After the two 4th placed finishes in the first round we went into this meeting hoping to qualify higher up and get onto the podium so I could improve on 4th position in the championship.
Saturday testing was good in that there were no dramas and with very cold and windy conditions finished the day strongly knowing that if I carried that form into qualifying the next day I could do well. We had a strong grid of 13 cars with former champion Craig Brunton coming back so it was important to qualify well.
Qualifying was incident packed with a red flag for an incident I was lucky to avoid by taking to the gravel and 3 yellow flags in the 10 minute session meant I wasn't able to find a good rhythm and ended up 5th place which was not what I was hoping for.
The first race started well for me as I jumped up to 4th but Ciaran done well to get back at me at Mcintyres which meant I fell back and had to hold off Andrew Chesher for a few laps as it took me too long again to get up to speed. As the race went on I was at an arms length from the front three in 4th place and on the last lap an incident involving a backmarker meant 2nd and 3rd placed men Stuart Thorburn and Jordan Gronkowski had to take avoiding action which allowed me to snatch 3rd place from Jordan on the stretch up to the line! It was definately a race where I showed by not giving up can pay off as I was getting faster and faster and if I hadnt I wouldnt have stolen 3rd! This definately brought back a lot of confidence I was missing after the first meeting and qualifying and was looking forward to fight in the second race.
I started the second race from third position and after a good initial get away I had a great fight with Jordan which lasted 10 laps. Jordan and I drove cleanly and not at any point did we put each other in a position where we could make contact which was great. In that time we were both pulling in Stuart Thorburn and with two laps to go he left the door open at the hairpin and I made a late move up the inside and it pulled off! I then managed to hold my own for the final two laps and secure my first 2nd place finish in the SMRC and my first double podium weekend. I also only finished 2 seconds behind double winner Craig Brunton and it was my quickest time for a 12 lap race distance. I was also .07 seconds off the fastest lap of the race which was incredible.
A big thanks goes again to my Dad and Grandpa for making this all happen, Jules for making the car great to drive the whole weekend, our new sponsors, Thistle Medical Training & Services Limited and Absolutely HR for their support. Also to GBR for their hospitality and well done to Craig Brunton on getting pole and winning both races. These races were also for my Grandpa who died the night before this meeting 2 years ago, it was great to get this result in memory of him.
I now sit a clear 3rd in the Championship with 64 points after four races which feels mega! Hope to see you at the next meeting where hopefully I can keep this momentum going.
It's nearly time to go racing again for the second SMRC meeting of the year. After a fairly positive start to the year with my biggest points haul for a weekend it's vital we make even more progress and get back onto that podium!
The last meeting was a mixed bag for me as with two 4th place finishes from comeback drives felt a bit poor at first but after looking at the results in both races I was withen half a second of the fastest lap on a wet/drying track which I have never done before which has given me confidence to cope better next time in those conditions.
If this weekend can be trouble free then I am fully confident of grabbing some big points in both races.
Knockhill are running the same promotion so if you are a friend of me on facebook or follow me on twitter you get in to watch for half price!
Hope to see you there,
The first race meeting of 2013 will definately go down as one of my most eventful weekends!
Testing on Saturday started with bedding in brakes then I was told to push in the second, doing a 56.4s lap after only six laps until a driveshaft failure ended the morning running. An off at Clarks resulted in a lot of missed tracktime in the afternoon so very little meaniful running was achieved. My mechanic Jules and my Dad did really well to sort the car quickly each time and I went into Sunday still confident of good results.
Qualifying was a close affair and with 3 minutes 30 seconds left to run in the session I was 1st, running on old tyres, but was the first one to get the chequered flag and the other drivers on new tyres were able to do better times as the track was drying up dramatically in our session. This left me 4th on the grid and was my best qualifying for sometime however I was slightly disappointed not to break the top 3.
The first race was eventful to the say the least. After a good start off the line I was pushing or third on the first lap and ran wide on the exit of chicane and dropped all the way to last place. This was not the start we needed and it left me with a lot of work to do. In the remaining 11 laps of the race I was able to carve my way through back to 4th, clinching it on the last lap. This comeback drive gave me confidence for the second race and my lap times were similar to the leaders despite me having to battle through.
The second race started off poorly as a poor getaway after a lengthy delay to the start meant I dropped back to 6th. It didnt take me long to get back up to 4th but by that time the top 3 were long gone.
It was definatly a weekend which had flashes of what's to come this year from myself and the car so I am looking forward confidently to the next rounds. Big thanks again to my Dad and Grandpa for making it all happen, especially with the changes to the Vector, Jules for his hard work and GBR for letting us in their garage space!
The next meeting is on May 5th and we really need to kick on there and build on what has been my best ever start to an SMRC season, scoring 28 points in the Championship and lying 4th overall.
It's been a long and cold winter but finally it's nearly time to go racing! With university work, football and plenty of training i have been kept busy and I am itching to get going.
We are going into 2013 with the most preparation ever to ensure we start off the year well and put on a strong challenge for the championship. The car has had a full makeover over the last two months and looks stunning. With only one test day before the first race meeting due to snow it's been unfortunate I have not had more chances to get used to the track and the car again but it's the same for everyone.
The aim for the first meeting is to get up to speed quickly on Saturday and then push to break the top 3 in qualifying in order to set up a good Sunday afternoon. Two podium finishes are definitely the objective for the weekend with the hope to winning multiple races later in the season.
Anything can happen this year and I know I am fully prepared to finally get on that top step of the podium!
Let's go racing!
Have a look at our 2013 racing ebook now or view the pdf file below:
I woke up on Sunday morning to terrible rain. So bad in fact that racing was delayed for over an hour. Becketts was basically a lake and it would have been so easy to aquaplane in a formula ford. We did get racing eventually though and I made a good start from 10th on the grid in the Last Chance race, making up 3 positions in the first lap. A few fast people made their way through but I was able to fight my way to 10th place. This was probably my best ever drive and it meant I qualified for the Walter Hayes semi finals at the very first attempt in bad conditions so I was over the moon.
The semi final was effectively ruined for me before I even turned a wheel. A driver was disqualified from the Last Chance race which moved me up into 9th place and into semi final 1, we weren't aware of this and as we were preparing for the second semi final my Dad rushed in and told me to jump into the car as I had been moved. The semi final was on it's warm up laps when I was still getting my seatbelts on! I was lucky to be able to start from the pitlane but it meant I was a few seconds behind at the back in 36th place. I had great fun picking off the slower cars and made my way to 25th. I feel that I was unlucky not to make the final as I obviously had the pace to be able to make my way through and if I had started in 31st it would have made the job a lot easier. Also there were 3 laps with yellow flags in the main overtaking spots which didn't help.
I still ended the weekend as the top Scot which was the perfect ending to an unforgettable weekend. Big thanks for the weekend to the Garage Door Company for the prize which got me there, Jules the mechanic for saving us on many occasions and his guidance and my family, especially my Dad, for being supportive on such a testing weekend for me. Definately something I won't forget about in a hurry and hopefully if we come back next year I can make a challenge for the final!
I was drawn in qualifying and race 1 which meant I had an early start on Saturday. The track was badly damp and being the first on track meant I had no real idea of where the grip was. I managed to put in a great last lap to put me 10th out of 20 cars. I was extremely happy with this as the top 9 drivers were all really on it and it meant that if any of them slipped up I would be the first to capatalise. The top 9 all go straight through to the semi final so it was important to get as close as I could to that top 9 as I could.
The heat saw me drive fairly well but after a 4 lap battle I missed out on holding on to 10th and finished 11th. It was still a good drive for my first race outside of Knockhill and it put me into a good position for the Last Chance race. I was put to 10th on the grid for that and I had to maintain a top 18 place in order to get into the semi finals. That was to take place at half 12 on Sunday so it was back to the hotel and a good nights rest.
We arrived for the Walter Hayes on Wednesday night and spent two hours prepping up our area in the old F1 garages on the national pit straight. It was amazing to finally arrive at Silverstone after a few weeks preparing for it and after racing at Knockhill for 3 years it was hard to get my head around how huge the place was! The road behind the garages is wider than the actual Knockhill track!
Thursday testing was all about learning the track. Unfortunately due to red flags, terrible rain and a spin of my own I was only able to get 7 timed laps under my belt in the morning. This wasn't ideal and luckily enough the weather improved slightly but the track was still incredibly greasy for the afternoon. It was also the first time I had been on track with more than 20 cars at a time and it was at the best of times absolutely mental! It was a steep learning curve and made me realise how much I was going to have to raise my game to compete at this level.
Friday testing was a lot better. Dry running was crucial and I was amazed at how quickly I was able to push and do competitive times. In under 12 laps I was 1.6 off the fastest driver's pace which was crazy! I never expected to get that close at any point in the weekend but it gave me real hope that in dry races I could push near the front. Unfortunately thought that was the only sunny day we got and the rest of the weekend would be all about how I could cope with slippery conditions and racing drivers I had never met before.
What an end of season meeting that was for me! The standard of the top 7 was crazy with all of us qualifying withen a second of each other. I was therefore satisfied with ending up 5th with my best ever qualifying time in a 10 minute session.
The first race didn't exactly go to plan. I ended up finishing 6th despite a solid race and with a lot of good racing. Race pace was incredible for me setting personal bests everytime I went round!
The second race was incredible. I went from 6th to 4th before the first corner, having to dive between Ally Dow (1st in championship) and Jordan Gronkowski (3rd) after they both missed gears. A lap later I made a move up the inside of Ian Munro to take third and kept a solid pace for 12 laps to keep up with former champion Craig Brunton to take a podium in the final SMRC race of the year! Champagne has never tasted more fine! I was on top of the world at that point but soon after I was announced as the winner of the most promising driver of 2012 which gave me a free entry and testing to the Walter Hayes Festival at Silverstone this November. This is basically the world cup for Formula Fords and I just can't wait to get down there and race with the very best.
Congratulations to Ally Dow who is currently Formula Ford Champion, well deserved. A big thanks to Graham Brunton Racing for helping us throughout this year and for their hospitality. Jules and Robert for being the mechanics when needed and finally my family for supporting me through such a mixed year. I'm now just keeping the training going and head down to Silverstone with an open mind and try to enjoy the experience as much as possible.
Sunday the 7th October is the final round of this year's SMRC championship and I go into the final round currently joined 5th in the championship. I would honestly hope to be higher up in the championship but two DNS due to mechanical issues and being taken out in the second race last time have dented my overall charge.
I still go into this weekend optimistic of breaking the top 4 and then try to achieve two podium finishes to finish off the year on a high!
Dario Franchitti will be at Knockhill on Sunday and I can't wait to race in front of an absolute hero of mine. What he has achieved in motorsport is incredible and while living the high life has all stayed a proud Scot! Bring on the weekend!