Sunday was Round 3 of the WA Formula Ford State Championship at Barbagallo Raceway.
The lead up to this event for me was certainly the most challenging I have experienced so far. Firstly, a company over east who were repairing a fault in the wiring for my car’s on board dash somehow made the mistake of sending it back to Perth via road which unfortunately affected a couple of my planned practice sessions. Then, my scheduled new engine which Brett had spent an enormous amount of time preparing for me turned out to have a fault in some of the machining completed by someone else which resulted in it completely failing on the dyno just prior to my Friday practice. This was especially disappointing for Brett given how much time he had spent on preparing it for me.
So Saturday morning came (before the race) and I had not been on the track at all, and even more concerning, had no engine!
Were it not for Brett and Fastlane Racing, there is no way I would have got there. However, with all of his experience and an incredible amount of effort, by Saturday evening at 4:30 he had managed to switch another engine into my car and get me on the track to complete some laps to test and all was ready to go. I am very fortunate to have such support from him and his team. What was even better was that in that practice session I managed to put in my best ever times including a couple of 62.0’s!
On race day I set the fastest time in qualifying, by a mere 0.02 seconds, I started the first race on Pole Position. This is my 3rd Pole Position in my last 4 events (though one of those I had to give away due to a penalty). After getting a good start, I held the lead into the first corner. After some close racing for the lead after the first couple laps, I missed the blip into the first corner, and spun into the sand. After the safety car driven around for three laps, I was lifted back onto the track and allowed to race. However, as I completed less than 75% of the race distance, I wasn’t classified in the race’s final results.
In the second race, I had to start from 15th position. After getting a good start (avoiding an “almost” stalled car in front of me) and making a couple moves, I was up to 10th by the end of the first lap. For the next few laps, I continued to catch the cars in front and tried to overtake as quickly as possible. Once I worked my way into 7th, it took a couple laps to catch up to the battle between 6th and 5th. Once I caught them, I overtook for 6th, and one lap later, overtook for 5th. By this time, the race was nearly over, and there was a large gap to the next position, so I finished in 5th.
In the third race, I started from 5th. At the start, I dropped to 6th, not with a bad start, but one of my competitors made a particularly good one. After following the battle between 4th and 5th for a couple of laps, I managed to get a better exit out of turn 6 when one of them made an overtake, and went into 5th. I then followed for another couple of laps and eventually, managed to make a move by undercutting at turn 6 and went into 4th. Over the next two laps I was chasing 3rd, and managed to make a move into the first corner.
Now, in front of me, was the battle for first and second. Over the remaining few laps I was trying as hard as I could to try and make an overtake, but I was unsuccessful in finding that gap I needed. At one point we crested the hill on the main straight 3 wide! Finally, on the last lap I set up a good exit and used the slipstream to pass on the outside of the back straight, and held the position into the final corner, and managed to finish second, just behind the leader.
One mistake in the first race cost me in the final result, however there is a huge amount that I am proud of from this weekend. It was great to fight back through the field in Race 2, and the final race was really special to be a part of with very good driving by all.
I had quite a few people supporting me over the weekend which is very much appreciated. A huge thanks to them all, along with my sponsors Truck Dealers Australia, Edith Cowan University, Impressions the Home Builder, Grand Toyota, Rvend, Kingsway Community Bank Brach, Online Logistics Solutions, Signarama Joondalup, Fullworks Fire Safety and Focused Recruitment.
Once again, a big thanks to Brett Lupton and Fastlane Racing.
Looking forward to the next Round!