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, younger brother of Eddie, 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.

The races

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

1Ross CheeverRalt RT4/85 - Ford BDD56 pts2 wins
2Davy JonesRalt RT4/85 - Ford BDD53 pts1 win
3Ken SmithRalt RT4/82 - Ford BDD52 pts 
4Jeff MacPhersonRalt RT4/83 - Ford BDD50 pts1 win
5Steve CameronRalt RT4/81 - Ford BDD21 pts 
6Charlie O'BrienRalt RT4/83 - Ford BDD20 pts 
7Brett RileyRalt RT4/82 - Ford BDA18 pts 
8Dave McMillanRalt RT4/82 - Ford BDD16 pts 
9Tom BlackallerRalt RT4/83 - Ford BDD14 pts 
10Peter HaskettChevron B49 - Ford BDD10 pts 

Previous: New Zealand 1984

Next: New Zealand 1986

Previous: Australia 1984

Next: Australia 1985

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.