”

Drivers and teams will head to Timaru International Raceway in two weeks’ time for the second round of the championship that also doubles as the opening weekend of the five round New Zealand Formula 1600 national championship.

Results

Overall Championship Points (Top 10)
PLACE, DRIVER, CAR, POINTS
1 Jordan Michels Mygale 117
2 Bailey Paterson Stealth 110
3 Ethan Anderson Stealth 87
4 Kurt Peterson Stealth 85
5 Robert Toshach Spectrum 74
6 Steve Edwards Mygale 64
7 Simon Spencer-Bower Stealth 58
8 Josh Bethune Mygale 57
9 Steve Heffernan Stealth 54
10 Joseph Oliver Crossle 47

Qualifying
Pos, Start Number, Competitor, Fastest Time
1 23 Jordan Michels 01:31.602
2 32 Josh Bethune 01:31.764
3 86 Bailey Paterson 01:32.106
4 36 Kurt Peterson 01:32.117
5 70 Ethan Anderson 01:32.569
6 92 Derek Wilson 01:33.889
7 77 Steve Edwards 01:33.966
8 22 Robert Toshach 01:34.360
9 48 Simon Spencer-Bower 01:34.382
10 91 Ben Stiles 01:34.452
11 47 Matt Butchart 01:34.481
12 8 Stephen Heffernan 01:35.054
13 14 Joseph Oliver 01:36.628
14 55 Noel Atley 01:37.056
15 75 Jack Noble-Adams 01:37.242
16 9 Tony Fitzgerald 01:38.357
17 72 Roger McKenzie 01:40.661
18 56 Andy Downs 01:41.331
19 33 Philip Butcher 01:44.553

Race 1 (9 laps)
1 Bailey Paterson Van Diemen Stealth
2 Jordan Michels Mygale S513
3 Ethan Anderson Van Diemen Stealth
4 Kurt Peterson Van Diemen Stealth
5 Robert Toshach Spectrum 08
6 Stephen Heffernan Van Diemen Stealth
7 Simon Spencer-Bower Van Diemen RF93
8 Steve Edwards Mygale SJ09a
9 Matt Butchart Van Diemen RF88
10 Noel Atley Swift F1600
11 Joseph Oliver Crossle F55
12 Ben Stiles Stealth 2004
13 Roger McKenzie Begg FM3
14 Tony Fitzgerald Van Diemen Stealth
15 Andy Downs Lola 642E
16 Philip Butcher Van Diemen 92
DNF Derek Wilson Swift SC 92F
DNF Josh Bethune Mygale FF SJ08
DNF Jack Noble-Adams Van Diemen RF91 Stealth

Race 2 (10 laps)
Pos Start Number Competitor
1 23 Jordan Michels
2 86 Bailey Paterson
3 36 Kurt Peterson
4 70 Ethan Anderson
5 32 Josh Bethune
6 22 Robert Toshach
7 77 Steve Edwards
8 92 Derek Wilson
9 47 Matt Butchart
10 48 Simon Spencer-Bower
11 8 Stephen Heffernan
12 14 Joseph Oliver
13 91 Ben Stiles
14 55 Noel Atley
15 72 Roger McKenzie
16 56 Andy Downs
17 33 Philip Butcher
DNF 75 Jack Noble-Adams
DNF 9 Tony Fitzgerald

Race 3 (12 laps)
Pos Start Number Competitor
1 23 Jordan Michels
2 86 Bailey Paterson
3 32 Josh Bethune
4 70 Ethan Anderson
5 36 Kurt Peterson
6 22 Robert Toshach
7 77 Steve Edwards
8 48 Simon Spencer-Bower
9 14 Joseph Oliver
10 91 Ben Stiles
11 8 Stephen Heffernan
12 75 Jack Noble-Adams
13 55 Noel Atley
14 72 Roger McKenzie
15 56 Andy Downs
16 9 Tony Fitzgerald
17 33 Philip Butcher
DNF 92 Derek Wilson
DNF 47 Matt Butchart

2017/18 South Island Formula 1600 Championship Calendar
Rnd 1: October 27-29 2017, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Rnd 2: November 10/11 2017, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru (Long track); (also Rd 1 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 3: December 2-3 2017, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill
Rnd 4: January 12-14 2018, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna (also Rd 2 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 5: January 19-21 2018, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill; (also Rd 3 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 6: March 24 2018, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru (Long track)