Home Formula FordFFord Festival Dempsey, Browne and Martin take Formula Ford Festival heat poles

Dempsey, Browne and Martin take Formula Ford Festival heat poles

by Elliot Wood

Jordan Dempsey, Jonathan Browne and Ross Martin claimed the pole positions for the three heat races at Brands Hatch Indy for the Formula Ford Festival.

Kevin Mills Racing’s Dempsey, making his first 2020 racing appearance, was at the top of the times in the opening qualifying session from start to finish.

Closest to him was Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst, with Swift Cooper’s Luke Cooper initially in third before Team USA scholar Bryce Aron and B-M Racing’s Rory Smith found improvements to shuffle him down to row three alongside single-seater rookie Sam Harrison.

The session to set the heat two grid had a little more action, with Aron’s Low Dempsey Racing and Team USA stablemate Jackson Lee putting himself on provisional pole at first in a closely-matched top four.

Reigning Festival winner and team-mate Jonathan Browne then found a small edge to go fastest by 0.021 seconds over Dolan’s Matt Cowley, before another improvement secured him pole by 0.158s.

Despite having a lap deleted for a track limits violation, KMR rookie Horatio Fitz-Simon qualified third – admittedly half a second off the pace – and filled the second row with Lee.

UK racing debutant and W Series winner Megan Gilkes also had a lap removed and ended up sixth behind B-M’s teenaged protege Tom Ward.

Ross Martin dominated Q3 for Dolan, pitting twice and still coming out on top by 0.472s as rivals tried to beat his benchmarks.

Reigning BRSCC National FF1600 champion Neil Maclennan was initially second for KMR, before Martin’s team-mate Morgan Quinn rose to be his closest rival. After pitting to make some tweaks, it was LDR’s Maxwell Esterson who ended up second fastest, with Quinn third, B-M’s Jamie Sharp in fourth and Maclennan nearly a second off in fifth.

Enigma Motorsport ran Jack Wolfenden to sixth in the Firman RFR17, putting him ahead of Graham Brunton Racing’s Logan Hannah, KMR’s Reece Lycett and Le Mans 24 Hours legend Emanuele Pirro’s son Goofy, who is making his single-seater racing debut with Oldfield Motorsport.

Qualifying round-up
Heat 1 grid
1 Jordan Dempsey Kevin Mills Racing 50.355s
2 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan +0.087s
3 Bryce Aron Low Dempsey Racing +0.201s
4 Rory Smith B-M Racing +0.407s
5 Luke Cooper Swift Cooper +0.425s
6 Sam Harrison Souley Motorsport +0.656s
7 Tom Hawkins Springbridge Motorsport +1.397s
8 Peter Daly privateer +1.601s
9 Adam Fathers AF Racing +1.712s
10 Rick Morris Don Hardman Racing +1.990s

Heat 2 grid
1 Jonathan Browne Low Dempsey Racing 50.765s
2 Matt Cowley Team Dolan +0.158s
3 Horatio Fitz-Simon Kevin Mills Racing +0.565s
4 Jackson Lee Low Dempsey Racing +0.646s
5 Tom Ward B-M Racing +0.881s
6 Megan Gilkes Kevin Mills Racing +0.999s
7 Pascal Monbaron John’s Racing Team +1.087s
8 Milan De Laet Oldfield Motorsport +1.192s
9 John Svensson John’s Racing Team +1.616s
10 Joseph Pomfret Mirage Engineering +2.353s

Heat 3 grid
1 Ross Martin Team Dolan 50.318s
2 Maxwell Esterson Low Dempsey Racing +0.472s
3 Morgan Quinn Team Dolan +0.531s
4 Jamie Sharp B-M Racing +0.757s
5 Neil Maclennan Kevin Mills Racing +0.977s
6 Jack Wolfenden Enigma Motorsport +1.015s
7 Logan Hannah Graham Brunton Racing +1.138s
8 Reece Lycett Kevin Mills Racing +1.234s
9 Goofy Pirro Oldfield Motorsport +1.237s
10 Ryan Campbell privateer +1.700s