HODGEN’S HELL BRINGS JARDINE JOY AT OULTON


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Jamie Jardine on his way to securing yet another Formula Ford title. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk

On 11thOctober the BRSCC’s North Western Centre took charge at Oulton Park for the final time in 2014 with plenty of focus on the battle for the Avon Tyres Pre 90 Formula Ford 1600 Northern Championship in which, ahead of this meeting’s final two rounds, Jamie Jardine in a Reynard FF84 had a 10 point advantage over Van Diemen RF89 driver Chris Hodgen after dropped scores had been taken into account.

Hodgen was aiming to take pole followed by a race 1 win with fastest lap. In that scenario, if Jardine had taken second, it would have set up a winner-takes-all final thrash of the year. With Jardine suffering gear linkage dramas and having to run much of qualifying stuck in fourth, Hodgen was able to complete the first part of his quest with the quickest Pre 90 lap but his car returned to the paddock on the back of truck with the rear of his vehicle destroyed after a component failure pitched him into the barriers at Hill Top.

Fortunately, John Loebell of Medina Sport had a spare RF89 available that Hodgen was able to use for race 1 although this meant starting from the back of the grid. With Jardine taking a comfortable win by over 16 seconds, Hodgen worked his way up the order to take the flag in eighth. His Myerscough College team tried everything possible to prepare the wrecked Van Diemen for the final round but time ran out and Hodgen had to use the Medina car once more. His nightmare got worse however as the replacement vehicle resolutely refused to start. Eventually the engine fired up but when Chris finally left the pit-lane, the first lap was well under way with Jardine en route to the Pre 90 Northern Championship as he led every lap. On this occasion the Reynard FF89 of Stuart Jones remained large in his mirrors for the duration.

Stuart Gough has had such a fantastic season in Post 89 Formula Ford that he was in contention for the Northern Championship in that class without it being one of his primary objectives at the start of the year. He decided to put in a late entry to compete at Oulton Park in a bid to add to the Triple Crown and National titles that he already had in the bag. He completed an amazing hat-trick of championships with two consummate victories with closest challenger, David McArthur, spinning at Cascades on lap 5 of their first encounter which put him on the back foot.

Jardine and Gough also won the Wallpaper Central Autumn Trophy and the Moose Trophy which were up for grabs at this meeting.

Cascades were also a significant corner in the final round of the Dunlop TVR Challenge as it troubled a number of drivers. Firstly, Darren Smith locked up and took a high speed trip through the gravel there having been part of a thrilling three-way dice for the lead in which the Sagaris of Dean Cook was taking on the Tuscans of Smith and Christian Douglas. Cook was the last man standing after Douglas went off at Druids bringing out the Safety Car. When the field was unleashed, Jason Clegg beached his Tuscan at Cascades bringing the race to a halt a few minutes early.

An action packed 4-hour Fun Cup event kept competitors, officials and spectators on their toes as it provided a dramatic end to the BRSCC’s season at Oulton Park. Car 99 JPR UVio ran strongly at the front of the field but there was a one lap penalty hanging over the team due to their first pit stop being made later than the regulations permitted. This was scheduled to be applied after the chequered flag but it was an irrelevance by that stage of proceedings as the car retired following an accident around two-thirds distance.

Another front-running entry to crash out was 107 Honeywell. They were involved in an incident with the 171 DespatchBay.com car at Old Hall in which the latter vehicle lost a rear wheel assembly.

When the final Safety Car period ended with less than 25 minutes to go, 220 Apollo Motorsport were ahead but they lost out to 2014 champions elect, Car 1 Racelogic, as Joachim Richter made a demon pass round the outside into Hislops. This move proved to be academic as Apollo were called in for a Stop and Go penalty as their final pit-stop was 7 seconds too short. Racelogic therefore capped their title-winning season with another victory.

During the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 prize-giving ceremonies thanks were given to Northern Co-ordinator, Matt Hawkins, who is relinquishing his role due to other commitments. After 9 years of excellent service to the FF1600 community Matt and his wife Julia, who was always on hand to assist him, will be greatly missed by everyone connected with the series. Bourne Photographic were commissioned to produce a montage of Formula Ford action which was presented to Matt.
You can check out all the results and lap analysis courtesy of TSL at Oulton Park Results

Dave Williams