NATIONAL FORMULA FORDS SEE MARTIN BECOME FIRST DOUBLE WINNER & MACLENNAN VICTORY AT ANGLESEY
Alex Birley provides us with a detailed report of the weekend’s action in the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship at Anglesey in North Wales.
Ross Martin became the first double winner of the 2019 season after another exciting race in tricky conditions.
There had been plenty of rain at the Anglesey Circuit, but when pole sitter, Spike Kohlbecker, lead them round it was on a drying circuit.
At the start it looked as if Kohlbecker bogged down a bit and it was the Kevin Mills driver, Neil MacLennan who made the best start to move from third on the grid and into the lead before turn one. Ross Martin was second, Rory Smith third and Kohlbecker back in fourth.
Smith was on a charge after some reliability woes at the previous two rounds, passing Martin as they exited Rocket and looking to find a way by MacLennan. The B-M Racer took the lead, but MacLennan was not giving up and there was a coming together between the two at the Corkscrew. Both drivers dropped down the field with Smith finishing fourth and earning a point for fastest lap, whilst Neil McLennan was not happy to finish down in an eventual 11th place.
There were close battles up and down the field on this challenging circuit. The rookie racer, Brendon Leigh had put in an impressive qualifying performance to start the race in fifth place. Tom McArthur demoted him to sixth, but the Esports driver was looking racy. Unfortunately, his move on McArthur resulted in a collision which also collected former F4 driver, Jamie Sharp.
Sharp and Leigh retired on the spot, but the B-M driver, Tom McArthur managed to keep going, although he had to head to the pits to have two cones removed from under his car and would eventually have to retire.
With Sharp and Leigh stuck on track the safety was deployed to recover them with five minutes being added to the race time and what a race it was with Kohlbecker desperately trying to find a way passed title rival, Martin.
This battle for the lead allowed James Clarke to close the gap on the top two. It had already been a stunning drive from the Cliff Dempsey racer, who had started back in tenth on the grid and it can’t be long until this youngster gets on the top step of the podium.
Adam Quartermaine took the Club Class win and fastest lap, with Belgian racer, John Svensson in second having a recovered from an early spin in the Rocket combination, and teammate Pascal Monbaron in third.
Former Ginetta racer, Morgan Quinn, was the top rookie. Quinn was on the backfoot having missed out on testing due to exam commitments and had qualified 11th. He was up to sixth at one point and would eventually finish in ninth.
Fellow rookies Nicole Wood and Scott Huntly both had quiet races, taking the opportunity to gain valuable experience of racing on a changeable track after two sunny rounds at Snetterton and Oulton Park.
Two drivers out for the first time in the National Championship were Jamie Thorburn of the Border Reivers time and David McArthur (Tom’s brother). Thorburn had an interesting race having dropped out of the top ten he then took full advantage of the various incidents to move up to finish in sixth having managed to hold off Kevin Mills Racing’s Mike McPherson.
McArthur was still on a high from an exciting victory in the Northern Formula Ford race. He was running fourth, but didn’t put up any resistance to teammate Smith, who is contesting the whole championship, so would finish in fifth place
Oldfield Racing’s American driver Aaron Jeansonne had some disappointments at the last two rounds, but he had a very positive race, finishing in 8th from 14th on the grid.
There are two further Formula Ford races today with plenty more nose to tail racing at this stunning circuit.
Ross Martin took an impressive lights to flag victory and the fastest lap in the second Formula Ford 1600 National race of the weekend.
Behind him the Cliff Dempsey Racing teammates, James Clarke and Spike Kohlberg had a race-long battle once Clarke had made his way back passed Smith after the B-M driver had passed him on the first lap.
Cliff Dempsey may have had a nervous time on the pit wall, but whilst the racing was hard, it was also fair. Clarke made his move into Rocket and then managed to fend the American off for the rest of the race.
After a disappointing first race, Kevin Mills racer, Neil MacLennan had a storming drive in the opening lap as he went from tenth on the grid to fourth.
B-M Racer’s Tom McArthur knows the Anglesey circuit well and it showed as he had an impressive race, coming through from 16th on the grid, after having to retire from race one, to finish sixth, just one place behind his older brother, David.
Brendon Leigh enjoyed a good race involved in a few battles, including one with his teammate Michael MacPherson, who he passed into turn one in the closing stages to finish in seventh place and securing himself a rookie win.
Quinn was disappointed to have dropped from his ninth-place grid slot into 12th, although he enjoyed a good dice with Pascal Monbaron. Other rookies Scott Huntley and Nicole Woods finished 14th and 15th.
Huntley’s Oldfield Racing teammate, Aaron Jeansonne, finished tenth and took the final points scoring position.
Jamie Thorburn enjoyed some close racing at his first event of the year. At one point he, MacPherson and McArthur had crossed the stripe together. He lost out in that battle with both Leigh and Sharp also finding a way by. However, the Border Reivers driver was having technical problems and wasn’t able to get it sorted for the final race of the day. He is hoping to do a few more rounds this year and is likely to be a threat.
Sharp also had a technical problem as his Team Dolan slowed dramatically up the hill to Rocket on the last lap.
In the Club class John Svensson had it all his own way takin the win and fastest lap, especially after Adam Quartermaine had a spin in the last corner. The Team Dolan racer got going again but finished in 16th.
There was a mixed-up grid when ball six was pulled out of the bag which meant the pole sitter was race two’s sixth place finisher Tom McArthur, who had his brother, David right behind him.
There was some jostling for position into turn one. MacLennan had moved from third to second on lap one, with him and Tom McArthur side-by-side at the end of lap one. The Kevin Mills racer made the move into Rockets which he would hold until the end, despite a safety car period.
The safety car was brought out as double race winner Ross Martin and Michael MacPherson had a coming together at the exit of Rockets which put them both out. MacPherson was judged to have caused the incident and was given two points on his licence.
Five minutes were added onto the race time, but when the lights on the safety car went out, we were left with three laps of close racing.
Sharp, having started back in 17th, was charging through the field, as was Rory Smith who had been at the back of the grid.
Smith passed David McArthur on the hill up to Rockets and also took fastest lap. In the final corner he took fifth place from Sharp in a great move. After his engine problems in the second race Sharp said he was relieved to be able to start the final race and thoroughly it, despite that.
Brendon Leigh took Rookie class honours again, finishing seventh overall, with Morgan Quinn finishing 11th, Scott Huntley 14th and Nicole Woods 15th.
John Svennson took Club Class honours and fastest lap again in the Club Class ahead of Adam Quartermaine and teammate Pascal Monbaron.