Monday, Oct 21 12:51pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Thomas Boniface steals the show at OctoberFAST in Formula Ford

Taranaki teenager Thomas Boniface has upstaged the ITM New Zealand Formula Ford Championship field with back-to-back wins at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.

A tough start to the season at Pukekohe Park in front of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship show saw 15-year-old Boniface (Mygale SJ13A) suffer a DNF, a sixth and a seventh-place finish. Fortunately, he managed to bounce back to take two wins and a second-place finish in Round 2 at his de facto home round.

The weekend began with local driver Callum Crawley (Spectrum 015) claiming pole position ahead of Billy Frazer. The opening race was punctuated by an off by young Rotorua racer Blake Evans (Mygale SJ2011a) who launched into the air at Turn 1 after contact with another car. Stranded in the gravel trap, he couldn’t continue.

Kaleb Ngatoa made the move away from the Spectrum chassis to a Mygale SJ07 for Round 2 but got off to a bad start. He fell off the road early on in the race and fell down the order.


Uploaded Image

Blake Evans (Mygale SJ2011a) flies high after contact at Turn 1


Crawley was clinical with a lights-to-flag win in the first 10-lap affair, despite a late challenge from Boniface and Frazer. Series leader James Penrose wasn’t far behind in fourth while Ronan Murphy claimed fifth.

After his Lap 1 dramas in the weekend opener, Race 2 wasn’t much better for 15-year-old Evans. He failed to make it to the grid after he lost drive on the warm-up lap. Similarly, Ngatoa was in the wars again with a terminal engine failure on Lap 1. That put him out for the weekend. Frazer was in the wars too. He went off the road on Lap 2 and couldn’t rejoin the race.

Crawley led from the outset with Boniface and Penrose in tow. A decisive pass on Lap 6 saw Boniface take the lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish despite a fierce fight with Crawley. At the checkered flag, just two-tenths split the pair while Penrose claimed his fourth podium of the season.



Callum Crawley (Spectrum 015) lies second in the championship 

Frazer was put in the box seat for the final 12-lap race of the weekend. He led the race initially with Crawley second and Penrose third. Boniface was joined by Murphy for what was a five-way battle for the lead.

Boniface quickly worked his way through to the lead. Frazer fell down the order and that allowed Crawley to snag second and Penrose third. While Boniface was left to his own devices out in front, the fight for second was heating up.

Crawley had a huge moment on the final corner come Lap 6 when he got his Spectrum sideways. After slotting into third on Lap 7, Murphy’s hopes of a maiden podium looked like they were gone as he ran off at the exit of the hairpin. However, the young gun he was able to keep his cool and work his way back into the battle pack.

On the final lap, it all boiled over up the front as Crawley finally caught up to Boniface. He had another crack at the lead at Turn 6 but ultimately ended up in the gravel after contact with Boniface. The incident was later deemed a racing incident by the officials, leaving Boniface to celebrate a well-deserved win.



James Penrose (Van Diemen Stealth) still leads the championship 

Meanwhile, Frazer had been setting fastest lap after fastest lap and jetted his way to the battle for second. In a bid to take second place, Frazer was forced out wide at Turn 1 on the final lap, which saw him again drop out of a competitive spot.

Penrose and Murphy were left to battle it out for what would become second place. Murphy looked like he had it sewn up until Penrose pulled off a decisive manoeuvre to finish in second.

After Round 2 of the six-round championship, Penrose has extended his lead out to 34 points over Crawley who moves up into second. Frazer and Zac Stichbury both drop a spot to third and fourth respectively. Meanwhile, both Boniface and Murphy have leapt into sixth and seventh from outside the top 10.

The ITM New Zealand Formula Ford Championship now takes a break before recommencing in the new year at Teretonga Park on 24-26 January.


CLICK HERE for Race 1 results


CLICK HERE for Race 2 results


CLICK HERE for Race 3 results


ITM New Zealand Formula Ford Championship, Round 2 of 6 (top 10)

Pos Driver Points
1 James Penrose 392
2 Callum Crawley 358
3 Billy Frazer 318
4 Zac Stichbury 137
5 Thomas Boniface 204
6 Ronan Murphy 256
7 Cameron Tanner 223
8 Jordan Mountford 200
9 Keith Miller 183
10 Alex Hawley 117


Photos: Tayler Burke