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Historic F3 Championship final Points and Season Review



HISTORIC FORMULA 3

2018 season review

Milicevic sets the standard

Jon Milicevic retained his Historic Formula 3 title in fine style with another exemplary campaign in his Brabham BT21B.

The Towcester garage owner was in mighty form right from the start of the season and kicked off his campaign with a double win at Donington Park in April. It was the start of a run of 11 wins from 12 races and only an engine problem at Brands Hatch hindered his march to the title.

Milicevic cruised into the pits at the end of lap six in the second race at Brands Hatch in mid-summer. “I heard it go and knew it was time to switch the engine off,” said the championship leader. “It was incredibly warm and the engine was starting to get very hot behind Jon,” said the chasing Andrew Hibberd. Milicevic bounced back from the engine drama to win four times through August, in double-headers at the high-profile historic festivals at Croft and Oulton Park, to finally seal the matter with three races still to run.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits to win the title,” said Milicevic. “It may look easy, but it’s not and I’m so proud to be champion again. Thanks are due to Josie and Alison for their support and to Keith Messer and all the F3 guys for a great season.”

However, although the bare statistics suggest a Milicevic whitewash, that was far from the case and it was Hibberd who proved to be the major rival to the lead Brabham. Inevitably, commitments to running cars for customers impacted Andrew’s season in his father’s ex-Chris Irwin Brabham BT18 and of the nine races he managed, Hibberd was a close second to Milicevic on seven occasions. He took victory when the championship leader faltered at Brands Hatch but was just edged back to third in the final standings by Mike Scott in his Brabham BT28.

The Exeter-based racer missed the two really long haul trips but was otherwise always in the podium mix and chased Hibberd home in the second Brands race. The contest for championship runner-up came down to the final race at Silverstone and with Barry Sewell not there, and so out of the running, Scott managed to chase Hibberd home for third place in the race and second in the final standings.

At Silverstone in October Scott said: “I sneaked it! I was trying to work it out but you’re not sure when you are in the car. Andy Jarvis drove really well and he nearly went into the back of me when I missed a gear. So I put a bit more effort in and it paid off.”

Hibberd took third in the points, just three down on Scott, while Sewell (Lotus 41) was a consistent scorer until missing the final three rounds. Just behind Sewell was race car preparer Mark Linstone (Brabham BT21) who had an absolute ball with consistent good results, while Christophe Widmer (Brabham BT18) was a worthy sixth. The popular Swiss racer contested double-headers at his three favourite UK tracks as well as the late-season Dijon date. Second place at Cadwell Park was a real highlight along with fighting back to the podium at Brands after an off in the first race. Widmer was a last-lap retirement when a loss of brakes pitched him off at Clearways. The damage was repairable and Christoph had offers of help and parts from the across the HF3 paddock as he worked to get the car ready for Sunday’s race.

The Brands weekend also featured the annual Nations’ Cup and in the final reckoning the main prize went to the Great Britain B team of Hibberd, Scott and John Waggitt (Chevron B15). That was particularly poignant as Hibberd’s ex-Chris Irwin Brabham won the corresponding race in August 1966.

More important cars returned to the grid this season and the line-up at Donington in April for the start of the championship season included the race return of the ex-David Purley Brabham BT28, racing for the first time in more than 40 years in the hands of new owner Steve Jones. He qualified an excellent sixth and finished well inside the top 10 in both races.

Just as noteworthy was the fabulous ex-John Miles Lotus 41X, which was a welcome addition to the grid in the capable hands of Italian racer Enrico Spaggiari. Car and driver finished seventh in the final standings after contesting the races at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Dijon.

Meanwhile Gregan Thruston (Brabham BT21B) was eighth in the points despite ending his season early against the barriers at Oulton Park in August. Monday’s race at the Gold Cup meeting had to be red-flagged and re-started after an unfortunate accident for Thruston who went off at Deer Leap. Gregan was later taken to hospital for further checks on a shoulder injury. Peter Hamilton’s Tecno was also sidelined in the accident.

At Cadwell Park in May, the Historic F3 races again remembered racing journalist Justin Haler with a trophy that honours the memory of the Autosport reporter who covered the 1-litre F3 category extensively in the late 1960s. Under unbroken blue skies and in front of a good crowd, the pair of races wound the clock back to 1969 and 1970 when the British Formula 3 cars of the day visited the spectacular Lincolnshire track. Among a strong entry were several cars with notable Cadwell Park histories including the ex-Reine Wisell Chevron B15 of Jon Waggitt, which finished fifth in the 1969 Lincolnshire International Trophy.

Others to make their mark in sporadic outings were Steve Smith (Chevron B15), Andy Jarvis (March 703) and Peter Thompson (Brabham BT21B) who had a run of misfortune brightened by a double second place at Croft. Andrew Tart (Merlyn Mk9), Keith Messer (Vesey) and Peter Hamilton (Tecno) were regular contenders who enjoyed some of the highs and lows that are typical of the sport.

Paul Lawrence



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