FF1600 in association with Wiltshire College - Qualifying - The season opening FF1600 race delivered its trade mark brand of breath-holding entertainment and the qualifying session for round two started exactly where they left off on Howard’s Day. The grid of 16 cars were all equally as eager to take to the circuit, no doubt keen to display their best endeavours early in the session, just in case the trend of the day for curtailed qualifying sessions was to continue.
One man that would have been disappointed that the forecasted rain had yet to arrive was Luke Cooper, the very local driver exceling in slippery conditions. The disappointment wouldn’t last however as with the now more developed Swift SC16 underneath him, Cooper found he didn’t need an advantage from Mother Nature, setting the early pace ahead of round 1 winner Michael Moyers. By lap 6, Moyers had squeaked ahead of Cooper, whose Swift was now in the pits, sans engine cover, being inspected by the Swift Cooper mechanics.
Despite not being on track to defend his front row position, Cooper’s time was holding up – helped by the fact that Josh Fisher’s attempts to steal the spot attracted the attention of the track limits observers, reporting the infringements up to race control.
The real eyebrow raiser came right at the end of the session in the form Kevin Mills Racing’s latest hot-shot recruit; Michael Eastwell. In only his fourth ever Formula Ford outing, the young driver out qualified the highly experienced Josh Fisher to steal P3. Reigning Champion Roger Orgee appeared to be not yet fully acquainted with his new Ray GR17, only managing P5 alongside another Ray Racing chassis (albeit 7 years its elder) driven by Matt Rivett. Best of the class B runners was Richard Morris in 12th while problems with Steve Bracegirdle’s Van Diemen left Andrew Higginbottom unchallenged for prime class C grid position.
FF1600 in association with Wiltshire College – Round 2
As the train of single-seaters filed out for their green flag lap under the new ‘fast start system, Luke Cooper was sadly missing. The engine inspection in qualifying had revealed the timing had been adjusting itself resulting in the demise of one of its pistons, signalling an early bath for Luke.
As the field lined up on the grid, a case of mistaken identity from the marshals saw Michael Eastwell ushered onto the front row where Cooper should have been. Everyone then moved up a grid position meaning the only driver who could be disadvantaged by the mistake was Moyers. Fortunately the pole man made one of his usual explosive starts and left his namesake teammate, and everyone else, in his exhaust fumes.
Eastwell didn’t capitalise on his unexpected grid promotion, making a bad start and slid down the order to 8th. Matt Rivett in contrast made a blistering start, quickly dispensing with Rob Hall and Roger Orgee so slot into 3rdbehind Josh Fisher. It was short lived however with Orgee returning the favour on the following lap. Fisher’s attempts to reel the leader in were thwarted when Orgee loomed large in his mirrors, mounting a challenge and stealing 2nd spot on lap 5. It was then Roger’s turn to go after Moyers with Orgee’s usual perfectly composed driving style disappearing in favour of throwing everything he could to be in a position to challenge for the lead. It was clear that Moyers’ Spectrum was handling the lumps and bumps of the circuit better than Orgee’s Ray, which was visibly squirming on the ragged edge. It was at this point Orgee must have decided that he just didn’t have the right tools on the day and allowed Moyers to pull away. The reigning champion then had to turn defensive as Josh Fisher attached himself to Orgee’s gearbox, whom in turn had Rob Hall welded to his own. For the rest of the race the three experienced drivers were separated by the thinnest shafts of light yet no places or paintwork were exchanged.
Moyers took the win in a lights to flag victory, and this time managed to keep the win by keeping his wheels the right side of the track limits lines.
Orgee, Fisher and Hall crossed the line in that order with less than half a second between them. Eastwell recovered from his poor start to finish a very credible 5th, just holding off Matt Rivett. Andrew Higginbottom was the highest finisher in class B after a highly entertaining race long battle with Paul Barnes and Richard Morris.
By beating Fisher, Orgee has helped Moyers to take a healthy 4 point lead over Fisher in to round three. Orgee sits in third three points behind Fisher, ahead of Rob Hall and Michael Eastwell.Posted on Monday 8 May 2017
at Castle Combe Circuit
30 August 2021