Crosbie wins NAPA Auto Parts NZ Formula Ford title after drama hits rivals
Fifteen-year-old Alex Crosbie has won the 2022 NAPA Auto Parts New Zealand Formula Ford Championship after a dramatic day of racing at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch.
Heading into the round, the Southland school student was third overall on the points table, 62 behind Auckland’s Liam Sceats with Cantabrian Zac Christensen second. With both Christensen and Sceats each experiencing a mechanical issue, this opened the gate for Crosbie to claim the title.
Across the eight races in the championship, Crosbie (Ray GR21) finished each one on the podium including his first Formula Ford race win at the final round.
“Pretty stoked with that,” commented Crosbie. “It’s great to know that my name will be on the trophy. I thought I needed to win the (last) race to take the title. I really didn’t think I had a chance at the start of the day.”
With a maximum of 302-points on offer for the finale, Sceats (Van Diemen Stealth) held a handy 34-point lead heading into the second and final national round after winning the first four races in Taupo in March.
However, Christensen had home-advantage heading into the final four races and showed all day that he was the fastest driver claiming the Hampton Downs NZ Race Academy $1,010 cash prize for fastest qualifier. He backed this up with three race wins across the day only to be let down by a broken rear hub in race two, recording both a DNF (did not finish) and scoring no points, settling in the end for second overall.
“Unfortunately, we were looking really good after the first race today then we broke a hub in race two,” said Christensen. “Other than that, we have been fast all weekend. Alex (Crosbie) finished every race so congrats to him.”
At the start of the day, Sceats had enough points keep his rivals at bay and maintained a sufficient gap by finishing the first three races in the top five. Heading into the final 12-lap race, Sceats held a 22-point lead over Crosbie with Christensen another 22 further back.
However, his team had been chasing a misfire all day and his engine decided to stop with two laps remaining in the last 12-lap race, handing the title to Crosbie and dropping to third overall.
“All day we struggled with an engine misfire problem and it has got worse all day,” commented Sceats. “It’s not the first low we have had in motorsport, so we will carry on and prepare for the final North Island Series round in a few weeks.”
Fourth overall was Bree Morris (Ray GR17) with Simon Hunter (Mygale MJ08A) the first rookie driver home, fifth overall.
Two Class titles were also in contention. Crosbie won the Class 1 (post 2000) title from Christensen and Bree Morris while Liam Sceats won the Class 2 (1990-1999) title from Shane Drake (Van Diemen RF92) and Mason Potter.
As part of the prize package for the overall winner of the NZ Formula Ford title, Crosbie will have the opportunity to test a FT60 while Sceats (the Class 2 winner) has the opportunity for a TR86 test. Both compliments of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand.
Crosbie also picks up the Motorsport New Zealand free entry to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in the UK later in the year as well as the Stephen Gillard Memorial Trophy, awarded to the highest placed “Rookie” of the championship.
Christensen takes home the Morrie Smith Memorial Trophy, awarded to the driver who wins the final race of the championship.