My 1969 Lotus 61 Formula Ford

Story and photos by Greg Bray.

This article is a little late after the event, but last September at the final historic event of 2017 at Lakeside my Formula Ford blew its engine.

It happened in the second race on the Sunday, half way down the main straight. I had never done a historic race meeting there before, and did not realise that my car would be under geared for that track.

All my previous events had been at Morgan Park, Warwick, which is ideally geared for my Formula Ford, but at Lakeside coming down the main straight flat out, I was over revving at only half way along it. All too much, and the engine just went BANG. Back in the pits, I found that l had a hole in the dry sump as oil and coolant was leaking out.

Back home in my workshop it was engine out, and I knew I was in for a big and expensive job. Sump off, finding the crankshaft had broken first at the rear, then it had bent two rear con-rods, smashed No.4 piston, bent two rear valves, broke the camshaft, ripped No.4 main bearing cap from the block, put a large crack all up No.4 cylinder wall, and a crack all around rear of block.

That’s what you get if the crank breaks when you’re flat out, not much engine left. My crank would have been the original, so it finally gave up with old age and fatigue.

After lots of new parts and work it was all rebuilt for 2018, and now going well. Pleased to say I won my class in the car at in the first historic meeting held at Morgan Park in May.