Results > 5th-6th August 2017 - Croft

Milicevic challenged at Croft


Croft, 5/6th August 2017

Milicevic challenged at Croft

Supported by his daughter and son, ‘Gentleman Jon’ Milicevic got fully into the swing of the eighth Croft Nostalgia Festival on August 5-6, continuing his seemingly relentless march towards the Historic Formula 3 Championship. Two more victories at the attractive and demanding North Yorkshire venue extended the Northamptonshire garagiste’s unbeaten run to seven races. Both were hard-fought thrillers with local ace Jonathon Hughes, out for the first time this season.

Outnumbering, but running concurrently with, the HSCC’s Classic Racing Cars, our 10-strong field was headed in qualifying on the super fast and technical 2.1-mile circuit by Milicevic in the pristine John’s Motors Brabham BT21B on 1:32.680s (81.59mph), with Hughes (Merlyn Mk14A) and former champion Jim Blockley (wheeling out the ex-Ken Sedgley Chevron B17 instead of his faithful BT21) close behind.

Keith Messer (Vesey), the Brabham BT28s of Swede Leif Bosson (ex-Sten Gunnarsson/Gullringshus AB) and Michael Scott (ex-Erkki Salminen/Vätterleden) were closely-matched, as were Simon Haughton (ex-Rene Ligonnet Chevron B15), Mark Linstone (BT21) and former Austin 7 racer Gregan Thruston (BT21B). Andrew Tart (ex-John Fenning Merlyn Mk9) was back having fixed its engine since Cadwell, but Steve Seaman (BT21) had to start from the back after his throttle cable snapped.

Hughes and Milicevic started Saturday’s race strongly, boldly mixing it with the 1600cc BDA-powered cars. They continued to hurtle round, trading places millimetres apart, until Hughes spun onto the Rallycross track trying to maximise his exit speed from the chicane to gain a few revs for the charge to Tower. Freed of pressure, Milicevic kept his right foot buried to win by 25 seconds. Jon also cut fastest lap, improving to 1m31.216s (77.77mph), just 0.096s quicker than Jonathon’s best.

Blockley finished third, having escaped from a good scrap with former champion Bosson, who fell back to fifth behind Scott. Seaman progressed to the head of this trio, diving past Leif’s orange machine into Clervaux on lap nine, only to gyrate back to sixth at the hairpin a couple of laps later. Tart and Messer finished next, ahead of Haughton and Thruston.

Sunday’s race saw both Hughes and Milicevic run second overall – behind only Julian Stokes’ F2 Tecno – in the early stages. Following a gripping battle, in which Hughes tore past Milicevic when he was bottled up behind CRC racer Nick Pancisi’s March-BDA 712 through the awesome flat-out Jim Clark Esses – was again let off the hook when a trip over the kerbs tore a wishbone pick-up point from Hughes’ Merlyn chassis. He joined early casualty Tart in retirement.

Behind our runaway victor, Blockley picked up a misfire which blunted his red Chevron’s performance. Easy prey thereafter, he slipped back to fifth behind Scott, the resurgent Seaman – a fine run from the back of the grid – and Bosson. Thruston completed the top six, having jostled through an entertaining tussle embroiling Linstone, Messer and Haughton on Tart’s demise. Milicevic’s perfect weekend was rounded off with another best lap of 1m32.342s (81.88mph).

Marcus Pye

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