Home Formula FordFFord Festival Browne beats Sharp in eventful opening FFord Festival heat

Browne beats Sharp in eventful opening FFord Festival heat

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Ida Wood

Jonathan Browne fended off a late charge from Jamie Sharp to win the opening heat at the Formula Ford Festival on the Brands Hatch Indy layout.

After starting from pole, B-M Racing’s Jamie Sharp had a highly eventful race, going off the road twice and colliding with Swift Cooper’s Luke Cooper before recovering to finish 0.145s behind in second.

Sharp led away at the start on wet circuit, with Vamos Racing’s Browne moving ahead of front-row starter Chris Middlehurst into Paddock Hill Bend.

Team Dolan’s Middlehurst wrestled back second from Browne, who had a trip across the grass, before the opening lap was complete.

Middlehurst had his own excursion across the grass shortly afterwards, allowing Browne back through, and there was further drama when Sharp went off at Graham Hill Bend.

That promoted Browne into the lead ahead of Middlehurst, while the recovering Sharp then tangled with Cooper at the next corner, sending the latter spinning down the order.

Sharp pulled off successive moves around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend on Middlehurst and Browne to regain the advantage, but then went off again at Clearways and fell back to third.

Sharp retook Middlehurst on the inside at Paddock Hill, and caught back up to Browne while negotiating backmarkers, but ran out of time to make a move for the win before the chequered flag.

Team USA Scholar Andre Castro pipped Middlehurst to third on the final lap for Low Dempsey Racing, while privateer Alan Davidson came out on top in an early battle with Graham Brunton Racing’s Logan Hannah to finish fifth in a 1989 Mondiale.

Hannah came home sixth, a couple of seconds clear Robert Barrable in a Van Diemen RF08.

Nick Gilkes was eighth for Kevin Mills Racing ahead of Ian Gough, Andrew Blair and David Parks, who all automatically qualified for the semi-finals.

Cooper recovered to finish 12th, just making it through to the next stage without needing to do the Progression Race.

Race results (12 laps)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Jonathan Browne Vamos Racing 12m25.313s
2 Jamie Sharp B-M Racing +0.145s
3 Andre Castro Low Dempsey Racing +5.862s
4 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan +5.992s
5 Alan Davidson +6.630s
6 Logan Hannah Graham Brunton Racing +10.533s
7 Robert Barrable Motorsport Car Preparations +12.851s
8 Nick Gilkes Kevin Mills Racing +15.882s
9 Ian Gough Oldfield Motorsport +16.963s
10 Andrew Blair +23.348s
11 David Parks Vertical Racing +28.430s
12 Luke Cooper Swift Cooper +33.870s
13 Dylan DeLeon Taylor B-M Racing +34.010s
14 Dane Rene Larsen +39.554s
15 Rick Morris Don Hardman Racing +39.743s
16 Chris Hodgen Souley Motorsport +40.143s
17 Pat Blakeney PA Motorsport +48.692s
18 Stephen Mawhinney +50.766s
19 James Colborn Wayne Poole Racing +1m02.086s
20 Shaun Hollamby PA Motorsport +1 lap
21 Hayden Hardyman TM Racing +1 lap
22 Henry Campbell +1 lap
23 Simon Pruce Minitron Racing +1 lap
24 Matthew Sturmer +1 lap
Fastest lap: Sharp, 1m00.598s