Kevin Mills Racing’s Alex Walker became the latest Champion of Donington in Formula Ford 1600 on Sunday.
The second Champion of Brands meeting of 2021 was, for a second time in 2021, not at Brands Hatch and instead a two-race event on Donington Park’s National layout.
Qualifying was led by Low Dempsey Racing’s Max Esterson, who beat Oldfield Motorsport’s former McLaren sportscar junior Josh Smith to pole by 0.203 seconds. His LDR team-mate Colin Queen was over half a second back in third, just ahead of Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst.
Smith bettered Esterson at the start of the first race, and the American made one attempt to claw back the lead before being sucked into the pack battle behind.
Walker rose from sixth on the grid to become Smith’s closest rival by lap four of 13, although Smith’s lead only exceeded one second for the first time a lap later.
Smith then doubled his advantage, and after lapping Trevor Morgan he found a useful buffer that allowed him to put an incredible 11.189s between himself and second place by the end of the race.
Those behind eventually cleared Morgan, and it was Walker and Middlehurst who rounded out the podium. B-M Racing’s Jamie Sharp came 0.205s short of the podium, while Esterson overtook Queen on the last lap for fifth.
The race one result set the grid for race two, and Smith led the early laps from pole. This time he couldn’t pull away, with Walker passing him for the lead on lap three and putting Smith into an intense battle with Middlehurst where they swapped positions every lap while on the gearbox of Walker.
Going into the final third of the race, fluid was dropped onto Coppice corner by one of the lead cars and it led to Esterson and Middlehurst sliding off track and colliding. The resultant cylinder damage led to Middlehurst retiring, while Esterson dropped back and Sharp passed Smith.
Sharp got into Walker’s slipstream and drew closer in the final laps but couldn’t beat him, finishing just 0.087s behind the new Champion of Donington.
Smith followed them across the line in third, while KMR’s Lucas Romanek and Estersen traded fastest lap en route to fourth and fifth. Esterson got fastest lap in the end and finished ahead of team-mate Queen by a tiny 0.004s.
KMR’s former W Series racer Megan Gilkes finished 10th and eighth in the two races.
Race 1 (13 laps)
1 Josh Smith Oldfield Motorsport 16m12.353s
2 Alex Walker Kevin Mills Racing +11.189s
3 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan +11.637s
4 Jamie Sharp B-M Racing +11.842s
5 Colin Queen Low Dempsey Racing +12.020s
6 Max Esterson Low Dempsey Racing +12.217s
7 Lucas Romanek Kevin Mills Racing +12.370s
8 Tom McArthur B-M Racing +14.772s
9 Jack Wolfenden Myerscough College +14.937s
10 Megan Gilkes Kevin Mills Racing +17.519s
Pole: Esterson, 1m13.430s
Fastest lap: Esterson, 1m13.692s
Race 2 (12 laps)
1 Walker 15m09.898s
2 Sharp +0.087s
3 Smith +0.220s
4 Romanek +1.190s
5 Esterson +1.363s
6 Queen +1.367s
7 Wolfenden +5.015s
8 Gilkes +6.909s
9 Will Everington Team Dolan +36.792s
10 Leanne McShane Souley Motorsport +39.180s
FL: Esterson, 1m13.884s