20th August 2017
A very delayed race report from my last Knockhill race meeting a couple of weeks ago in the Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship. It was back to school that week for me so as my parents always like to point out, schoolwork comes first.
I had been looking forward to the reverse direction race meeting for quite a while as I knew it gave me my best chance to date of a good result as it was going to be new for everyone so would take away some of the advantage my fellow racers had who had been racing round Knockhill the normal way the previous few seasons. My confidence was further boosted following a great first race meeting south of the border the weekend before with Graham Brunton Racing when I got a second place finish at Snetterton in Norfolk and narrowly missed out on a further third place finish with clutch failure in the first race.
On top of that the team had manage to iron out the various mechanical issues we had with the car in the first half of the season with the car. So with the car perfect it was all down to me to find any necessary time and I spent a lot of Saturday between practise sessions pouring over my data and camera footage to find a tenth of a second here and there. While the reverse direction would give less overtaking opportunities it was also proving to be more technical, especially Clark corner, so I was really enjoying the added challenge. I got to grips with the reverse layout pretty quickly and was especially fast through the section from Clark’s down through the Chicane. The effort looking over data and camera footage really paid off as whilst my teammate Ross Martin established himself quickest during Saturday testing, myself and Kenneth Cowie swapped second fastest times throughout the day.
That continued into Sunday qualifying with Ross securing pole position with me on the front row alongside him in second place. I had managed to maintain second throughout qualifying which I was really pleased about. Kenneth Cowie seemed to have some issues in qualifying but managed to pull out a third place grid slot right at the end of qualifying for the two races later that day.
It was also really interesting to see that it was us three newcomers this year that had quickly got to grip with the reverse direction track and secured the first three grid slots in qualifying.
I had gone into a lot of detail with my team about the race starts and I made a couple of changes there which saw me make a mega start off the line when the lights went out. I slotted into second place behind my team mate Ross and it stayed like that for the first couple of laps but it quickly became obvious that Kenneth Cowie had found some extra speed since qualifying and was quicker than I was. Because of the reverse direction round Knockhill and the lack of overtaking places it would have been very easy to defend for the whole race but I knew that would mean the rest of the field catching up with us so the smart thing to do was accept he was quicker on the day, not block him and that meant the three of us out front were able to pull quite a lead on the rest of the field.
Race 2 was very much a repeat of Race 1 for the three of us with us pulling out a big gap out front and finishing in the same position as the first race.
So I came away a couple of third place podium finishes which I was really delighted with. The GBR team have given me a great car to now show what I can do so I was delighted to repay them for all their hard work and faith in me.
I’m really looking forward to the final two Knockhill race meetings on September 10th and October 8th.
I am also really pleased to announce that due to further backing from friends and family I will now be competing in the 2017 50th Anniversary Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in October and the Walter Hayes Trophy meeting at Silverstone a fortnight later in November with Graham Brunton Racing. It will be a massive experience for me and one that I will learn so much from.