The shift of F2 racing this season

Josh Mathews

The formula 2 Midget class has had a major shift this season with a big hole been left by drivers who have moved up into A Grade Midgets.

Last season Aaron Hodgson won the first ever Western Springs Speedway F2 Championship and the year before Nathan Howard was the dominant player taking away the Springs National Points Series. Joe Malone has also had a great run in the F2 class however all 3 have made the step up and opened the door for all new talent on the centre stage.

The racing has been fast and furious and the class has managed to pull good sized fields, and because its seen as the pathway to Midgets and Sprintcars its now starting to get noticed from other tracks that have interest in adding the class to their events.

The aim of the F2 Midget class is to provide an opportunity into open wheel midget car racing, at an affordable level. It is also the intention of this class to encourage competitors to develop their driving skills in an even field of cars.
The major focus of the F2 Midget class is to see competitors achieving their results based on their driving skill, not by gaining any significant advantage through operating with superior equipment.

Opening night 2019 saw Ben Mathews driver of the AB installations/Tigerturf number 7a pick up exactly where he left off, when he won the last feature of the 2018/19 season, then won again in his first heat on the new track this year, however car troubles have just not gone his way dropping the youngster back in the current points standings. Standouts so far would have to be double feature winner Mitch Osborne in the Honda sponsored number 10. Osborne has also managed to get himself on the podium every night except the opening stanza. Another young gun who appears to be dominating this year and with a brand-new Terra Chassis is the Precision Components number 25 driven by Travis Buckley. Buckley started the season off strong taking two 2nd place finishes in the first two meetings and then claiming his maiden feature victory on night 3. He was again in a very good position when he shot out to the front from grid 4 on night 4 and while leading the race, the entire front end fell apart causing him to take a wild ride on the exit of Pine Tree Bend. Buckley is also running two cars this season sporting an A Grade midget that looks almost identical but let me explain how it is not. Some people have wanted to know what makes the F2 class different from the Midget Car class, F2 Midgets was the creation of Promoter Bill Buckley when he had a vison that would allow new comers to enter the sport, race and compete on an even playing field without the big money making a difference to who would win the race. Looking into it a bit closer and with visitors from all over the world here for the International Midget Car Series, here is a list of Definitions which make the Formula 2 class stand out amongst the crowd.

There is a long list of rules and regulations that all drivers and car owners in the F2’s must carry out before their car can enter a race, in fact 11 in total alone just for the engine.

1. Front engines only
2. In-line 4-cylinder, automotive based engine.
3. Maximum 2050cc engine capacity
4. Maximum of four valves per cylinder
5. Internal parts can be titanium provided these parts are standard parts and are described
by the manufacturer as standard OEM parts. No other internal parts can be exchanged for titanium components.
6. No two stroke, rotary, supercharged or turbo charged engines.
7. All variable valve timing (vvt) or V-Tec must be locked in one position.
8. Maximum of 45-degree engine lay-over, measured through the centreline of the cylinder bores.
9. Engine off-set maximum of 25mm, measured centreline of chassis to crank shaft.
10. Mechanical fuel injection only
11. Restrictors:

• One restrictor per cylinder
• Restrictor must be 32mm internal diameter and must be at least 40mm long.

Then there are the general rules that all must adhere too and this is what makes the difference, and why you can never really tell who is going to win on any given night, cause when that green flag drops it all comes down to the driver.
General Rules:

1. No carbon fibre to be used on any part of the car with the exception of commercially available Air Filters and Knee Guards
2. No titanium to be used on any part of the car (excludes reference in Engine Rules 5)
3. Only standard and non-gas external adjustable shock absorbers are allowed. Internal or cockpit adjusters are not allowed.

Currently the F2 class is registered only to Western Springs Speedway and up until last season the class had only ever raced here, now other tracks are starting to take notice and so far, Huntly and Kihikihi and BayPark have both opened the gates.
The class is also not SNZ recognised (for now) but as the fields start to grow it could well mean that its only a matter of time before they become an official Speedway New Zealand registered class, and its only then, that we will see our first ever New Zealand F2 1NZ