SEASON REVIEW: NORTHERN FORMULA FORD
Post 89 Champion Chris Middlehurst is undoubtedly a star of the future. Photo: www.bournephoto.co.uk
Kent engined Formula Ford racing in the North West has a long and illustrious history, and the 2011 season certainly maintained this distinguished heritage. Careful planning, a good mix of new ideas and established concepts, all coupled with vastly improved communication, proved that the current tough economic times can be bucked – with grid sizes notably up on the previous season.
New for 2011 were a triple header meeting at Anglesey and a double header “away” meeting at Donington Park. Both events were well supported and hugely successful, and both will be repeated in 2012.
Racing in the championship always provides great entertainment for the drivers, spectators and marshals alike. The wide appeal of the close, competitive nature of FF1600 racing draws both up and coming talents and seasoned competitors to the championship – something that is highlighted perfectly by the 2011 champions, Chris Middlehurst in the Post-89 category and John Loebell in the Pre-90 category.
Chris, son of former BTCC racer Andy Middlehurst, started 2011 in a sensible and cautious fashion as a sixteen year old competing in his first season of car racing. However, by mid-year he had established himself as a front runner and genuine title contender – going on to score over 75% of his winning points tally in the second half of the season. Chris is an undoubted star of the future, and we wish him much success as he moves on to progress his motor racing career in 2012.
Runner-up spot in the Post-89 championship went the way of the ever popular Blackburn driver, Martin Short. Martin is unquestionably one of the most passionate and committed racers in the Northern paddock, taking the opportunity to race whenever he can, and always amongst the leading pack. His second in the championship reflects his dedicated approach; a great achievement given the fact he was unlucky enough to experience two engine failures during the season.
Equally as keen and dedicated as Martin is John Murphy, third place finisher in the 2011 championship. After a massive roll over at Oulton Park at the end of 2010, John purchased himself a slightly older class B car and then went on to very quickly establish it as a consistent Post-89 front runner, with some great performances throughout 2011.
2011 Pre-90 champion, John Loebell, is synonymous with FF1600 racing across the UK, as a seasoned campaigner, the head of the widely respected Medina Sport Team and an official dealer for Van Diemen. After making his first appearance at the second meeting of the year, John then went on to win seven of the twelve races he entered during the season. Despite his long association with the sport, John’s championship success should not be under-rated as he had not competed on a regular basis for many seasons prior to 2011.
Second in the Pre-90 championship went the way of the likeable Nigel Dolan, another established FF1600 racer and firm supported of the Northern championship – who travels from the Midlands to enjoy the competitive racing on offer in the North West. Nigel also dominated Class D this season, an achievement not to be taken lightly as this has been without doubt the most competitive of the five classes during the year. Third place overall went to Ian Parkington, the 2009 Pre-90 champion. Despite his top three finish, Ian did not have the best of seasons in 2011, with a huge amount of bad luck through mechanical failures and getting caught in on track incidents. Nonetheless his car was always as immaculately presented as ever, and Ian was never afraid to push it as hard as possible whenever he could.
A season review would not be complete without a heartfelt word of thanks to all the volunteer marshals; without who our racing would not be possible. On behalf of the entire Northern FF1600 paddock – thank you one and all for your hard work and commitment once again this year.
Overall Final Points Table
Final Points Table for Classes