Festival of Formula Ford Brand Hatch 15 - 17 Oct 2004

In samenwerking met:

Image Loading...
I have competed in the King of Kent championship

Qualifying Friday 15

Heat 1/2 Sat 16

Semi final 1/2 Sun 17

Final Sun 17

14:00-14:30 or 14:30-15:00

11:15 or 11:40 15 laps

10:00 or 10:25 20 laps

14:45 25 laps (top 28 cars)

Image Loading...

I arrived on Thursday at Brands where the conditions were damp. For my practice sessions (2 x 25 min for £135) it was luckily dry. I found the track quite difficult to learn and Paddock Hill is a very daunting corner indeed. I stayed overnight as I had done the previous night in the very hospitable home of Chris and Pam Whittingham. On the friday the practice session was wet, so all ideas about set-up were out the window. I qualified 17th out of 20 cars. A bit different from what I am used to in the CFFC but this is a field where my car is by far the oldest and your are competing against Van Diemen RF04's.

Image Loading...

Heat 2 - After a night out with the Hagan-clan I wasn't on top form. After I found myself in a lonely last place I drove around in limbo. Conditions were dry after wet. Eventually this resulted in a 16th place out of 20 starters as 4 cars had fallen by the way side and failed to finish.

Image Loading...

The semi-final was on the early sunday morning and I had to finish 14th or better to qualify for the final. The conditions were very damp. All the race I was counting and when some cars collided in Druids the safety car came out and I found myself in 11th position. I could quite comfortable keep the cars behind me at bay so all looked well. One car slipped by who later won the semi (and final) which it turned had been in the pits. On the 15th lap I spun in Surtees and had to concede two places, but could continu. I was faster than the guy in front of me so I tried to catch him safely as I was still in the final. I got close but as the leaders were lapping us I lost contact and finished 14th in the final.

Image Loading...

I started in 28th position in the final. The race went reasonably well. I had a couple of fights and was running 27th. I was entangled in another ding-dong which I intially lost after 3 laps. I had the idea I could keep up with this bloak so I tried a little harder. In lap 13 after being passed by the leading 2 cars I had a little to much oversteer in Clearways and spun. My engine stalled and I was sitting in the middle of the track when the numbers 3/4/5 were coming through side by side. The outside runners could avoid me but the middle on Andrew Prendeville in his van Diemen RF04 could do nothing but brake and collect me. I saw him coming for me amidships and thought "this is gonna hurt". But actually it didn't. We sat for two laps in our cars while the race was still fully on and one nutter actually toke off a rear-wheel of the unfortunate Andrew, sacrifising his own in the process. I had to walk the walk of shame to the pit to examine the damage, which will keep me occupied over winter.

Image Loading...

Below is what was written on subject at Club FF1600

This six-car dice was just as good as the battle for the lead, but despite Morgan's best efforts it looked unlikely that Wills could be prized off the podium. At least until the end of lap 15, when Dutch visitor Ed Waalewyn spun his Van Diemen RF82 in front of them all at Clearways and triggered something of a melee…

"I was committed to going around the outside of him when he spun," said Wills. "Then he took his foot off the brake and started rolling towards me. So I launched it into the gravel to try and miss him, and though that was frustrating at the time when I came round on the next lap and saw all the cars and wreckage and wheels stationery in the track then I thought maybe that wasn't such a bad decision…"

While Wills had missed Waalewyn, Prendeville would not be so lucky. He collected the RF82 and both cars came to a stand on the outside of Clearways, with Tannahill also getting involved and sustaining enough damage to put him out of the Final. The carnage wasn't over yet though, for twenty-five seconds after the initial incident along came the battle for 20th between Neil McArthur (Opal Telecom Van Diemen RF01) and Matt Darcy (Eventy.co.uk/Team Hugh Robertson Swift SC92).

"I was battling with Neil and we came up on it all absolutely flat-out," said Darcy. "There were no flags or anything, just this Classic FFord and an RF04 that seemed to be parked in the middle of the track.

"That's not the biggest shunt I've ever had but it's definitely the scariest. I really thought I was going to kill him (Waalewyn). I really did. There was nothing I could do and I was just so lucky that I didn't hit the middle of his car, because the nose of my Swift would have been like a knife through butter on that Classic car. I must have been a gnat's wing away from hitting him… I don't know how Neil avoiding hitting him harder either, kudos to him for that."

The incident happened towards the end of lap 15, and it took three laps for the safety car to collect the whole field. Some drivers appeared not to see the yellow flags and SC boards, for there was plenty of racing still going on initially.

Image Loading...

Waalewyn's Van Diemen RF82 didn't prove popular... (Image: Phil Burridge)

Image Loading...

Darcy and McArthur were fighting hard when they came across the accident. (Image: Phil Burridge)

My comment: No matter what Darcy said and I am greatful that he was so concerned with missing me, which he did as he only toke off the right rear wheel of Prendeville's RF04, the marchals were frantically waving their yellow flags. I had a grandstand view and I was amazed at the pace of everybody passing us before the safety car came out. I waited in my car as that seemed the most safe place with the cars screaching by.