Monday, Jan 6 07:17pm
Velocity News

Stars of past and present fill monster 34-car Formula 1600 grid

A near capacity grid of 34 cars for the first ever visit by Formula 1600 to Highlands Motorsport Park is crammed with interest and intrigue and guaranteed to excite.
With just three rounds remaining of the South Island Formula 1600 series, Dunedin’s Cameron Freeman currently leads the title chase with a narrow 25-point lead over Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson with rookie driver Zac Christensen in third.
But it's the gigantic field all set for the 18-19 January weekend that will have heads turning in Cromwell as it echoes some of Formula Ford's golden years.
Wheel to wheel action is guaranteed – as it always is with Formula 1600 cars – but this motorsport time capsule comes with even more surprises when you take a look at the list of entries. That's because this one features three of the top drivers from the category's heydays as well as the young guns of the new era.
1990-91 champ Andy McElrea is a starter, as are his rivals from the same era Tim Miles and Nigel Barclay. Today, McElrea Racing is one of the top race teams in Australasia providing preparation, engineering and driver coaching and competes with distinction in Australian GT, Carrera Cup, GT3 Cup Challenge – in which it runs Miles.
The team has countless wins, podiums and championships to its name, but for the team founder it all started in the Formula 1600 class in New Zealand.
Intriguingly, Andy McElrea 2020 races the exact same Van Diemen RF88 that he won the title with almost three decades ago.
As well as the flat out trip down memory lane, the Cromwell weekend is also set to include several top national Formula Ford title contenders. With their only South Island round in the 2019/20 NZ Formula Ford Championship a week after Cromwell at Teretonga, some drivers have elected to stay race-fit and compete at Highlands as well. 
"It's going to be an absolute cracker," Speed Works promoter Geoff Short said.
"Everyone who has ever raced in the category or followed it will be intrigued to see how a packed field of F1600s will go around Highlands and we are delighted to be promoting this special debut.
"It's the biggest field of the weekend too, and a category most if not all drivers at the weekend will have driven in."
South Island Formula 1600 (Entry List)
5 Kim Crocker Ray GR14

6 Blake Evans Mygale SJ11

7 Tony Graham Van Diemen Stealth

8 Stephen Heffernan Van Diemen Stealth

14 Noel Atley Crossle 55F

19 Cameron Freeman Van Diemen RF92

21  ZacChristensen Van Diemen RF92

26 Dyson Freeman Van Diemen RF92

27 Dave McKenzie Begg FM3

42 Keith Miller Van Diemen RF01

43 Dave Silverton PRS RH02

44 James Dicey Spectrum 07b

45 Gerald Duncan Cheetah

46 Grant Campbell Van Diemen RF03

47  RyanLow  VanDiemen RF88

48 Simon Spencer-Bower Van Diemen Stealth

53 Robert Toshach Swift FB89

56 Andy Downs Lola 642E

71 Phil Foulkes Trident-Palliser

74 Paul Dold GLH FF1600

75 Jack Noble-Adams Van Diemen Stealth

76 Oscar Noble-Adams Van Diemen RF90

77 Steve Edwards Mygale SJ08a

79 Tim Miles Van Diemen RF92

85 Marc Doran Ray 86F

86 Bailey Paterson Van Diemen Stealth

87 Dominic Robertson Swift SC94

95 Greg Inwood Van Diemen RF90/91

96 Anna Collins Van Diemen RF94 Stealth

97 Andy McElrea Van Diemen RF88

114 Billy Frazer Spectrum 015
Photo: Terry Marshall