SIKSTROM’S FESTIVAL LOVE AFFAIR
Although the Formula Ford Festival doesn’t officially start until Saturday, this morning was the unofficial start of the annual end of season event when the first Formula Fords took to the track to start three days of intensive testing.
Arriving at Brands today, for testing tomorrow is Peter Sikstrom who is typical of the many Kent Formula Fordsters who make the annual pilgrimage to Brands Hatch each October. The one major difference is that Peter is 53 years old and loads up his car onto its trailer and drives to the famous Kent circuit each year from his home town of Fristad in Southern Sweden!
Having started out as marshal at his local circuit of Anderstorp in the mid seventies, Peter then took to the track in 1978 in a Lotus FF1600 before switching to a Royale RP27 in 1980. Peter went on to have an extensive club racing career at home and in the Netherlands, the highlight of which was becoming the Swedish Historic champion in 2000 in a Van Diemen 79.
Peter’s enduring love affair with the Festival began in the seventies when a few of his contemporaries made the trip and returned with stirring tales about the cut and thrust of Festival racing. However, Peter had to wait until 1999 for his first visit to the traditional end of season event and that was as a spectator. That was enough to whet his appetite and Peter was back the following year in his Classic Formula Ford finishing a very creditable 5th.
Thus started a run of annual pilgrimages, that was only interrupted in 2005 when an over zealous Dutch driver wrecked Peter’s car at Zandvoort just a couple of weeks before the Festival. If it wasn’t for that unfortunate incident this year would have been Peter’s 10th consecutive Festival. So what is it that keeps the ebullient Swede coming back year after year? “I just love the atmosphere at the Festival – everybody is here to have fun! The one big thing that makes the Festival so nice to compete in is the very good marshals who really try to make it perfect for everybody. I don’t know many other tracks on which I have raced where the marshals are so quick to tow away the crashed cars to clear the track”, said Peter. Hopefully, Peter will not be requiring their services this weekend!!