Crawley and Frazer dominate North Island Formula Ford Round 4
Championship leader Callum Crawley and the fast youngster Billy Frazer were once again the class of the field at Pukekohe for the penultimate round of the North Island Formula Ford Championship. Following round’s two and three, which were held at Manfield and Hampton Downs in conjunction with the ITM New Zealand Formula Ford championship, Callum Crawley led the standings. However, a hard-charging Billy Frazer has been steadily closing the points gap heading into Pukekohe.
With a welcome difference from the normal, the full, original back straight was in use, providing drivers with excellent opportunities to draft past their competitors or attempt a pass in the tricky braking area into the hairpin
Billy Frazer started his title charge the best possible way, netting pole position, and the bonus point that goes with it, with a time of 1:03.065. Crawley’s qualifying was not without drama, an off at turn 4 late in the session left him embedded in the tyre wall. Lucky to escape without damage, the series leader came home second. Cameron Tanner qualified third, looking to improve his form and luck after mechanical dramas left him pointless at Hampton Downs. Kim Crocker in his new Ray was fourth, class 3 competitor Dave Silverton fifth, Blair Brownlee in his Spectrum 010 was sixth and Peter Boel seventh, an unfortunate issue prevented Tony Graham from qualifying.
Race one saw a tight tussle at the front between the Spectrum duo of Frazer and Crawley all race long, trading the lead on multiple occasions, Frazer managed a last lap dive at the hairpin to cross the line only 0.060 ahead of Crawley. Kim Crocker, driving his freshly imported 2014 Ray GR14, came home a comfortable third. Tanner was fourth with Graham rounding out the top 5. After a lengthy absence from the class, Blair Brownlee came home in sixth place in the yellow Spectrum
Frazer once again held off Crawley in race two, yet the battle was even more intense. A more even start saw the pair pull away from the field from the get-go, however, a determined Crawley stuck with Frazer once again, the gap only 0.045 across the line! Both drivers commented post-race that being in a two-horse race, and without the chicane, the racing was even more intense than usual between the pair, allowing certain overtaking moves that would otherwise be impossible in a group of 6 cars!
Tanner got the best of Crocker and Graham this time around, the trio in an extremely close battle on the opening laps before Crocker had a half spin at turn 4 while dealing with brake pedal issues. Graham finished fourth while Crocker recovered to fifth. Silverton had a strong race to finish sixth and Boel seventh.
The final race of the day and Crawley managed to come out on top in the drag race to the line, only 0.028 in front of Frazer. It was yet another intense battle amidst the pair, showing superb driving skills and racecraft, the lead once again swinging between each driver multiple times in the 10 laps.
Further down the track, an epic battle was taking place for Third. Crocker took charge off the line to while Tanner and Graham squabbled over fourth. It would stay like that for a few laps before Tanner managed to go around the outside of crocker into Turn 1, securing his second podium of the day. Tony Graham, in the red RF94 Stealth, and Crocker continued to battle until the end, where Crocker would eventually get the best of Graham to finish fourth.
Brownlee, who had repaired a teething car issue from race two, finished in sixth, from Silverton and Peter Boel.
While able to close the gap to first, hometown man Frazer still sits second overall, albeit only 4 points away from Crawley in the lead. With 20 points for a race win, Reigning champion Crawley will have his work cut out for him to keep hard charger Billy Frazer behind.
The North Island Formula Ford series concludes on April 5th at Hampton Downs after 5 rounds. With the winner being awarded the Stephen Gillard Cup, and the close proximity in points, it is shaping up to be one epic battle between Callum Crawley and Billy Frazer