FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 40 AT THE HATCH
2014 winner James Raven will bid for back-to-back Festival titles this weekend – Photo: Gary Hawkins
The end of October on the BRSCC calendar can only mean one thing – it's once again time to experience all the fun of the festival – the Formula Ford Festival, that is! This year's entry looks to be one of the strongest in recent years, with a large number of drivers all with the potential to etch their name into the history books of this famous race.
This year’s Festival will see one of the most varied and diverse field of makes, models and generations of Formula Ford, with no less than 10 different constructors represented in an entry whose cars span almost a lifetime of the Festival itself.
So – where do we begin? This is probably one of the trickiest predictions to make in terms of who comes out on top come Sunday afternoon. Such is the unpredictability of motorsport and indeed the Festival itself, this will be by no means an easy task. Still, let’s run down who is most likely going to be in contention.
Let’s start with last year’s reigning champion James Raven. We’ve only seen him out with us once this year at Silverstone, however he did take the top step so he’s still in good form and hungry to defend his crown. He’s not the only former champion who’s contending to become the first double Brands Hatch winner of the Festival. Three more will bid to make history as Joey Foster (2003), Wayne Boyd (2008) and Niall Murray (2013) are set to do battle this year. The fact that we have 4 previous Festival winners in the line-up speaks volumes already!
Outside of that, you’ve got strong contenders from our own Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Championships. Recently crowned champions Jonny McMullan (Post ’89 National & Triple Crown) and Matthew Cowley (Pre ’90 National & Northern) top the list, while race winners Chris Middlehurst and Stephen Daly (Post ’89) can also be thrown into the mix, as well as regular podium visitor Ben Tinkler. Luke Cooper managed consistent points finishes to end up 4th in points despite the lack of a podium, so there lies a potential dark horse.
Then you’ve got the external threats to consider. Last year’s across-the-board Post ’89 champion Stuart Gough returns as a one-off for this year and definitely shouldn’t be counted out. Once again we’re joined by two lucky scholarship winners from Team USA, with Michai Stephens lining up for the second year in a row alongside newcomer Dakota Dickerson. Team Canada will also be present to add more Transatlantic flavour with Michael Adams behind the wheel.
Of course, you definitely cannot count out the Irish contingent, who run strong in their own national Formula Ford championship all season. Two notable names have to be Jake Byrne and recent Martin Donnelly Trophy winner Kevin O’Hara. Perennial Festival entrants Geva Racing will run Middlehurst alongside Dutchman Melroy Heemskerk and as for other drivers to throw into the mix in general, Jay Bridger, Vincent Jay, Ashley Dibden and Abdul Ahmed are names to consider.
With a list of names like that and more, no bet is safe on who comes out on top. This is the magical thing about the Festival – that it can make a star out of someone who previously may have been an unknown and paint a picture of those to watch for over the next few years. Whatever happens this weekend, one thing is certain – it will be a sight to behold. Keep your eyes on this lot – some of them may crop up somewhere further along the motorsport ladder in a couple of seasons’ time.
Additionally, while the Post ’89 contingent content for the main honours, all Pre ’90 entries will run in their own separate “Historic Formula Ford” final, allowing those in non-contemporary machinery the chance to secure a little slice of glory all for themselves.
In support of the Festival we see a Classic Formula Ford Trophy invitational race and also a very prestigious Masters race which will see an excellent selection of names from Festivals gone by. Plus, we feature our own Jam-Sport Fiestas and Fiesta Juniors, both of which still have titles on the line and a chance to secure them under the Festival spotlight – what an opportunity! There's more Fiesta fun in store from Ireland with the Blackchurch Motors Fiesta Championship making the trip across the Irish Sea too. Last, but by no means least, we also have something of a sportscar flavour with the Sports 2000s to add an extra element to the weekend.
This year’s Festival potentially has all the making to be one of the best meetings in years with the level of competition. Let’s certainly hope the on-track action lives up to the off-track expectation. There’s only one way we could round off our season and this is it – the perennial Autumn weekend at Brands Hatch celebrating one of the most iconic and well-loved single seater events of all time!
This weekends weather looks a little varied. There's rain expected on Saturday afternoon, while on Sunday it's expected to remain dry with sunny intervals. Whatever the weather, it's going to be cold with temperatures fluctuating between a high of 12 degrees and a low of 5! Definitely conditions that require coats, hats, scarves etc.
The full forecast for the Festival can be found here – BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.
Also, the provisional timetable, final instructions and all important entry list can be found here – FORMULA FORD FESTIVAL