The BRSCC South Eastern Centre will run the 40th Formula Ford Festival this weekend at Brands Hatch and the competitors across the three categories – Duratec, Kent and Zetec are raring to go!
Testing has been taking place on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit since Tuesday morning but when the Kents line-up on the grid for the first qualifying session at 9am tomorrow morning the 40th Formula Ford Festival will be officially underway.
The style with which Scott Malvern won the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain marks the Ilford racer down as an obvious favourite, but that tag brings its own pressures and there are plenty of talented drivers in the Duratec class who will be confident of being the next name engraved on the Festival ‘Roll of Honour’ in the Kentagon. As ever, the Duratec competition has attracted entries from across the world with Australia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden and the USA all represented in addition to drivers from England, Wales and Jersey.
The character of the Festival owes much to the Irish and as ever they are very well represented amongst the 46 cars lining up in the Kent powered section. 2010 champion Neville Smyth is back to try to retain the title – a feat that has never been achieved. The County Kildare resident will however face a stiff examination from Ballymena's Ivor McCullough and the likes of Chris Middlehurst and young Americans Neil Alberico and Xavier Coupal, amongst many others.
The Zetec drivers have worked very hard in the last few months to build a respectable grid and in this day and age 15 cars is certainly that. Julian Hoskins won last year and he is back again but so is Neil Tofts, the winner of the previous two Zetec finals, and he is looking for a third. However, both will have to keep a sharp eye on 70s & 80s Festival legend Rick Morris, who has been campaigning a Zetec in South Africa.
Away from the Formula Fords, but continuing the Ford theme the Festival meeting also hosts the final two rounds of the Competition Car Insurance Dunlop Ford Fiesta Championship. It has been another positive season for the well supported championship that consists of four classes for Fiesta Si (A), Fiesta Zetec (B), Fiesta ST (C) and the latest Fiesta Zetec S (D). Joining the ‘seniors’ for two demonstration sessions on Saturday are the Fiesta Juniors, that cater for the demand of 14-16 year olds who wish to race in a modern Fiesta ST.
Adding to the entertainment this weekend will be the Ford powered Sports 2000 cars, competing in the Duratec, Pinto and Historic classes. Colin Feyerabend’s charges have been a regular part of the Festival for several years now and this season the action should be very dramatic with titles in the Pinto and Duratecs still to be won and lost.
Tomorrow night the BRSCC are hosting a dinner to celebrate the 40th Festival. The fact that the dinner is a 'sell out' is testimony to the enduring appeal and high regard the Festival is held in.