Australian FF1600 regular Josh Buchan scored two victories at Bathurst for the 50th anniversary celebration of Formula Ford in Australia.
The Mount Panorama Circuit held a three-race special meeting on the Bathurst 12 Hours support bill, which was originally set to include BRSCC National FF1600 star Michael Eastwell.
However, Eastwell felt unwell upon arrival at the circuit, with his place at Ellery Motorsport taken by 2012 European Le Mans Series champion Mathias Beche.
The Swiss driver was immediately on the pace, qualifying second behind pole man Buchan. Behind them were top Pre-’90 entry Mark Lowing (Van Diemen RF88) in third, Australian Formula 4 champion Jayden Ojeda (Spirit K08-2) fourth and Beche’s team-mate Richard Davison fifth, father of two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Will.
Buchan (Listec WIL-05K) made a poor start to the first race, and ended up in a race-long battle for the win with Beche, Ojeda and Davison. He succeeded, bagging the best possible result for Sydney-based manufacturer Listec’s first appearance at the circuit as a team.
Beche finished just 0.3304 seconds behind Buchan, and led Ojeda and Pre-’90 class winner Davison across the line. They all had to play second fiddle to Davison at the beginning of the race, with the 64-year-old leading the race outright in his 30-year-old Van Diemen RF89.
Age also proved no object for Garry Watson, who finished fifth overall and won the Pre-’78 class in his Mawer. In total there were 48 cars entered, with John van Leeuwen (Van Diemen RF80) winning the 1978-’83 class in 23rd place.
Watson also led briefly in race two, though it quickly became another wheel-to-wheel battle between Buchan, Ojeda and Davison for victory, with Thomas Hamlett (Stealth RF93) closing in towards the end.
Buchan was triumphant once more, with Davison, Watson and van Leeuwen also winning their respective classes again.
Hamlett set himself out as the man to beat in the final race, battling with Ojeda until the latter hit outside wall at Forest Elbow and retired. The fight for second between Buchan and Davison gave race leader Hamlett breathing room up front, with the trio securing the podium places.
Lowing and Austin Pearson (Van Diemen Stealth) completed the top five, with a large gap to Pre-’78 winner Watson. Van Leeuwen’s trip from Western Australian proved itself worthwhile once again as he took another 1978-’83 class win.
After his impressive race one performance in the Spectrum 010, Beche skipped races two and three to concentrate on his Bathurst 12 Hours preparation.