The start of the new racing season normally brings with it much anticipation and excitement, but sadly the commencement of the 2016 Australian and New South Wales Formula Vee Championships has been overshadowed by the passing of Formula Vee racer, Allan Harrison this week.
The CXC Team Stinger driver passed away suddenly on Thursday, aged 54 – the result of a heart attack. He is survived by wife Rose and daughter Emma, who shared the sad news on Social Media yesterday.
Harrison was entered to compete this weekend, and his passing has come as a huge shock to not only family and friends, but also his fellow Formula Vee racers, some of whom knew Allan back when Matthew was racing Karts.
As Allan would’ve wanted, the show will go on, and what a show it promises to be. Daniel Stein pledged that he’ll be racing for Harrison this weekend. 2015 wasn’t the best year for Steiny, with mechanical issues and European adventures preventing him from being a championship contender, and he returns in 2016 seeking redemption.
2014 Champion Dylan Thomas will be out to continue his strong form from the back end of the 2015 season. Thomas charged home with a clean-sweep at Wakefield Park, and backed it up with three top-five finishes at Sydney Motorsport Park. Consistency will once again be the key for the former champion, if he is to battle with Ryan Reynolds and Michael Kinsella, the men who defeated him last year, for the title. All three are on the grid this weekend.
Injury mid-season cost Reynolds a shot at the State Championship in 2015, and while brother Daniel has hinted he may not run the full season, you can’t under-estimate Ryan’s ability to get to the front, be a contender and win races when he’s on the grid.
Michael Kinsella had an almighty year in 2015 – winning the State Championship, and putting together a long string of consecutive race victories in the early part of the season, which set him up perfectly for title supremacy, and it was basically secured when Reynolds missed that round at the back end of the series.
Elsewhere, James Horne will be looking to bounce back from what was a generally disappointing 2016 season. A former race winner in Formula Vee, Horne wasn’t able to match the pace from Darren Williams, Thomas, Kinsella and Reynolds in 2015, and made uncharacteristic mistakes that took him out of contention when he was on pace.
Speaking of pace, Simon and Aaron are back for another crack at the Formula Vee title in 2016. Simon is a consistent and proven performer, while Aaron is improving every time he gets behind the wheel!
The best of the interstate competitors, here for the National series, is Kieran Glover. He was right in the thick of the action at Sydney Motorsport Park in September, and if the form there is anything to go by, he’ll be a podium contender this weekend, and may even snare a win if he’s in the right spot at the right time, and what I mean by that is, due to the close nature of Formula Vee racing, if the top four or five are all in one batch, each race is likely to go down to the last lap, maybe even the last corner… we can hardly wait.
Qualifying takes place at 9:50am, and there’ll be three races over the course of the weekend – one that’s sure to be emotion charged, as we say goodbye to the late Allan Harrison… there’ll be a minute’s silence at the Drivers Briefing, and as a mark of respect, the front row will be left vacant for Race 1 of Formula Vee tomorrow afternoon.
Allan Harrison – Rest in Peace.
NB: Allan’s Funeral will be held next Friday (March 11) at the Lake Macquarie Memorial Park in Ryhope.