BRANDS HATCH AUGUST 7/8 PREVIEW – AVON TYRES NATIONAL FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
We’re now moving into the crucial second half of the season now for the 2021 Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship and with all-important dropped scores coming into play now, it’s really begun to close up the scrap at the top of the Pro Class points between the top three. Racing takes place at Formula Ford’s spiritual home of Brands Hatch, with the Indy circuit providing the perfect opportunity for drivers to get some mileage in ahead of October’s prestigious 50th Formula Ford Festival.
Up at the top, it’s now a mere five point spread that covers the top three drivers at the top of the Pro standings. It’s become a true battle royale between Chris Middlehurst, Alex Walker and Maxwell Esterson, all three having won races this year and looking to continue to build on their excellent work so far. They sit in the standings respectively in that order with Middlehurst returning to a circuit he’s won at last year, the only driver other than Neil MacLennan to win a National race in 2020. Esterson has been consistently strong all year, while Walker’s lost a little bit of form and knows Brands has to be the starting point of his fightback.
Next comes Jamie Sharp who finally took his first National race win last time at Anglesey to his and his family’s utter delight. Now he has the taste for it, he’ll be on cloud nine and potentially still on a high from his success, so expect increased confidence this weekend. Thomas Mills is an excellent 5th in his debut season so far and also leads the Rookie Class standings as well, so he’ll want to kick on here at Brands Hatch and collect more strong results to keep up his momentum. 2020 Festival winner Rory Smith’s sporadic campaign continues, looking to succeed at the circuit he took the ultimate Formula Ford prize at last year and will want to add to his win tally after his Donington Park success.
There’s a change of car and team for Lucas Romanek, who has left Kevin Mills Racing’s Spectrum behind and joined Oldfield Motorsport to pilot their second Van Diemen chassis. With new surrounding to get used to, he will wish to get up to speed as quickly as possible. His teammate Carter Williams is enjoying his full season back in Formula Ford this year, and although fortunes haven’t worked out in his way at times, he’s still pushing as hard as ever to pressure the leaders. Colin Queen and Megan Gilkes have also had their moments throughout the season and will be hoping this circuit is kind to them, with Gilkes already having raced here in last year’s Festival. Andre Lafond will also round off Low Dempsey Racing’s trio of American drivers, constantly learning and getting quicker with each lap he drives.
Formula Ford legend Joey Foster is back on the grid here with us, hoping to not only get back onto the top step of the podium but to also put fear into his rivals should he opt to contest the 50th Festival in a couple of months. Don’t expect him to hang around for anyone or anything given the chance! Benjamin Cochran’s first season in the category has had its up and downs throughout so far, but this will be another chance for him to carry on working on his craft and to get quicker before the weekend concludes. Noel Robinson and Terry Walkingshaw also join the Pro Class grid, both surely putting in the laps to prepare for October.
The Clubman class gets three representatives this weekend, with Silverstone winner Ben Tinkler looking to add to his earlier scores, while father and son duo Paul and James Tucker will be hoping to give him the run-around as much as possible and potentially even steal a class win or two.