NATIONAL FORMULA FORD FEATURES FAMILIAR FACES ON SILVERSTONE GRID
Alex Birley gives us a look ahead to this weekend’s Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship races at Silverstone, with the title battle getting closer to its conclusion and one or two familiar names returning to the grid too.
The seventh round of the National FF1600 Championship takes place at Silverstone on the 14th and 15th September with a 24-car entry list and a line-up that promises even more of the action-packed close racing we have enjoyed all season.
Championship returnees include Don Hardman Racing’s Joey Foster making his first outing in the Firman RFR16.
Kevin Mills Racing has four Spectrums racing with regular drivers, championship contender Neil MacLennan and Michael MacPherson being joined by the 2018 championship runner up, Michael Eastwell who made a stunning 2019 debut taking a race victory last time out at Kirkistown.
The fourth member of the squad is series returnee Michael Moyers who will use the opportunity as part of his preparation for takin a third consecutive victory in the Walter Hayes Trophy.
The Swift Cooper Formula Ford team with their experienced driver ,Thomas Cappezone, are also making their 2019 debut along with Rotor Racing’s Kenneth Cowie.
The return of these competitive racers gives current championship leader, Ross Martin, something else to think about at the penultimate round of 2019. The Team Dolan driver has had a great season, extending a healthy 42-point lead in the Pro Series, but he knows that he needs good points-scoring finishes and no incidents in the remaining six races if he is to clinch the championship.
Martin’s closest rival, Spike Kohlbecker, is one of four cars being run by Cliff Dempsey Racing. The young American driver has proven consistent this year but needs race wins to close the gap in the championship.
Two drivers who might put a stop to that are his teammates Jonathan Browne and James Clarke. With the dropped score rule Browne is definitely in the championship hunt. Clarke has had a few incidents which puts him out of contention, but he has proven he is a very quick racer and is hungry to take his first National Championship victory.
The fourth driver is Club racer, Pascal Monbaron. We haven’t seen the Swiss driver since he had a big crash in testing at Croft, but he has the potential to win trophies in the Club Championship.
There has been a great battle for the Club Championship title between Belgian racer, John Svensson and Team Dolan’s Adam Quartermaine. They are both out at Silverstone but face a larger than usual class entry with Nigel Dolan, Henry Chart (with Oldfield Motorsports), Klaus Dieter Haeckel, Thomas Craincort and Samuel Street all out for this round.
The 2019 season has seen five different Pro-class winners and the first was B-M Racing’s Rory Smith. It has been a challenging year for Smith who has experienced technical woes and a few incidents which means he is not in contention for the title. However, he is always an exciting driver to watch.
Smith is joined by Tom McArthur who last raced at Anglesey. He scored a podium at the Welsh track and could easily do the same again at Silverstone.
The third member of the B-M Racing team is rookie racer Nicole Woods. It has been a steep learning curve for Woods, who will be looking to build on her experiences.
Currently leader in the rookie class is Team Dolan’s Morgan Quinn who is aiming to extend his lead at the Northamptonshire circuit and have more finishes in the top half of the table.
Quinn’s teammate, former F4 racer, Jamie Sharp is another driver who has had ups and downs season but is aiming to finish on a high at the two remaining rounds.
Silverstone is also the final leg in the Triple Crown Championship (National and Club) where points scored at three rounds (Snetterton, Brands Hatch and Silverstone) decide this trophy. It is an initiative by the BRSCC to enable competitors to go for titles and silverware without necessarily having to find the budget for a whole season of racing.
There is a packed programme of racing including the Mazda MX5 Supercup, the Fun Cup Championship and the BMW Compact Cup.
Qualifying starts at 09:00 on Saturday 14th September with racing from 10.45. The first race of the day on Sunday is at 09.40 For the full timetable and event information go to the official championship website.