Home News Alex Crosbie wins New Zealand FFord title for second year in a row

Alex Crosbie wins New Zealand FFord title for second year in a row

by Ida Wood

Photo: Euan Cameron

Alex Crosbie became New Zealand Formula Ford champion for the second successive year in the final round of the 2023 season at Ruapuna.

He was fastest by 0.126 seconds over Daniel Brown in qualifying, with just 0.182s covering the top four that was completed by William Neale and Blake Knowles.

Brown and Knowles lined up on the right-hand side of the track for race one, and both started far back in their grid box. As the lights went out they both rolled forward to the front of their box and so already had momentum when the two cars to the left of them launched off the line.

By turn one it was Brown and Knowles in front, but then there was a crash involving seven cars and the safety car came out. Before the race was put under safety car conditions, Brown dropped down to seventh and Crosbie went from third to first ahead of Neale, Knowles and Blake Dowdall.

Racing resumed on lap five of 10, and Neale passed Crosbie early in the lap. But Crosbie went back around the outside of him to reclaim the lead while Dowdall passed Knowles for third.

Knowles passed Dowdall back on lap seven, and a lap later the lead fight reinvigorated. Neale tried a move at turn two, then again at the hairpin and got the job done. Crosbie tried to take the lead back with a late-braking move on the penultimate lap but it did not work, and then another side-by-side moment on the last lap lost him time and any further chances at victory.

Fastest lap was claimed by Knowles as he tried to chase the top two, while Brown recovered to fourth.

Rain hit Saturday’s second race hard, and a safety car period set up a two-lap battle at the end. Crosbie led Neale on the restart, but was passed by his rival while Brown went off and fell down the order. Crosbie then hounded Neale to the chequered flag, finishing 0.108s behind and with Knowles on his tail a further 0.193s back.

Race three was another closely contested contest, with multiple lead changes. Crosbie led by 0.164s over Knowles after seven laps, with Neale a further 0.307s behind, but by the end of the next lap Neale was leading by 0.247s over Knowles and 0.390s over Crosbie.

There was changes again on the penultimate lap, with Knowles claiming the lead while Crosbie demoted Neale to third by 0.152s. The continued fight for second enabled Knowles to win by 1.216s, and Crosbie took second by 0.09s.

Dowdall held fourth ahead of Sebastian Manson and Brown, who traded positions behind him several times until the final lap when Manson tried to pass Dowdall and finished 0.103s behind him.

The title-deciding 12-lap finale counted for double points, and Neale started on pole with points leader Crosbie in fourth.

Knowles led the early running, then several laps of trading first place with Neale enabled Crosbie to close in on and then pass both to win the race and the title. Second place for Knowles earned him the South Island FF1600 crown and second in the national standings.

Results round-up
Race 1 (10 laps)
1 William Neale 19m54.858s
2 Alex Crosbie +0.330s
3 Blake Knowles +0.775s
4 Daniel Brown +4.031s
5 Dylan Petch +4.980s
6 Blake Dowdall +5.137s
7 Sebastian Manson +6.940s
8 Caleb Byers +7.031s
9 Jack Noble-Adams +7.230s
10 Dylan Grant +12.053s
Pole: Crosbie, 1m30.076s
Fastest lap: Knowles, 1m30.700s

Race 2 (10 laps)
1 Neale 18m29.625s
2 Dowdall +0.108s
3 Knowles +0.301s
4 Manson +0.841s
5 Mason Potter +1.393s
6 Petch +1.830s
7 Byers +3.518s
8 Noble-Adams +4.911s
9 Ryan Low +5.320s
10 Crosbie +5.620s
FL: Neale, 1m30.044s

Race 3 (10 laps)
1 Knowles 15m13.371s
2 Crosbie +1.216s
3 Neale +1.306s
4 Dowdall +2.723s
5 Manson +2.826s
6 Brown +3.061s
7 Petch +7.098s
8 Noble-Adams +10.219s
9 Low +14.006s
10 Byers +16.855s
FL: Neale, 1m29.753s

Race 4 (12 laps)
1 Crosbie 19m26.074s
2 Knowles +0.103s
3 Neale +0.454s
4 Manson +1.588s
5 Brown +3.028s
6 Potter +3.111s
7 Petch +4.146s
8 Byers +4.517s
9 Noble-Adams +6.015s
10 Low +6.870s
FL: Neale, 1m30.237s

Championship standings
1 Crosbie 956   2 Knowles 861   3 Brown 838   4 Manson 834   5 Neale 822   6 Dowdall 704   7 Byers 653   8 Grant 616   Noble-Adams 607   10 Potter 561

South Island FF1600 standings
1 Knowles 1358   2 Crosbie 1286   3 Neale 1135   4 Brown 1026   5 Byers 980