FORMULA FORD FESTIVAL 2014
If any one meeting could be described as the BRSCC's 'blue riband' event it is the Formula Ford Festival. Taking place each October at Brands Hatch, the Festival made the Motorsport News top ten of world-wide events that every driver wants to win!
Festival success has lead to greater achievement on the Grand Prix stage for many drivers. Johnny Herbert, Roland Ratzenberger, Eddie Irvine, Mark Webber Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson are just some of the names on the Festival’s roll of honour.
Festival winner James Raven is flanked by Liam and Mary Shanahan after they presented the 'Neil Shanahan Trophy' to him. Photo: Rajan Jangda
The 2014 BRSCC Formula Ford Festival took place over the weekend of 25/26thOctober on the Brands Hatch 1.199 mile Indy Circuit.
As with 2013, the day's racing action kicked off with a 12-lap Kent Festival Heat 1 sponsored by Haines Watts. Team USA Scholarship winner Aaron Telitz put down a marker for the weekend with a composed victory in his Cliff Dempsey Racing-run Ray GR09 ahead of Belfast's Jonny McMullan's Ray GR07 and Naas's Jake Byrne's GR13. Portsmouth's James Raven – second on the road – was penalised for a Yellow Flag infringement in his Ray GR13/14.
Heat 2 sponsored by REIS suffered two Safety Car interruptions, leaving 2008 winner and 2013 runner-up Wayne Boyd to take the Chequered Flag in his Van Diemen MS13, from St Helens' Chris Middlehurst's Geva prepared Mygale GV14-K and Elderslie's Ciaran Haggerty's Ray GR14.
The Kent Festival field progressed to Semi Finals 1 and 2 on Sunday morning, both 15-lappers sponsored by NCPI Solutions. Telitz and Middlehurst took the two top spots in SF1, with Raven third. Two Safety Car interruptions resulted in a one-lap shoot out.
Kent Semi-Final 2 saw three fancied runners fall by the wayside, with a broken damper pitching Boyd off at Paddock Hill Bend and eventual retirement, Neville Smyth losing a wheel at two-thirds distance and Telitz's Team USA Scholarship team-mate Michai Stephens tripping up over Festival veteran Rick Morris. McMullan benefited from their misfortunes to claim top spot, with Stuart Gough's venerable Van Diemen RF92 second, and Haggerty third.
Jonny McMullan won the second Kent semi to take pole for the Final. Photo: Ragan Jangda
The Festival Duratec and Zetec runners went straight into a 15 lap Semi Final, with John Whitbourn taking victory ahead of Julian Hoskins and Eric Heudicourt.
The grid for the Historic Formula Ford Festival Final, sponsored by Haines Watts, was formed from the eligible cars' SF placings. Ryan Campbell's Mondiale M89F was the class of the field, finishing well ahead of Michael Thompson's Quest MT86 and Ben Tinkler's Reynard FF89. Thompson's car was later found to be underweight, promoting Tinkler up the order and Henry Campbell's Reynard FF83 onto the podium.
The Duratec and Zetec Festival Final sponsored by Cam-Tech Security was the weekend's penultimate race. Whitbourn finished just adrift of Thomas Craincourt, but his over-ambitious start earned him a 10-second penalty, dropping him to third and elevating Hoskins to second. Hoskins was the first Zetec home and thus took the class win.
Thomas Craincourt took the Duratec title. Photo: Rajan Jangda
The Festival closed with the traditional 20-lap Final. With SF1's Safety Car interventions rendering it a slower race, SF2 victor McMullan started on pole and made a better start than Telitz, who had to give chase for the first time. His eagerness to get to the front was to prove his undoing, as he overcooked it at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of Lap 4, plunging into the Paddock Hill gravel trap and retirement. Later that lap, Middlehurst's hopes went up in a puff of smoke as something gave way rounding Surteees. Following a brief Safety Car interlude, Raven made the move on McMullan to take a lead he was to hold to the end. McMullan finished a relatively distant second, with Gough third. Haggerty's grassy excursion dropped him down the order and he could only recover to 10th.
James Raven on his way to Festival glory. Photo: Gary Hawkins
Haggerty is being mentored by fellow Scot Dario Franchitti, and the Indycar legend was at the circuit on Friday and Saturday to offer advice to his protégé. We were also pleased to welcome 1978 Festival winner Michael Roe and 1984 winner and regular returnee Gerrit van Kouwen.
James Raven receives the John Nicol Trophy from Debs Nicol. Photo: Gary Hawkins
Liam and Mary Shanahan made their annual trip over from Dublin to present the Festival trophy that bears the name of their son Neil, who was tragically killed at Oulton Park in May 1999. James Raven's trophy haul didn't end there as he also won the John Nicol Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding British driver and the Roger Pedrick Trophy, as the highest placed Englishman. James joins a distinguished list of Formula Ford Festival winners and we hope he is back to defend his title at next year’s Festival, which is provisionally scheduled for 24/25thOctober.
Roger Pedrick with James Raven. Photo: Gary Hawkins
Click here for the full FESTIVAL RESULTS
Finally, our thanks as ever go to the Festival sponsors; NCPI Solutions, Haines Watts, REIS and Cam-Tech Security.