Oldfield Motorsport win national Formula Ford championship
The National Formula Ford Championship was decided in the favour of Teng Tools backed Oldfield Motorsport and their driver Stuart Gough after a dramatic weekend drew to close what has been an epic year for the team. After a season long duel with championship protagonists James Raven and David McArthur, Stuart would enter the final triple header round of the championship with a narrow four point lead with over 100 points still up for grabs.
With such a narrow points lead over James Raven, victories and bonus points for pole positions and fastest laps would be critical to decide the championship. Despite being quickest during all of Friday’s test sessions, the swing of momentum initially went in the favour of Raven who grabbed pole position for race one by just over a tenth from Stuart.
Stuart quickly made amends for missing pole position by jumping into an immediate lead as the lights went out, a lead he was not to loose as he took a commanding victory by over three seconds. However, fastest lap by a mere 3/1000th’s of a second and the bonus points went to Raven. The net result from Race one would see Stuart increase his championship lead by only one point to 5 points going into Race two.
Due to the nature of dropping the two worse points finishes from the championship total, victory in Race two would have sealed the championship for Stuart. However, disaster struck when Stuart was spun out of the lead by Raven on lap 3. Stuart, dropping down to the midfield, set off on full attack quickly recovering to 4th position, but with a handling imbalance from the contact, made the sensible decision to retire and save risking the car further, the car knowing 4th position would have counted as a dropped score and therefore would make no impact on the championship.
Raven went on to win Race two and therefore converted a 5 point deficit into a 4 point lead entering the critical third and final race. The championship would therefore be decided over the course of a qualifying session and the final race of the season, Stuart needing to win the race and pick up bonus points for either pole position or fastest lap.
The pressure was on and Stuart responded in the best way possible, taking a stunning pole position with the fastest lap of the entire weekend to beat Raven by just under 2 tenths.
Championship deficit was now two points.
Starting from pole, Stuart made a perfect getaway, with Raven trying to find a way past at every opportunity over the first 5 laps. However, once Stuart was able to break the slipstream, a repeat of Race one was on the cards. Stuart set about putting the victory out of grasp for Raven by setting a number of fastest laps, to build a lead of over two seconds, taking the flag and the championship in commanding style under the most intense of pressure.
After 15 races, Stuart and Oldfield Motorsport won the title by just 5 points, a championship that was fiercely competitive throughout and went down to the wire.
An emotional team principle James Oldfield reflected
What an incredible year for the team. To achieve our dream to win the National Championship in our debut year is everything we had hoped for, but Motorsport is such a tough game you never allow yourself to believe it will be possible. We were confident, but as race 2 proved, things can be turned upside down in a heartbeat and from being in a fairly comfortable position, we suddenly found ourselves behind on points.
Stuart drove like a true champion, to put it on pole, get fasted lap and withstand the initial pressure from Raven to win the race was outstanding. To add the National title to our earlier Triple Crown title is an amazing feeling and we have demonstrated that the strength of Formula Ford is that with dedication and effort you can succeed with a 22 year old chassis against the new generation cars. That speaks volumes of Formula Ford and the level playing field.
We will take time to enjoy our success before we refocus on the end of season blue ribbon events, the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy.
Equally emotional, Stuart was in full praise of Oldfield Motorsport.
When I got the phone call at the start of the year asking if I would drive for the team I knew we had one goal in mind, but the challenge was huge. We were up against the very best teams in the business and quality drivers in the likes of James Raven and David McArthur. First of all I would like to credit them on making the championship what it was and racing hard, but clean all year.
“I cannot explain how much hard work the team have put in behind the scenes. They have thrown everything at giving me the car to do the job, this weekend our pace was exceptional and it’s easily the best car I have driven in some 10 years of racing various Formula Ford’s. Its speed belies its 22 year old age. Full credit to everyone at Oldfield Motorsport, taking two titles in their first full season is exceptional, what more can you say!
Everyone at Oldfield Motorsport would like to extend their gratitude to race organisers, the drivers and teams and most importantly our sponsors in Teng Tools for making 2014 a year to remember.