Michels shines at third South Island Formula Ford round

| Photographer Credit: DAL Photographics

Local Jordan Michels has starred at the third round of the South Island Formula Ford Championship at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park over the weekend. The 18 year old set fastest lap in a wet qualifying session on Saturday and followed this up with two wins and a second placing on Sunday.

The third and final race was won by series leader Australian based Kiwi Hunter McElrea, who continues to lead the championship from another Southland driver, Ethan Anderson. A strong weekend from Anderson has closed the gap on the leader board to just nine points.

After qualifying fifth fastest, McElrea failed to start in the first race with engine problems and then had to start at the rear of the field for the second race. An outstanding drive saw the 16 year old fight his way through to finish third and set fastest lap giving him pole position for the 12 lap finale.

A lights to flag victory guaranteed him maximum points but he will head into the final half of the season with both Michels and Anderson seeking to gain an advantage at every opportunity.

No one was more surprised with their results at the end of the weekend than Jordan Michels. The civil engineer cadet is competing in his first year of single seater racing after seven years in kartsport. Driving the ex-Caleb Cross Mygale, Michels had the help of engineer Paul Marlin from the Mygale factory for the round.

“I don’t have a great amount of experience in this category,” commented Michels. “We went into the weekend quite relaxed, not having high expectations but thinking a podium would be good on the home track.

“In the first race I got a great start and managed to drive away from the field. In the second, Robert (Toshach) had pole but I managed to drive around him at the loop on lap one, while in the final race McElrea was just too good.”

Robert Toshach achieved a great point’s haul with a fourth, a second and a fifth placing. This has enabled him to jump from sixth overall to third on the points table, two ahead of Mitchell Maddren who remains in fourth. Michels has moved up from 13th to fifth.

Anderson had been determined to wrestle the series lead from McElrea and was philosophical with his results.

“We were focused on getting a podium today which we achieved in the first race. We couldn’t take the lead in the champs but we are quite happy with the whole weekend and have managed to close the gap on Hunter (McElrea).”

Also to shine was Blenheim’s Dyson Freeman with two podiums. He finished third overall in Class 2 behind Stephen Heffernan and McElrea. Michel’s took out Class 1 from Anderson and Toshach while Corey Hodges won Class 3.

The series takes a Christmas break before two rounds which also double as part of the national championships. Held over consecutive weekends in support of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series, the South Island Formula Ford Championship heads to Ruapuna in Christchurch January 16-17 before returning to Invercargill January 23-24.

Points Table after 3/6 rounds

OVERALL (Top 10)
1 Hunter McElrea 112
2 Ethan Anderson 103
3 Robert Toshach 94
4 Mitchell Maddren 92
5 Jordan Michels 87
6 Royce Bayer 72
7 Jaxon Evans 61
8 Dyson Freeman 59
9 Gary Lovie 54
10 Andy McElrea 48

1 Ethan Anderson 132
2 Robert Toshach 123
3 Mitchell Maddren 121

1 Hunter McElrea 145
2 Royce Bayer 125
3 Anna Collins 103

1 Cory Hodges 158
2 Roger McKenzie 132
3 Andy McElrea 60

Qualifying (Wet)
1 Jordan Michels 1:17.986
2 Mitchell Maddren 1:18.00
3 Dyson Freeman 1:18.036
4 Ethan Anderson 1:18.128
5 Hunter McElrea 1:18.468
6 Robert Toshach 1:18.948
7 Royce Bayer 1:21.056
8 Stephen Heffernan 1:21.680
9 Trevor Stiles 1:21.687
10 Robert Scott 1:22.084
11 Anna Collins 1:22.369
12 Cory Hodges 1:23.259
13 Roger McKenzie 1:26.358
14 Joseph Oliver 1:27.611

Race 1 (10 laps)
1 Jordan Michels
2 Dyson Freeman
3 Ethan Anderson
4 Robert Toshach
5 Mitchell Maddren
6 Royce Bayer
7 Stephen Heffernan
8 Robert Scott
9 Cory Hodges
10 Joseph Oliver
11 Trevor Stiles
12 Roger McKenzie
13 Anna Collins
14 Hunter McElrea

Race 2 (10 laps)
1 Jordan Michels
2 Robert Toshach
3 Hunter McElrea
4 Ethan Anderson
5 Mitchell Maddren
6 Stephen Heffernan
7 Royce Bayer
8 Cory Hodges
9 Joseph Oliver
10 Anna Collins
11 Roger McKenzie
dnf Robert Scott
dnf Dyson Freeman
dns Trevor Stiles

Race 3 (12 laps)
1 Hunter McElrea
2 Jordan Michels
3 Dyson Freeman
4 Ethan Anderson
5 Robert Toshach
6 Mitchell Maddren
7 Stephen Heffernan
8 Trevor Stiles
9 Anna Collins
10 Robert Scott
11 Cory Hodges
12 Joseph Oliver
13 Roger McKenzie
dnf Royce Bayer

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits talkmotorsport.co.nz. He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!


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