FORD FIESTA SEASON REVIEW
With the 2009 season now concluded we take a look back at a remarkable year for the Competition Car Insurance Ford Fiesta Championship.
The season got underway with a strong competitor base of registrations with each of the three classes really showing support and depth in numbers. Having achieved a record grid average of 30 in 2008, and with a recession gripping the country, the outlook was decidedly uncertain. However, the championship had always been resilient and so it was to prove again.
The opening round at Silverstone in April attracted 32 cars and from then on the entries were sustained with the grid average for the season settling at 36. The drivers all preferred the weekend format which allowed them to have both intense racing and social activities in the paddock on a Saturday night.
The Fiestas are split into three classes. Class A for Fiesta Si; Class B for Fiesta Zetec; Class C for the Fiesta ST. A brief tally of drivers who race in the classes reflect as follows:- Class A – 17, Class B – 17 and Class C – 25. Thus over the season some 59 drivers have raced at one time or another.
The early part of the season saw David Nye quickly establish a rhythm in Class A with back to back wins which were to see him establish a championship record of 12 out of 12 maximum scores. In Class B the outcome was to be less sure as Ken Bateman, Scott Baines and Lee Brett all produced some fine displays. Ultimately it was the pace and consistency of Lee Brett which secured him the Championship class honour.
The newer class C racing saw the new Fiesta ST out in force with 17 regular drivers. In contention virtually throughout the season were both David Ellesley and Nick Sanderson and then latterly the 2008 Zetec champ Mark Tilbury. In the end consistency won the day with the genial young man from Suffolk, David Ellesley, coming out on top courtesy of eight wins from twelve races.
For 2010 the format will be tweaked slightly in that all meetings will only be weekenders. At present it is envisaged that some 7 weekends will provide 14 races. The meetings will feature a Saturday morning free practice and then afternoon qualifying. Sunday will feature two races, which are planned to be filmed for broadcast on MotorsTV. When high demand warrants, the entries will be split to double up on both the Saturday and Sunday formats, with the classes being split for A & B racing together and C running alone.
The Fiesta format of one make racing on Dunlop slick tyres is proving very popular as demand is soaring with interest from brand new competitors and from some other perceived 'higher profile' one make championships. A few cars are for sale, but in the main many new cars are being prepared and built – this is especially true for the Fiesta ST. The three class championship will continue for the foreseeable future.
Ford Racing UK boss Kevin Shortis said “We predicted back in January that the Championship would not only ride the recession out, but grow. Nearly a year on that has been borne out. In my opinion, the future for club motorsport will be focused on championships where the cars are near standard, reliable, cost effective and well policed. A year’s motor racing in a Fiesta will cost around £5,400.”
This is the blueprint that the Fiesta Championship is geared to. The Championship will have a dedicated stand at Autosport with plans for cars to also feature on the Competition Car Insurance and Lydden Hill Circuit stands.
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