FULL FESTIVAL ROUND-UP


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After 10 years of trying Neville Smyth finally got his hands on the Kent Festival trophy. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

The Formula Ford Festival 2010 held over the weekend of October 16-17 on Brands Hatch’s 1.2 mile Indy Circuit saw the BRSCC SE Centre join forces with HQ for a 24-race programme culminating in the three Formula Ford Finals. Midday rain on Saturday meant that the early races took place with drying track conditions.

Fittingly, the race action kicked off with Formula Ford Festival Heat 1 sponsored by Aireshelta plc. Pole sitter Ed Moore was caught out by the damp track as he took a wide line at Clearways on lap one, the Bath man spinning his Ray GR11 into retirement. Ivor McCullough came through to clinch victory in his Van Diemen RF00 ahead of brothers Josh and Felix Fisher at the completion of 12 laps.

Heat 2 sponsored by Weller Wheels/Motorsport Events saw Noel Dunne’s Mygale SJ08 make the best start to head pole man Spencer Pigot. The Team USA Scholarship driver then slipped further down the order on lap 5 when Smyth and McMullan swept by exiting Paddock Hill Bend. His woes were compounded when he was clipped by team-mate Felix Serralles on lap 11 entering Paddock, taking both cars out. Dunne took victory ahead of Smyth, with just a thousandth separating McMullan and Jordan Skinner at the flag.

Competition Car Insurance Ford Fiesta Class A&B runners were next up, but left the track without a result being declared after two race-stopping incidents. Sunday’s 20-minute race saw two cars beached at Paddock on lap 1, but after a Safety Car intervention, Ruari Fairbairn’s trip from the Isle of Mull was rewarded with victory ahead of Tim Bennett and Rex Nye.

The Fiesta Class C race was less fraught. Leicester’s David Grady converted his pole position into a race victory. Jeremy Gumbley and Jason Cooper were unable to improve on their P1 and P2 grid lots.

Grady and Gumbley renewed their combat in Sunday’s 20-minute encounter, with a lap 5 manoeuvre by Gumbley seeing Grady end up in the Clearways gravel trap. A similar fate befell Cooper on the last lap. Gumbley took the chequered flag, but officials took a dim view of his move, excluding him from the results, promoting Whitstable’s Mark Tilbury to first.

The Formula Ford Festival Duratec Heat 1 sponsored by Future Events race was a cracker. Festival returnee Peter Dempsey made a cracking start to snatch the lead from Scott Pye. Scott Malvern was missing from the field have broken down on the formation lap. Although Dempsey’s Ray GR10 was well clear in the early stages, Pye fought back in his Mygale SJ19, with Tio Elinas joining in. A blanket finish saw Pye snatch victory from Dempsey.

Duratec Heat 2 sponsored by Dunlop saw Denmark’s Dennis Lind make a storming start in his Van Diemen LA08 to take the lead as the leaders exited Paddock .Lind held off the attentions of the pack to take victory at the completion of 12 laps.

Fastest cars on the track were the BRSCC Formula 3 Series runners. Chipping Norton’s Alex Craven won the 20-minute race in his Dallara F304 ahead of Mark Terry and Chris Needham.

Needham upped his game in Sunday’s encounter, his job being made easier by a drive through penalty for Terry, and a Clearways spin for Craven. Alf Skeels and Lewis Hamilton-Smith took the remaining podium slots.

Closing Saturday’s action was the first race for Zetecs, sponsored by Communicate. Neil Tofts didn’t make the best of starts from pole in his Mygale SJ04, but moved into the lead as the race progressed. Julian Hoskins and Paul Britten filled the podium slots.

Sunday dawned bright and breezy, with Duratec Quarter Final 1 sponsored by Lifeline Fire & Safety Systems opening proceedings. Contact between de Wit and Pye at Druids on lap 1 took both frontrunners out of the race with suspension damage, handing the advantage to James Tucker, but Tio Elinas moved into the lead half way through. Antti Buri and Malvern made their way from the back of the field to take third and fourth.

The Sports 2000 Historic Championship runners were next up for a 25-minute mini-enduro. Niklas Johansson’s Tiga SC81 and Jim McDougall’s SC79 were the class of the field, Johansson edging the verdict. Peter Needham’s SC82 was a distant third.

The Sports 2000 Duratec 30-minute encounter was dominated by Neil Burroughs’ Gunn TS11, the Tadley driver finishing 15s clear of Patrick Sherrington’s MCR, with Matt Manderson’s march a similar distance adrift in third.

Johansson’s attempt to double up in the 25-minute Sports 2000 rave was thwarted by Redhill’s Paul Streat, the Swift DB2 pilot taking a well-earned victory. McDougall claimed third behind Johansson.

The second Duratec QF sponsored by Haines Watts saw another good start from Peter Dempsey to lead into Paddock, but pressure from Dennis Lind saw him run wide exiting Graham Hill Bend on lap 5, the Dane sweeping by into the lead. Contact at Druids on last lap took out Dempsey, de Zille and Swinkels. Josh Hill took second.

The start of Kent Semi-Final 1 sponsored by Cam-Tech Security saw pole man Dunne squeeze Josh Fisher on the run up to Paddock to keep the lead. Behind the lead pair, great progress was being made by Felix Serralles from 23rd on grid to 10th lap 4 in a new car borrowed by Cliff Dempsey Racing. At half distance, Jonathon McMullan was fastest on track, moving past Fisher, who fell further down the order as Adam Quartermaine moved into third.

Kent Semi-Final 2 sponsored by REIS saw a clean start from Ivor McCullough to head field away, only to succumb to mechanical woes just after half distance. A move by the fast-charging Spencer Pigot on the penultimate lap 14 resulted in contact with Scott McGarrity, but both continued. Smyth and Jordan Skinner finished well clear of Matthew Parr in third.

Duratec Semi Final 1 sponsored by NCPI Solutions saw Lind make a clean getaway. A big accident for Robert Wolk at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 2 resulted in the race being neutralised by a Safety Car. Lind won from Malvern and Dempsey.

Fortunes in Semi final 2 were decided right at the outset, when Josh Hill was judged to have made an out of position start. He ignored drive through and black flag instructions. Despite winning on the road, he was disqualified, handing victory to Elinas. Scott Pye’s drive through the field was rewarded with second with Buri third.

A novel qualifying system in the four-lap Kent last chance race sponsored by Andrew Elliot for Kent Air Ambulance allowed Felix Serralles, Robert Smith, Ivor McCullough and James Hagan progress to the final.

Neil Tofts was aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the FF Zetec Final sponsored by Communicate, but he speared off exiting Paddock on lap three, necessitating a Safety Car and rescue intervention. Julian Hoskins Vector TF93 caught the rest napping at the restart. Lucy Wardrop’s Van Diemen traded blows with Paul Britten’s similar car before moving ahead into second. Both Wardrop and Britten survived separate spins late in the race to join Hoskins on the podium.

An oil spillage caused havoc in the 20-lap Kent final, beached and rolled cars causing a Red Flag. Neville Smyth headed Noel Dunne and Jordan Skinner for the podium slots after an eight-lap restart, with Pigot a battling fourth.

Drama prefaced the 20-lap Duratec final as Peter Dempsey pulled off on the warm-up lap. When the lights went out, Dennis Lind headed into a lead he held until the chequered flag, with Scott Pye moving ahead of Tio Elinas. Scott Malvern climbed into third, but lost ground in the run up to the line, Elinas reclaiming the slot behind Festival winner Lind and Scott Pye.

The weekend was rounded off in the Kentagon where BRDC President & former F1 champion Damon Hill presented the Roger Pederick Trophy to Scott Malvern for being the highest placed Englishman in the Final. Scott was also the recipient of the John Nicol Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding drive by a British driver.

Colin Mann