SILVERSTONE JUNE 19/20 PREVIEW – AVON TYRES NATIONAL FORMULA FORD
We’ve now already reached the third weekend of racing for the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship in 2021 and after superb meetings at Donington Park and then Knockhill in Scotland, it’s back across into England and the Midlands as Silverstone’s National circuit comes next on the schedule. A circuit that’s always popular with Formula Ford drivers and one that’s used to host the annual Walter Hayes Trophy at the end of every season, the long straights will certainly mean there will be passing opportunities aplenty in all three races this weekend.
Over the first two meetings, the main man in form has been former British F4 man and 2020 Rookie champion Alex Walker, whose transition to the championship winning Kevin Mills Racing team has seen him really take a turn in fortunes. From the opening race of the year, he’s been right on the pace and hasn’t left the podium once in the first five races of 2021. Three wins, a 2nd and a 3rd have served him nicely and Silverstone will be another chance to carry that good momentum. Right now, the man in 2nd place is American hotshot Max Esterson, who hasn’t managed to finish higher than 2nd in the opening race at Donington and has managed to pick up a further three podiums to end up the most consistent driver behind Walker. Surely a first win has to be around the corner soon and perhaps Silverstone could be the venue that delivers it.
Two B-M Racing cars are next in the standings, the first being Jamie Sharp. Ever since he moved to Formula Ford from British F4, he’s been steadily getting quicker and quicker and the move to Andy Brickles’ team has appeared to have paid off since it happened last year. He already has one podium to his name in 2021 and while he couldn’t quite match that at Knockhill, there’s every chance he could get back on the rostrum this weekend. The other driver is 2020 Formula Ford Festival champion and Donington winner Rory Smith, who is only contesting a part season to dovetail his Historic F3 plans. Rory’s form on the opening weekend had many questioning if he should stick around for the full season and while it’s not in his plans, Rory can certainly take confidence that he’s instantly on the pace every time he steps back into his Medina Sport chassis.
Chris Middlehurst certainly made up for the misfortune of Donington Park by getting straight back on form in Scotland. A 2nd place was then followed by a win in the all important second race which saw him not only claim the victory but also the coveted David Leslie Trophy as well. This certainly continues to prove that Chris’ credentials and pace in Formula Ford are superb and that day at Knockhill has certainly helped him rebound back up the standings. Next comes the highest rookie in the points right now, which is karting graduate Lucas Romanek. He’s made a steady start to life in Formula Ford and certainly seems to be enjoying himself and improving each time he heads out on track. So far his best result has been a 5th place, but it can’t be long before he has the confidence and speed to grab his first National podium finish.
The rest of the top 10 in the Pro Class comprises of Carter Williams, Luke Cooper, Colin Queen and Joey Foster. Carter is back in Formula Ford full time after two seasons refining his skills in British F4 and then BRDC British F3, so he’s been pushing hard to improve his results from his previous run in the category a couple of years ago. So far he’s only been able to manage three 7th places, so his next target will definitely be to get into the top five and start racking up some serious points. Luke Cooper is a no-show this weekend, Colin Queen’s first season racing in cars and outside of America is already off to a steady start with flashes of pace and as for Joey Foster, there’s not much more you can say about one of the best Formula Ford drivers of our generation, other than he will always be formidable every time he lines up on the grid and Silverstone will certainly be no exception.
Round out the rest of the entry list are young rookies Thomas Mills, Benjamin Cochran and Andre Lafond, all looking to continue learning on the fly as they go, plus former W Series racer Megan Gilkes, young Irish racer Morgan Quinn and Jamie Vinall-Meyer who jumps into Oldfield Motorsport’s second Van Diemen chasses beside Williams. Ben Tinkler will also compete this weekend at Silverstone as the sole Clubman class driver in his Ray GR09, the same car that his teammate Foster drove to Festival victory at Brands Hatch back in 2017.