We’re now smack dab in the middle of our “summer break” in the BRSCC National Formula Ford Championship, and as time does it’s given me a chance to reflect on the season so far. Things have continued to move in an upward trajectory.
At the start of the year I felt very strong in terms of race pace, but there were areas where I needed improvement, namely qualifying and starts. The third race meeting at Donington Park which took place June 17-18 was a culmination of the improvement in those areas, and I can happily say that it is starting to show in the results. I qualified a close third — not ideal, but that set me up for what was a solid triple-header race weekend.
In Race 1 I wasn’t quite aggressive enough in the opening laps and I finished a disappointing fourth at the checkered flag. For the second race I finished third, and continued my result of having a podium finish at every race meeting this year. I can also say that I’ve finished every lap so far which is a testament to the work that Ammonite Motorsport does, and that I will strive to continue this season. And then, after what seemed like a very long wait, in Race 3 I was able to get my maiden victory overseas. I started from fifth due to a reverse top seven grid, with the remaining drivers starting behind the reverse grid. I made quick work to second, and after a late safety car I was able to get around the leader on the outside in the first hairpin and not look back.
It felt like a big hurdle to get that first victory here in the UK, and though the competition is tough, I know it’s possible. In retrospect I realized that the win at Donington was exactly a year ago to the day in 2022 that I ran my first car race, in the F1600 class of the 67th running of the SCCA June Sprints at iconic Road America. I took home a first and second there, which started me on what has been the most rewarding year of my life.
More recently, I w as able to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 9, to witness something I’ve wanted to see in person for as long as I can remember. One of my early memories (besides breaking my leg at two years old) was seeing the two blue and yellow Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella lining up on the front row, and although I cannot say for certain I guess it was somewhere in the 2006 season. Of course I didn’t understand exactly what that was at the time, but the fascination grew with me, and this is all to say that it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for some time.
I never imagined that I would experience my first Formula 1 race at Silverstone, a place that I’ve now put my fair share of laps in, and one that is well known to have amazing crowds. With all the build up and anticipation, I can happily say that it did not disappoint, with thanks going out to members of the Ammonite family for making that happen and sharing it with me. The atmosphere was incredible, livened up by the sheer size of the crowd and the enthusiasm that every single attendee seemed to bring with them. As far as the different sporting events I’ve been to, in terms of size the only one that really compares is the Indy 500, and I was just 6 at the time. The British GP struck me as almost an otherworldly event, as exaggerated as that may seem.
But onto the most spectacular part – the cars. The speed that they can carry in the corners like Stowe, and the direction changes in Maggots and Becketts was awe-inspiring, but what particularly surprised me was the low speed stuff. As big and heavy as they are it’s amazing how responsive they still are at low speed, something that you don’t really catch from onboards and watching TV. Along with the F1 race we got to watch the companion F2 and F3 races, and the Porsche Supercup races, which were exciting in their own right. My first Formula 1 race is something I will certainly not forget and I hope it is not as long before I get to experience it again.
I will be getting back into the car in a week’s time as we’ll be heading into rounds 9, 10 and 11 for the fourth meeting of the season July 28-29 at Kirkistown in Northern Ireland. It’s a track that I’ve not been to yet, but I am certainly looking forward to the challenge. I am heading into these rounds second in the standings, 26 points back for the BRSCC National Formula Ford Championship, but it is close and it’s another triple header. I feel confident that our team will be ready and I’m excited for it. Afterwards I will be staying a couple of days so it will be great to spend a little extra time there taking in the history before heading back to Brackley.
I’m looking forward to traveling and experiencing more of the United Kingdom’s best race tracks as we go into the second half of the season. As for all the people who make this possible, Doug Mockett, Team USA Scholarship, MPG Motorsports, Ammonite Motorsport, and my family back home cannot go unnamed — they are the reason why I’m able to live this dream pursuing motorsports.
Until next time, thanks for following along.