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  ELVA JUNIOR News (April 2006)


Since Moses was a boy and I had much more hair, there seems to have been a serious lack of ELVA Formula Junior information on the site, for which I can offer no obvious excuse other than it didn’t happen.

Formula Junior Historic racing Association

However, this is being put to rights following a press gang type arrangement of a few willing gentlemen who have promised to keep me well informed of all matters ‘Junior’ over the coming season. Centre stage is Crispian Besley who owns a well-prepared red ELVA Junior and was instrumental in organising a track test as part of a feature article to appear in Motor Sport magazine, hopefully the June edition.

Meanwhile Peter Jackson kindly put some words together as a report on that day, and these appear below. Many thanks Peter. I have also reproduced a few ELVA related advertisements from the most recent newsletter of the FJHRA and if you own a Junior and you are not a member … you should be!! Email: formulajunior@rabagliati.com

Formula Junior Test & Photo Shoot for Motor Sport Magazine

Peter Jackson went along to a special day at Silverstone when Motor Sport magazine tested a group of Formula Juniors for a forthcoming article.

This day had been two years in gestation by Crispian Besley. Motor Sport editors had come and gone but finally new incumbent Marcus Simmons and LAT photographer Andrew Ferraro were brought face to face with a fine selection of Juniors. In the red corner representing the British answer to the high Italian style of the early years was Crispian Besley’s Elva 100, this being the actual car in which Charlie Kolb won the USA FJ Championship in 1960.

In the green corner representing the transitional era, when manufacturers began to move to rear engine, was the curvaceous Britannia of Peter Green/Andrew Taylor, a rare bird, being one of only three known surviving Britannias, designed by the Portuguese genius John Tojeiro. In the blue corner representing the last year of FJ, pencil thin and uncompromisingly built for purpose, we had the Cooper T67 of Anthony Binnington. In 1963 Peter Revson put up the fastest ever-recorded lap speed for a Junior with this very car at Enna-Pergusa, Sicily at 130 mph!

The day was arranged with alternating sessions for open wheel & closed wheel cars
and Crispian’s Elva was first away for a few tours to settle a new engine, followed by Anthony in the Cooper. Crispian came in and handed over to Marcus who after a few exploratory laps began to get the feel of the car and was so enjoying himself that David Abbot, Crispian’s faithful mechanic, had to signal him in at session end.

Peter Green carefully warmed the Britannia in readiness for Andrew in the second session but unfortunately Andrew was delayed on business so the car remained in our pit garage. Crispian and Anthony completed some more laps in their cars we all fortified ourselves with an early meal in the paddock café prior to the on track photo shoot planned for the lunch break. Duncan Rabagliati the erstwhile lawyer and excellent Chairman of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association took the opportunity to infect Marcus with the FJ bug, for which there is no known cure he was warned. Happily, we were joined by Steve Smith who, having heard about FJ activity at Silverstone, brought his nearby business meeting to a close and enjoyed the afternoon discussing all things racing and view the various activities.

The test sessions broke for lunch at 1pm and very shortly thereafter I swung open the pit lane gates and ignoring the red lights slowly drove the camera car onto the track, with intrepid photographer Andrew Ferraro hanging out of the open tailgate. Once rolling on the track proper, Anthony brought the Cooper up to within a couple of inches of the back of the camera car and the Britannia with Marcus aboard was to one side and Crispian in the Elva to the other. Crispian’s two boys, Charlie and Hugo, had been tucked into the camera car amongst all the equipment and they thoroughly enjoyed the several laps at my carefully controlled 30mph. The remainder of the lunch break was taken up with a myriad of photos of the innermost secrets of all the cars, once body panels etc had been removed and explanations proffered by the owners.

Marcus continued in the Britannia for the next test session and soon got the hang of the car, looking quite at home as he shot past the pits with exhaust cracking loud on overrun before a dab on the brakes at Copse.

All too soon it seemed, our last session was called forth so Marcus installed himself into the Cooper, mechanic Dick explained all the controls and Marcus went smartly off to enjoy himself once again. He eventually came in with a big grin although I don’t think that he ever quite came to terms with the gateless 6-speed gearbox. Shortly after this final session had started, Andrew Taylor phoned in with a progress report to say that he had arrived at the circuit at last and was signing on at race control. So Peter warmed the car once again and thankfully Andrew did manage to do some 10 laps in the Britannia.

Robin Longdon had sent down some new and rather nice looking silver Millers decals plus a goodly supply of CVL elixir for the cars and Crispian bestowed an equally generous supply of Cobra, as is his splendid custom. The day ended with yet more photos, this time grouped in the paddock area. Andrew Ferraro perched on the roof of his car to capture all the cars and drivers together. I am so glad that he chose his Ford Focus and not mine!

Marcus, I trust, came away with a very good impression of F/J and maybe we shall receive more coverage in Motor Sport as well as the feature article due out in June.

Peter Jackson.

ELVA-related advertisements from FORMULA JUNIOR NEWSLETTER (112A - Jan 2006)
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