ERICKSON LEADS STAR PERFORMANCE
After an eight week break since the last round at Queensland Raceway, the CAMS Rising Star squad was eager to get back into Formula Ford racing last weekend at Phillip Island. The flowing Island circuit is a nominated test track for the team, so there was a quiet confidence amongst the drivers and their Borland Racing Developments crew heading into the weekend. Recent test days had seen them try some development parts on their Spectrum 011b racers, finding the crucial tenths of a second which count in this ultra competitive category.
When the chequered flag was waved to end the practice session on Friday morning, it was Daniel Erickson sitting atop the times; his Rising Star teammates Scott Pye in 3rd and Jake Chapman in 6th. With only a brief 90 minutes between practice and qualifying, the BRD crew set about preparing the cars while the drivers and engineers worked through the MoTeC data to see where potential gains could be achieved.
Qualifying on the Phillip Island circuit is a game of strategy. The aerodynamic advantage of slip streaming another car is crucial if you are going to post a fast time; but to optimise your time, you need to do this in the first few laps when you are in the performance window of the new tyres. Daniel and Jake had the track position to do this, with both setting their best times on lap two; Daniel on pole (his and the Rising Star program’s best qualifying performance for the season) and Jake 4th. Scott did not have anyone around him to provide a draft, but still managed to put in a lap good enough for 6th!
Race one on Saturday produced some of the closest and most exciting racing seen for some time. The battle for positions one to four was intense, with Daniel achieving his maiden championship win, resetting the lap record on the way. Just half a second behind him at the finish, Jake was in 4th place! Scott was meanwhile involved in another four car battle, this time for positions five to eight. With only 0.7 seconds covering these four cars, it was Scott who held on to take 5th place.
Sunday morning saw Daniel back up his race one win with another first place and fastest lap performance. Jake held on to 4th place again in another close battle. Scott was a casualty of the close racing, receiving contact from behind as he entered to 200 kph first turn which result in a spectacular spin. Scott was able to recover from the spin and regain the track, finishing in 15th position. Fortunately his Spectrum racing car was unscathed, as there was a minimal 60 minute timeframe to be ready for the final race of the weekend.
The last race produced more of the same; the lead swapping as many as three times per lap. On the final tour, it was Daniel leading into turn three when he was hit from behind, forcing him to retire and denying him what looked like a clean sweep. Jake raced to 2nd, with Scott recovering from 15th to an impressive 6th. Daniel’s performances were strong enough for him to hold onto 2nd for the round, joined on the podium by Jake in 3rd.
The drivers would like to thank the CAMS Rising Star Program and its program partners the Australian Sports Commission, Biante Model Cars, OAMPS Insurance Brokers, Robert Bosch Australia, King’s Fibreglass, Borland Racing Developments, the Australian Motor Sport Foundation, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, Stand 21 Australia, Just Magazine Group, Fleetwood Print Group, Mark Webber and McBadges.