2013 SEASON REVIEW: DUNLOP MSA FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP OF GREAT BRITAIN
Dan Cammish set all kinds of records on his way to the Formula Ford tite this year. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
The 2013 season will go down in history as one of the most extraordinary in the history of Formula Ford, and not only because it marked the first time that a mainstream Formula Ford championship was contested by cars sporting front and rear wings. It will be the domination of one driver, Dan Cammish, for which the 2013 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain will chiefly be remembered, and rightly so.
Dan’s step back to Formula Ford was a gamble by the Yorkshireman to help revive his racing career following a serious crash and injury sustained in a European Formula Renault race in 2012. The 24-year-old knew he was over-qualified for Formula Ford and ought to do well but, motorsport being as unpredictable as it is, Dan could not count on it.
Things turned out for him far better than he dared hope. Dan achieved three narrow victories in his JTR-prepared EcoBoost Mygale at the opening meeting of the season at Brands Hatch over Easter to establish an early championship lead and, from that point on, he never looked back. A clean sweep of victories followed at Donington Park, Thruxton and Oulton Park as Dan ran rings around his eager and promising – but inexperienced – rivals.
Harrison Scott delivered the first blow to Cammish’s domination at Croft in June, when he out-qualified him to claim his maiden pole position, and led him for a few laps before summoned to the pits for a drive-through penalty. The only other driver to put a move on the champion was Nico Maranzana, who beat him to the pole for round 20 at Knockhill and led him for half the race until making an error.
Cammish’s statistics make extraordinary reading: 24 wins from 24 starts, establishing new records for the most number of wins in a single season and the most consecutive victories; 22 pole positions; 19 fastest laps and 11 new lap records. Cammish led 399 of the 415 laps on his way to becoming the ninth consecutive driver of a Mygale chassis to win the British Formula Ford title, and he was JTR’s second successive champion also. The spoils of victory for Dan were a BTCC test in an Airwaves Racing Ford Focus ST, a year’s use of a Focus road car and £1,000 in the shape of the Sky Ford Pole Position Award.
It wasn’t until Cammish rested on his laurels that the rest of the Formula Ford chargers were able to enjoy the limelight. Seventeen-year-old Scott, for whom this was a maiden season of car racing, added his first victory to his CV at Silverstone with an inspired drive at the wheel of the Falcon Motorsport Mygale. In all, Harrison visited the overall race podium 16 times and won the Scholarship class 13 times en route to the rookie class title and championship second overall – a good season for the Essex youngster and an indication of greater things to come now that he has more experience.
Scott battled for the Scholarship crown and championship second for much of the season with Maranzana. Alas, after finally breaking through at Knockhill with a hat-trick of class victories and second-place race finishes, Jamun Racing driver Nico opted to end his season and return home to Argentina… That left the way clear for his countryman and team-mate Juan Rosso to shine for Jamun at season’s end with a hat-trick of wins in difficult slippery conditions on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Juan missed the April Brands Hatch races after breaking his hand in a pre-season testing accident, but bounced back with second-place finishes behind Cammish at Donington and Thruxton. Alas, his form dipped in the mid-season but his end-of-year return to the front was a pleasure to watch and netted him a deserved championship third.
Jamun’s third man, Jayde Kruger, is a multiple winner of single-seater championships back home in South Africa and, in order to further his career, decided that a move to the UK was required. His first championship outing came at Oulton Park in June and he was immediately competitive, twice finishing on the podium during his maiden weekend in Formula Ford. Second-place finishes followed at Snetterton and Rockingham, and his maiden race win was notched up at Silverstone.
The season’s other race winner was young American Camren Kaminsky, another relative novice in single-seater terms. Inevitably overshadowed by his team-mate Cammish, Camren nonetheless showed flair right from the outset of the season, and drove brilliantly in the first Silverstone race to become the first non-Dan winner of the year. While Cammish enjoyed mechanical perfection all season, Kaminsky was occasionally the recipient of some poor luck and was also sometimes the blameless recipient of others’ driving misjudgements. He ended the season eighth overall.
JTR’s third man was a driver with a lot to live up to, and racing rookie Sam Brabham – son of triple Le Mans winner David and grandson of World Championship-winning legend Sir Jack – did not disappoint. Once he’d found his feet (and missing the opening rounds was not a help) he was quickly on the pace and, indeed, the podium. Despite limited opportunities to test, young Sam claimed his maiden Scholarship class victories at Oulton in June, and was unlucky not to win at least one of the Silverstone races, having led all three.
A mid-season switch of chassis, from Sinter to Mygale, was a distraction for James Abbott but it did help improve his pace and results, which late-season became a match for his extraordinary consistency – James was the only driver to score points in all 30 races, and as such was a deserved fifth in the championship standings for Radical Motorsport.
The championship’s other season-long regular was Andy Richardson, who was not only making his single-seater debut as a driver but was also finding out the hard way about the discipline with his family team, Richardson Racing. When technical difficulties could be overcome, Andy was as rapid as the best of them and book-ended his season with second-place finishes as Thruxton, behind Cammish, and at Brands Hatch, as runner-up to Rosso.
Richardson ended the year fourth among the Scholarship class runners, ahead of Luke Reade, who completed the last three meetings with Falcon, and 16-year-old ex-karter Connor Mills, who showed considerable promise in his outings with Meridian Motorsport.
In all, Formula Ford entered the EcoBoost-with-wings era in exceptional style and the championship flourished as part of the live-TV spectacle that surrounds the British Touring Car Championship meetings. Roll on 2014…