CLUB FF NW : 4 RACES, 4 DIFFERENT WINNERS
Rounds 7 and 8 of the Creative LED Solutions Club Formula Ford North West Championship took place at the Anglesey last weekend. While the grid sizes weren’t the strongest the championship has seen during 2009, those who didn’t enter certainly missed out on an excellent weekend’s racing. The four races provided four different winners, with entertainment throughout for the drivers, marshals and spectators alike. Apart from a brief shower during Sunday morning’s free practice, dry and warm weather was very much the order of the meeting.
In the Post-89 category, it was a welcome return to the North West for the 2004 champion, Steve Roberts. Running the only Class B car in the field, expectations were high of Roberts’ performance. Unfortunately a broken bolt in the rocker assembly would put the Whitchurch driver out of the running in Saturday’s race. It was Medina Sport’s Neil Patten who shone in this race, taking a faultless pole position to chequered flag victory. Behind him it was the battle for second that provided the real entertainment, with Martin Short and Doug Crosbie never more than a few inches apart for the entire race. It would have been very easy for there to have been contact between the pair, but there was no such incident, with full credit to both drivers for the duel being conducted in the very best racing spirit. Short hung on to take second place ahead of Crosbie.
Patten’s Sunday race was unfortunately a rather different affair to the previous day. He started badly and dropped back down the order, and then as he began recovering through the field he was faced with a spinning Simon Kinsey coming out of the final corner. Rather than hitting Kinsey, Patten took avoiding action, resulting in himself spinning and colliding heavily with the pit wall. Fortunately the driver was unhurt, but his race was over. At the head of the field, former champ, Roberts, put in a virtuoso performance, disappearing into the distance from whence he would not be caught. However, once again it was the battle for second that would provide the real action. Again Short and Crosbie were in thick of things, but this time they were joined by John Murphy and Neil McArthur to make it a fantastic four car train. Once again Short held his nerve to keep them all at bay to make it a brace of second place finishes for the weekend, with Crosbie also taking the third step on the podium for the second time.
The early stages of Saturday’s Pre-90 race gave a spectacle you won’t see very often at Anglesey; a group of drivers coming three abreast through the final corner in a battle for the race lead!!! John Farrell just got the advantage over Nigel Thompson and Ian Parkington in that particular moment. However as the lead three battled, it allowed the chasing pack to close right up behind them, giving a seven car nose-to-tail group that passed the start/finish line closer together than the commentator had time to call out their names. Parkington worked himself to the head of the group, while a spin at Rocket for Farrell dropped him back down the running order. Thompson tried every which way he could to find a way past Parkington, but the Class D man drove an excellent defensive race to take the win. Lee Hannam finished third after a very strong performance, the Cheshire airline pilot clearly much happier having switched from a Van Diemen back to his previous Reynard chassis.
At the start of Sunday’s Pre-90 race, it was once again Parkington who quickly got himself into the lead. However on this occasion, Thompson had no intention of letting him get settled there, and took over at the front with a wonderful out-braking manoeuvre into the Rocket complex. Parkington was desperate to get back on terms, however by pushing hard he found himself running wide onto the grass through Church, letting both Farrell and Hannam through in the process. Farrell then made his bid for the lead with a brave and successful attempt round the outside of Thompson coming down the Corkscrew. However keeping Thompson behind you is a tough task for any driver, and the Midlands’ driver soon regained the lead. The leaders’ battle once again closed the pack up behind them, and it soon became a close five car train at the front, all the way to the flag. Thompson held on to take the win, ahead of an ever improving Farrell, and Hannam, who was delighted with his second third place finish of the weekend.