Home News Crosbie leads, Supercars icon Murphy stars in NZ FFord round one

Crosbie leads, Supercars icon Murphy stars in NZ FFord round one

by Ida Wood

Photo: Geoff Ridder

Alex Crosbie leads the New Zealand Formula Ford championship after round one, which attracted national motorsport icon Greg Murphy.

Murphy starred in FFord in the early 1990s, won the New Zealand Grand Prix and then won the Bathurst 1000 four times in a 19-year Australian Supercars career during which he was twice championship runner-up.

In qualifying 2021-22 NZ Formula First runner-up Dylan Grant took pole for his series debut by 0.208 seconds over Blake Dowdall, with reigning champion Crosbie, Zach Blincoe and Greg Murphy also within a second of him around Hampton Downs’s international layout – being used by FFord for the first time.

Grant led away from pole in race one, while Crosbie passed Dowdall for second and Blincoe’s fourth place came under pressure from Blake Knowles on lap two. They went side-by-side into turn two on lap three, with Knowles emerging ahead and Murphy also passing Blincoe.

There was a lead change at the downhill turn eight left-hander hairpin, as Grant turned in late and Crosbie went through.

Knowles tried passing Dowdall at the end of the next lap, succeeding in doing so but providing a double slipstream for Murphy who passed Dowdall into turn one one on lap five, and briefly nosed ahead of Knowles.

Just ahead of them Grant got back past Crosbie, then the safety car was summoned as Dowdall stopped with a flat battery.

Crosbie looked to have regained the lead around the outside of turn one at the restart, but Grant had enough traction to stay ahead. Knowles tried getting Crosbie into turn two, while Murphy shadowed them in his Malboro-liveried Van Diemen RF92.

William Neale then stopped by the track with a smoking car, leading to local yellow flags.

Crosbie braked late to overtake Grant on the inside at turn three, with Knowles now right on their tail, then on the final lap Grant lunged down the inside at turn two. He ran too deep, but had the inside line for turn three, and they ran side-by-side before Grant definitively got ahead just before coming across Neale’s car.

The fight continued, with Crosbie getting alongside at the finish but losing by 0.042s.

Grant and Crosbie shared race two’s front row. Crosbie immediately passed Grant, while Blincoe passed Dowdall for third only for both to be mugged by Murphy in a great move.

Dowdall reclaimed third as lap two began, and fifth-placed Knowles spun. Grant dived past Crosbie at the turn seven hairpin, but Crosbie got back ahead before the safety car appeared as Dylan Petch crashed out.

Knowles retired in a collision with Mike Davidson once racing resumed, but that did not interrupt the action. The podium fights went into the final lap, with Grant taking Crosbie at turn seven but Crosbie braking late to get back by at turn eight.

Crosbie won by 0.040s, and Murphy lost fourth to Blincoe at the line by 0.027s.

Race two fastest lap put Blincoe on race three pole, and a hectic opening lap included two three-wide moments resulted in Grant taking the lead ahead of Crosbie, Blincoe and Dowdall.

Crosbie then passed Grant at turn nine, and resisted his attacks until turn six on the final lap. Grant went for the inside, locked up and spun into Crosbie’s rear-left wheel. Both fell down the order, handing Blincoe the lead.

Blincoe had almost passed Grant at turn eight two laps prior, and provisionally won by 0.9s ahead of Dowdall.

Murphy started outside of the top 10 and finished second, as a technical infringement led to Blincoe being disqualified, and at the end Kyan Davie got between the battling Mason Potter and Daniel Brown who had been hounding Murphy most of the race. Grant was penalised post-race, dropping him behind Crosbie in the race and the championship standings.

Results round-up [cars listed]
Race 1 (10 laps)
1 Dylan Grant Van Diemen RF03 19m47.977s
2 Alex Crosbie Ray GR21 +0.042s
3 Blake Knowles Van Diemen RF05 +0.145s
4 Greg Murphy Van Diemen RF92 +0.500s
5 Kyan Davie Spectrum 015 +2.634s
6 Daniel Brown Ray GR21 +3.480s
7 Dylan Petch Ray GR20 +5.040s
8 Mason Potter Spectrum 015 +5.103s
9 Sebastian Manson Spectrum 015 +5.341s
10 Hayden Bakkerus Mygale +5.441s
Pole: Grant, 1m44.129s
Fastest lap: Crosbie 1m44.224s

Race 2 (8 laps)
1 Crosbie 16m36.734s
2 Grant +0.040s
3 Blake Dowdall Spectrum 015 +0.955s
4 Zach Blincoe Mygale SJ07 +4.067s
5 Murphy +4.094s
6 Brown +4.522s
7 Davie +5.900s
8 Jack Noble-Adams Ray GR21 +7.051s
9 Leo Scott Spectrum 05 +8.047s
10 Bakkerus +8.630s
FL: Blincoe, 1m43.934s

Race 3 (10 laps)
1 Dowdall 17m34.512s
2 Murphy +3.868s
3 Potter +4.614s
4 Davie +5.443s
5 Brown +6.047s
6 Noble-Adams +8.861s
7 Caleb Byers Ray GR21 +9.320s
8 Manson +9.655s
9 Knowles +10.053s
10 Petch +10.209s
FL: Grant, 1m44.095s

Championship standings
1 Crosbie 175   2 Grant 174   3 Brown 168   4 Potter 148   5 Noble-Adams 139   6 Dowdall 135   7 Manson 126   8 Byers 115   9 Knowles 102   10 Petch 88