2014 SEASON REVIEW: AVON TYRES FORMULA FORD 1600cc CHAMPIONSHIPS
Stuart Gough dominated the Post 89 class. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk
The Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 category had a fantastic season in 2014 with big grids and great racing with something for all drivers to aim for regardless of budget as, in cars that ranged from contemporary to classic, they fought for titles that were awarded at circuit, regional and national levels.
It was a season of many notable performances, not least of which was that of Stuart Gough who returned to FF1600 in Oldfield Motorsport’s Van Diemen RF92s (he piloted both of their chassis from the Norfolk marque during the course of the year) and scooped all three of the major titles in the Post 89 class – Triple Crown plus the National and Northern Championships. This was accomplished against many high class drivers in much newer machinery – testament to both Gough’s driving talent and the preparation skills of Oldfield Motorsport who were taking part in their first full season of competition.
In the National series the outcome could have been very different if rose joint failure on the final lap at Oulton Park hadn’t robbed James Raven of certain victory at the penultimate meeting of the season. This set up a showdown at Anglesey’s triple header finale in which Gough came out on top with two victories to Raven’s one. The latter impressed throughout 2014 in a Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray nonetheless and had the consolation of winning the Formula Ford Festival.
The Triple Crown provided some brilliant slip-streaming action at Brands Hatch, Donington and Silverstone prompting Formula Ford legend, Joey Foster, to comment that it was some of the best racing in this category that he has been involved in.
Ciaran Haggerty made quite an impression in his first car race meeting outside of his native Scotland when he ventured south to Oulton Park for the Northern round in late May. The Dario Franchitti supported youngster quickly got to grips with the challenging Cheshire circuit and scored a dominant victory with his Graham Brunton Racing Ray. He then returned for the Triple Crown meeting at Silverstone where he once again stood on the top step of the podium ahead of a quality field.
Category stalwarts, Medina Sport, once again fielded a “fleet of fleet” Van Diemens and David McArthur was their most prominent driver. The Mancunian finished the season as Champion of Oulton.
The Pre 90 category was all about two men, Jamie Jardine and Chris Hodgen. Jardine started the season in scintillating form in his Dave Hart-run Reynard FF84 but then the Myerscough College Racing Team tuned Hodgen’s Van Diemen RF89 to boost his pace however ill-fortune dogged the Chorley driver. A collision with Stuart Jones at Donington followed by mechanical issues at Silverstone ripped a hole in his Triple Crown and National Championship campaigns.
He remained in contention for the Northern title until the final meeting at Oulton Park but suspension failure during qualifying saw his car torn apart again the barriers at Hill Top. John Loebell of Medina Sport provided him with a replacement racer but Hodgen was at too much of a disadvantage to prevent Jardine from sweeping the board by adding the Northern and Champion of Oulton Trophies to the Triple Crown and National titles that he already had collected.