New Zealand Formula Pacific 1985
The 1985 International series was brought forward into December, and commenced with the Lady Wigram Trophy. As before, two independent races were run as heats, with points being scored on the usual 20-15-12 basis to decide the overall winner of the event. Davy Jones, last season's dominant driver - but not the reigning champion - was back and took pole from the veteran champion Kenny Smith. Jones beat Smith again in the first heat, by a narrow margin, but the young American retired early in Heat 2, and when Smith followed him into the pits with a puncture, the way was clear for another visiting American, Jones' Ralt Australia teammate Ross Cheever, to take the Heat and the overall win. Jones had less trouble at Manfeild the next weekend and both both Heats, with Smith second in both. Jones had now won seven of the ten race heats he had competed in New Zealand.
Jones made that eight from eleven when he won the preliminary race before the Grand Prix, but he aquaplaned off during the main race. Cheever won the main race, with Smith second, but once somebody had done the necessary calculations, it was discovered that Jeff McPherson was now in a rather implausible championship lead. Smith, Jones and Cheever were close in behind him, the Americans probably reading up on the scoring system before the final race. Cheever was the man on form in the final race and he led both Heats from pole position. The officials retired to their abacus and concluded that Cheever had won the championship and Jones was second, with Smith third. Jones, having won eight of the 14 actual races he had competed in New Zealand, was happy to tell the TV viewers what he thought of that.
02 Dec 1984 > Lady Wigram Trophy
09 Dec 1984 > Manfeild
16 Dec 1984 > New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe
01 Jan 1985 > Baypark Raceway
1984-1985 International Formula Pacific Championship table
|1||Ross Cheever||Ralt RT4/85 - Ford BDD||56 pts||2 wins|
|2||Davy Jones||Ralt RT4/85 - Ford BDD||53 pts||1 win|
|3||Ken Smith||Ralt RT4/82 - Ford BDD||52 pts|
|4||Jeff MacPherson||Ralt RT4/83 - Ford BDD||50 pts||1 win|
|5||Steve Cameron||Ralt RT4/81 - Ford BDD||21 pts|
|6||Charlie O'Brien||Ralt RT4/83 - Ford BDD||20 pts|
|7||Brett Riley||Ralt RT4/82 - Ford BDA||18 pts|
|8||Dave McMillan||Ralt RT4/82 - Ford BDD||16 pts|
|9||Tom Blackaller||Ralt RT4/83 - Ford BDD||14 pts|
|10||Peter Haskett||Chevron B49 - Ford BDD||10 pts|
Points table from Autosport 10 Jan 1985 p48.
Once again, Ralt RT4s were completely dominant, so much so that when Brett Riley's Dart 83M was second fastest in qualifying at Baypark, some of his rivals thought the timing must be wrong. Peter Haskett took advantage of retirements to pick enough points to finish tenth in the championship in his Chevron B49, but Heather Spurle's Chevron B34 was well off the pace.