It was a great day for Southland motorsport as the South Island Formula Ford Championship concluded at Timaru International Raceway at Levels last weekend.
Ethan Anderson of Riverton was crowned the South Island Formula Ford Champion, Jordan Michels of Invercargill, the championship runner-up and Corey Hodges of Invercargill the Class 3 Champion. In addition Anderson won the Class 1 title while Michels won Rookie Of The Year, Most Improved Driver and his entourage the Best Presented Team.
It was a close run thing for the overall title with just one point in it after eighteen races. Anderson had a slight lead over Michels heading into the weekend but it was Michels who took pole position and victory in the first race before Anderson won the second. The championship came down to the final, double points, race. Michels needed to win, and did so, but Anderson finished second to take the title by a solitary point.
“Absolutely over the moon,” was Anderson’s reaction to his victory. It was the Riverton driver’s second year in the series after finishing fifth last year. He was consistent with good pace all season. “We improved the car every time we took it out and we were continually learning new things,” he said as he reflected on the season. The big prize for Anderson is the opportunity to now travel to Winton Raceway in Victoria to test a Race Academy Mygale Duratec Formula Ford. Beyond that a South Island title defence and a full season of the New Zealand Championship beckon.
“My family have been right behind me and they have been amazing.” The support from his community has been amazing also considering he hails from a town with a population of less than 1500 people. “Atley Services, Riverton Electrical, Riverton Engineering, Placemakers Invercargill, Aparima Restaurant & Bar, Ayto’s Dairy, Speedy Signs and Evolution Motorsport have assisted his effort.
Michels was equally pleased with the runner-up spot in his debut season in race cars. “The races at Levels were the tightest I’ve ever done. It was good, clean racing.” Michels admits he was “thrown in green” in his rookie season. Like Anderson he came from a karting background and the year was essentially a learning one. However he credits the efforts of his father Rick and Greg Woodrow of Mygale Australia as a key to his improvement throughout the season.
In fact Jordan’s father Rick was ideally placed to watch the championship battle. Rick and wife Fiona’s company Evolution Motorsport sponsored both cars. “Before the season we offered Ethan a spot in our truck. It was certainly interesting watching both boys from the same camp, one of them my son, battling for the South Island title,” says Rick. “I’m thrilled for both of them. Ethan did a hell of a good job. The racing at Timaru was excellent.
They both have huge respect for each other and they raced hammer and tongs. It was the closest of racing. Ethan was consistent all season with no DNF’s (non finishes). Jordan really came on over the last three rounds. We started the season with no stated ambitions and came away with two South Island round wins (to add to a New Zealand Championship podium) plus two other podiums.”
Hodges win in Class 3 rounded out the Southland success as he headed off former Southlander Roger McKenzie while Steve Heffernan and Joseph Oliver also took part in some rounds of the series.