• Alex Birley

Sixth Round Post Race Report - Race 3, Kirkistown

“Brilliant BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Racing Comes to Kirkistown and Sets the Track Alight”

Was the summing up by commentator Alan Drysdale and his assistant, Chris Fair, of the race weekend in general and the third race in particular.

The reverse grid format in National FF1600 saw ball number seven selected putting local driver, William Herron, on pole position with the young American racer Spike Kohlbecker beside him and looking for a good result to finish off a slightly lack lustre weekend.

It was Kohlbecker who made the best start and led the field away with Herron dropping back to eighth place. Michael Eastwell made another good start to move up to second with local ace, Ivor McCullough in third.

Race one winner, Eastwell came into the pits to retire with an engine problem, which he explained was not pulling properly. This promoted McCullough to second, which was soon to become the lead with a bold move passed Kohlbecker.

Behind this battle, the man on a charge was Team Dolan’s Ross Martin. He had started seventh on the grid but was scything his way through the field and it was not long until the young Scottish driver was up to second place and sitting on McCullough’s wishbone. However, it was the local driver’s turn to shine and he was able to handle everything that Martin threw at him to take the chequered flag, much to the delight of the local crowd.

Martin looked set to finish second and extend his championship lead further. Unfortunately he and B-M Racing’s Rory Smith had a coming together on the straight into the final lap which lifted Martin’s Van Diemen into the air the result of which dropped them back to fourth (Smith) and seventh (Martin) with Martin explaining that he had an issue with his gears causing him to slow on the straight.

After a race packed with incidents and position changes it was Kohlbecker who took the second podium position. After leading the race, the Cliff Dempsey racer lost out to McCullough then Martin. He and teammate Jonathan Browne enjoyed some side-by-side racing which cost Kohlbecker another place. Then the charging Smith making a bold move through Fisherman’s to pass the American and then his teammate on successive laps.

Browne was third, with his third podium of the weekend, after experiencing problems during the race with what looked like a gear change issue at the start and something similar which dropped him down the field having been challenging Martin for second.

Smith ended up fourth which was impressive having started at the back, but it had been a disappointing event for the team.

In contrast the Border Reivers driver, Jamie Thorburn had his best weekend of the year finishing fifth after managing to hold off Herron who came home in sixth.

Jamie Sharpe ended up eighth and just behind his Team Dolan teammate, Ross Martin. The former F4 driver will be reasonably satisfied with that having started back in 12th place.

Michael McPherson was ninth, with rookie racer, Morgan Quinn, in tenth.

John Svensson finished in eleventh but takes valuable points in the Club Championship where he and the absent Adam Quartermaine have been trading the top spot all year.

The final position went to Allan McBurney, another local driver.

The fourth local entrant, Alan Davidson, was clearly quick in his Mondiale M89S, a pre-1993 car, but suffered a disappointing weekend overall with two retirements.

James Clarke also retired. As always, the Cliff Dempsey looked quick in his Ray, having started towards the back of the grid, but a coming together with Herron led to his second retirement.

The next and penultimate round of the National Formula Ford Championship is at Silverstone on the 14th - 15th September.

The final championship round will be at Brands Hatch on the 28th -29th September with the legendary feast or motor racing, the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on the 26th – 27th October.

Race Classification:

McCullough (NP - Guest), Kohlbecker (NP), Browne (NP), Smith (NP), Thorburn (NP), Herron (NP - Guest), Martin (NP), Sharp (NP), MacPherson (NP), Quinn (NP/R), Svensson (C), McBurney (C - Guest)

Fastest Lap: Martin(NP), Svensson (C)

DNF: Eastwell (NP), Davidson (NP - Guest), Clarke (NP)

NP =National Pro, C = Clubman’s Class, R = Rookie

Photo courtesy of Clare Quinn

Race 3 podium: 1st Ivor McCullough, 2nd Spike Kohlbecker, 3rd Jonathan Browne


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