1986 VAN DIEMEN RF86 Formula Ford
Chassis number 1041
SOLD new to Azois Schmellmann (Switzerland) 25 February 1986 and raced in Europe for many years by various drivers in his race team at all the major European circuits including Spa, Monza, Zandvort, Dijon, Hockenheim and many more but it never raced in the UK. Some of the cars history since has not been documented but some earlier owners after Schmellmann included Ja Alo Marques, Urs Beruiterer in 2005 it was purchased and raced by Team Dean who were expat Poms based in Geneva continued to race in all the European rounds in which it was eligible until sold to George Palby in Sydney.
We have a letter of authenticity from Van Diemen confirming build etc...and the European FIA log book showing all the history and tracks the car has raced on ... what a pedigree!!
So in 2007 George Parlby (a Sydney businessman) commissioned Tim Beale of Anglo Australian Motorsport who runs a successful team of Spirit Formula Ford racing cars in both State and National (current) Formula Ford motor racing to procure FIVE mid 1990's cars overseas for him and a couple of his mates to race in 2010.
Beale (Anglo) being a Englisman with extensive history in the UK Formula Ford found the cars in various conditions both in the Europe, UK and New Zealand ... one of which was this car in very good condition.
RF1041 (this car) came minus engine and wheels but was by far the tidiest and most original of all the cars so Parlby decided on it as his car and commissioned Beale and his team to rebuild it and find the best engine from any of the other cars ... they gave the engine a thorough inspection, installed it and rebuild the entire car to a “ready to race” condition including some Rebel (Australian) alloy wheels which fitted perfectly. The car also now has a current CAMS log book but in accordence with the CAMS historic regulations has had to revert back to it's original lightweight steel Weller wheels which are still available brand new so we bought two new sets from the UK.
Poor old Mr Parlby after spending all this money tried to sit in it and ... alas he was far to big as Van Diemen’s were renown for having small cockpits. I received a phone call not long after offering me the car at his “cost price” so we took it Oran Park GP Circuit with my son Tom who posted a 1m 15.02 lap and I bought it as it would have been THIRD on the grid in the last State FF round ... a very quick little car and extremely reliable ... nothing went wrong at all.
The age threshold for Historic Formula Ford has been raised by CAMS from end 1983 to end of 1990 in year 2011 so this car is now eligible for historic racing and is a potential race winning car as the updates below will confirm.
UPDATES: Eastern Creek 5th July 2009 NSW FF State Series Tom Tweedie was 3rd OUTRIGHT in our 24 year old car against a large field of 19 cars many of which were late model FF cars ... Tom was only a little over a second slower than the race winning car ... who says the old cars are "dead?"
2010 UPDATE ... Eastern Creek round 1 March 12/14 NSW State FF Series large grid of late model FFords Tom again scored 3 x outright third places (almost 2nd) in the Trophy race and missed by a metre against Anglo Motorsports latest Spirit FF's ... not bad considering? Currently he is running 3rd in the State FF C'ship and 1st in the pre 1990's.
2011 and 2012 UPDATE ... Now has historic log book and Cof D and ran at Bathurst both years beating all historic FFord's by a "country mile" and 3rd OUTRIGHT at both meetings against the current "modern" cars ... this must be the fastest RF86 in Australia and probaly the fastest Group Fc Formula Ford too.
NOV 2012 ... Eastern Creek Tasman Revival Tom won THREE out of the FOUR races including a very closely fought Trophy (main) race on Sunday afternoon thus reacquainting him with the top step of the victory rostrum in Formula Ford a position he has enjoyed many times in the past especially in our "old" Elwyn 002 (now sold). Very close racing between two of them up front with the rest of the 25 car field some distance behind so this little VD RF86 is seemingly the fastest historic Formula Ford in NSW ... possibly Australia. See the complete race (18 minutes) and turn your sound on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw04v07sr7Y it get's even better towards the end ... so stay watching through the middle bit!
2013... Bathurst Feb 2013 ran as a pre 1990 historic car and qualified 4th against a large portion of the field in late model (Kent engine) cars and was first historic FFord all weekend with a forth and two fifth outright places over the weekend and only a couple of seconds away from the fastest time posted by the winning "modern" car.
NOV 2013 - SMP (Eastern Creek) HSRCA Historic race meeting ... end of year and Tom dusted off and entered our RF86 for a final fling in 2013 against a rapidly improving front of field bunch of historic Formula Fords. The quick guys included lap record holder Mark Lowing (Reynard), young Jimmie Vernon (Reynard), Cameron Walters (RF86), Nick Bennett (RF88), David Holland (Reynard) etc plus the rear end of the field was padded up with around 20 Formula Vee's that lapped 15 seconds slower and started behind the main grid of FFords.
The racing up front all weekend was very fast and close at lap record speeds and Tom sored pole position and was never beaten in the first 3 x races scoring close but decisive wins hampered a lot however by lapping the Formula Vee's that were having their own battles much slower and sometimes not looking in their mirrors. This caused some compression at the front as Tom fought hard to get past groups of cars taking up most of the track. Race 4 late on Sunday afternoon also had the same passing proplems with Tom way out in front at times only to be held up by dicing Formula Vee's allowing 2nd place Mark Lowing to catch him which as result they finished the race side by side with Lowing taking the final win by 0.0273 of a second which was very close indeed.
Combining catagories with large speed differentials has it's problems especially when the slower category was made up of a few experienced drivers but predminantly novices who probably only race once or twice a year and it was a miracle there were no accidents at all but we hope the orginisers recognise the possible risks of combining catagories and Tom considered he lost the last race win after being severly held up by the slower cars when he lapped them especially when he was first to arrive on their tails ... c'est la vie!
For Bathurst footage we suggest you see link to http://new.livestream.com/itvl/bathurst12hour/videos/11149923 miss the first few minutes (advertising) and fast forward a little through the recording defects ... a great weekend and we could ask no more of Tom and the car.
Above: Van Diemen RF86 at Eastern Creek 2009
Above: NSW State Series at Eastern Creek 2009
Above: Tom Tweedie in 1986 Van Diemen leading late model
Van Diemen Stealth at Eastern Creek 2009
FEB 2015 Bathurst supports to 12 hour GT race … Australia's fastest racing woman driver Leanne Tander (Stealth) and Tom (RF86) were on the front row of the grid for Race one against a field of a mixture of 50 x modern and historic racing FFords including some State and National champions which considering the age of Tom's car especially was a good result.
Race 1 was won by a couple of modern cars followed by Leanne and Tom who were 3rd and 4th respectively and a little over a second a lap off the pace of the newer cars.
Race 2 turned out to be reveting with Tom winning the start with a blinder and Leanne was turned around on turn 1 so she didn't figure in the results from thereon. The 2 x modern FF's eventually caught and eased passed Tom but he was well ahead of the rest until lap 5 a safety car was called out after one of the two leading cars crashed in to the wall on turn 5 and this compressed the field all back together. The restart again saw Tom in second but five other cars behind him including young Jimmy Vernon latched onto his tail and they all slipstreamed each other swapping places sometimes 2 or 3 times per lap none having any great advantage except perhaps driving skills and some luck … anyway last lap Tom picked his way back up to finish 2nd place outright behind a modern FF and managed a 2m27sec lap (and over 230 kph down conrod straight) as well so he was well pleased having beaten 48 other hard trying FFords on Australia's best race track.
Above: Tom's brilliant start in car 3 from the second row of the grid
Other cars in the Robert Tweedie Collection include: (click)
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