Rory Smith cruised to victory in the first heat for the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch Indy, heading racing returnee Jordan Dempsey by 1.6 seconds.
Smith – who started second on the grid – dropped behind Low Dempsey Racing’s Bryce Aron at the start, the American even challenging Kevin Mills Racing’s poleman Dempsey on the run to Paddock Hill Bend.
Dempsey was able to exit the corner still leading though, Aron instead dropping back behind Smith temporarily before making the move for second stick by flying around the outside of the B-M Racing pilot at Graham Hill Bend.
Smith was in no mood to hang around though and quickly reversed the positions with a strong move down the inside of Clearways, which handed Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst the opportunity to also snatch third from a wrong-footed Aron.
Smith was then on a mission, immediately eating into Dempsey’s lead before attempting to slide past at Clearways, though the KMR man held him off.
Having learned from his error, Smith executed the move perfectly next time round to claim the lead, instantly opening up a handy advantage that meant he didn’t have to defend into Paddock.
Despite losing time in traffic in the closing stages of the 15-lap encounter, Smith was never again seriously challenged for victory, taking the chequered flag 1.6 seconds clear of Dempsey.
Dempsey came under pressure from Middlehurst over the final laps, though he was never able to get close enough to mount a serious attack and was therefore forced to settle for third.
Aron dropped back after losing third to Middlehurst, eventually crossing the line 4.4 seconds from the lead in fourth, while Swift Cooper’s Luke Cooper narrowly held off Super Classic class winner Rick Morris for fifth at the line.
Morris managed to wheel his Royale RP29 ahead of Pro class drivers Tom Hawkins and Sam Harrison in the process, with closest SC challenger Peter Daly bringing his Van Diemen RF88 home ninth overall 12 second behind.
Graham Brunton Racing’s Steve Barlow completed the top ten but was one lap down.
Race results (15 laps)
|1||Rory Smith||B-M Racing||15m40.316s|
|2||Jordan Dempsey||Kevin Mills Racing||+1.674s|
|3||Chris Middlehurst||Team Dolan||+2.772s|
|4||Bryce Aron||Low Dempsey Racing||+4.439s|
|5||Luke Cooper||Swift Cooper||+23.272s|
|6||Rick Morris||Don Hardman Racing||+24.095s|
|7||Tom Hawkins||Springbridge Motorsport||+33.785s|
|8||Sam Harrison||Souley Motorsport||+35.781s|
|10||Steve Barlow||Graham Brunton Racing||+1 lap|
|11||Matthew Wrigley||+1 lap|
|12||Joe Walton||+1 lap|
|13||James Hagan||+1 lap|
|14||Adam Fathers||AF Racing||+1 lap|
|15||Simon Pruce||Minitron Racing||+1 lap|
|16||Hayden Hardyman||TM Racing||+1 lap|
|17||John Whitbourn||+1 lap|
|Fastest lap: Aron, 1m01.753s|