Asher JohnstonAsher Johnston has capped off a remarkable debut year in the Victorian State Formula Ford Championship by finishing second at Phillip Island’s final round, at the weekend.

19-year-old Johnston, from Glenelg in Adelaide, backed up his round five win just a month ago with his weekend success at the 4.46km circuit’s traditional end of season Island Magic weekend, ending his first full year in a Formula Ford on a high note.

The round result also secured Johnston third in the Victorian title, a storming second half of the season elevating him up the order to the podium finish – backing up his championship win in the Victorian Formula Vee title twelve months ago.

The final round started in difficult circumstances when Johnston’s #18 G-Force Mygale entry suffered niggling technical problems throughout Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session, relegating the team to a 11th place starting position some two seconds behind the pole mark.

Safe in the knowledge that his car was quick, however, Johnston went on a charge in the first race later that afternoon surviving a carnage filled affair – that was shortened to just three laps – to finish six places higher than where he started, in fifth place.

Using that as a launching pad for Sunday, Johnston was engaged in an ultra-close four car battle for the lead in race two, eventually finishing fourth, just one-tenth behind third placed Kristian Lindbom and under half a second behind the winner.

The final race – the traditional season ending Jayair Phillip Island Formula Ford Trophy – was a thriller, Johnston involved in a three-car dice for the lead with Taz Douglas and Glen Wood for the first eight of ten laps.

After passing Wood, Johnston and Douglas continued their battle from the previous round and once again went side-by-side to the line, with Johnston’s year-long rival getting across the line just 3/100s ahead.

“It was just an amazing weekend, what a way to end the year,” said Johnston.

“The weekend started out being very difficult with the little problems we were having in Qualifying but once we got it going the way it should have been it was an absolute rocketship.

“The first race was tough and I was fortunate to survive an off track excursion in one piece to get to the flag. On Sunday the racing was just very close and very competitive but in the end we were able to get to the front.

“It was a shame to miss the win like that but we’ve had closer finishes this season!” he said.

With third in the championship locked away Johnston has firmed as one of the fastest young drivers in the country, his impressive pace shown – especially at the end of the year – throughout the 2006 season ensuring that Johnston will be one to watch in 2007.

“It’s been such a huge year,” Johnston said.

“I have to thank my crew because they have just done such a wonderful job all season long. Without their support, and the support of G-Force Mygale and my other sponsors this wouldn’t have been possible.

“The year has exceeded my wildest expectations. We knew stepping up into a Formula Ford from the Vee would take some time, some patience and a lot of learning and I probably didn’t expect to be in a position to consistently challenge for race wins so early in the year.

“It’s just been such a fantastic year and this is a great feeling to take with me on my trip overseas this week.” He enthused.

Johnston is now en-route to the Mygale factory in France, taking in a two-week trip to Europe with G-Force Mygale Australia owner Greg Woodrow on a fact-finding mission.

Johnston will visit the Mygale HQ in France and will also take the time to visit England in the process.

Asher Johnston and the entire AJR Team would like to thank the support of their sponsors for the 2006 racing season, including G-Force Mygale, Richards Auto, Cartek Sales & Service, Check it Out Graphics and Duplex IT, as well as those who participated in the “Check it out’ campaign.