BOYD v BLANCHARD AT DONINGTON FINALE
A season’s hard work and perseverance for the contenders of the British Formula Ford Championship reaches its culmination at Donington Park over the weekend of 11/12 October with two drivers – Wayne Boyd and Tim Blanchard – going head to head for the coveted crown.
Adding spice to an already thrilling showdown in the Ford-backed series is the fact that Ulsterman Wayne, 17, and his 21-year-old Australian title rival are team-mates and each will be driving identical Mygale SJ08s prepared by the Jamun Racing team.
Boyd and Blanchard have been separated by mere tenths of a second all season and have finished 1-2 for Jamun on eight occasions in 22 starts. Wayne has done the lion’s share of the winning – 13 victories to Tim’s three – and has started from the pole 12 times compared with Blanchard’s five.
Boyd has beaten Blanchard to the chequered flag 15 times and leads him to Donington by a 36-point margin, a useful advantage but not a comfortable one. “I’m approaching Donington as I have any race meeting this season,” says Templepatrick-based Wayne, who turns 18 next month. “Obviously I’m out to win races at Donington and to go out on a high, but I’ll perhaps be a bit more cautious than usual. Tim has been a great competitor and team-mate – we have been battling it out all season and I’m sure we will be at Donington also.”
Both men would like to continue their rivalry into British Formula 3 in 2009 and follow in the wheeltracks of ex-Formula Fordsters like Jay Bridger, recently crowned the British F3 International Series National Class Champion.
“I’d certainly like to go on to F3,” says Blanchard. “I’ve had a great year in the UK and learned a lot, and it would be nice to carry on over here. But before next season I have to finish this one and I’ll be giving it everything at Donington. I’m the only driver other than Wayne left in it, and I’ve been close to him all season, so anything can happen.” Blanchard was crowned Australian Formula Ford Champion in 2007 in similar circumstances: “Last year I was in Wayne’s position and I can use that experience to my advantage now that the boot is on the other foot.”
One man who will be smiling no matter which driver emerges on top is Jamun Racing’s James Mundy: “Our aim for the Donington weekend is to get three race wins for Jamun. We have done a lot of testing, we have some new developments for the cars, and I’m sure we will be competitive.” This will be the fourth consecutive season that a Jamun/Mygale driver has taken top honours in British Formula Ford.
Both Boyd and Blanchard are however in a long queue of hopefuls looking to end their season with a race win. The most recent BFFC races, at Brands Hatch and Silverstone, brought victories for Adrian Campfield in his Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum, for Jamun’s Brazilian driver, Victor Correa, and for Fluid Motorsport’s Marco Sorensen, the Dane breaking his duck and claiming Van Diemen’s first win of the season to boot.
Three-time victor Chris Maliepaard and his Mygale cannot be discounted, either, and nor can his Getem Racing team-mate Linton Stuteley. And JTR’s Matt Hamilton will arrive at Donington fresh from a morale-boosting race win in Formula Palmer Audi.
The other big battle to be settled is the outcome of the Scholarship Cup. Garry Findlay and his family-run Mygale have triumphed in class on 11 occasions but it is Ray pilot Chrissy Palmer who leads the title fight with a points advantage of 36. Scholarship third-place man Felix Scott will be at the wheel of a fresh Spirit chassis for Donington, an ex-Linton Stuteley 2006 machine.
Provisional championship standings
After round 22 (of 25)
1 Wayne Boyd GB/Templepatrick Jamun Mygale 577 points 2 Tim Blanchard AUS/Victoria Jamun Mygale 541 3 Chris Maliepaard NL/Nagele Getem Mygale 405 4 Victor Correa BRA/Sao Paulo Jamun Mygale 373 5 Linton Stuteley GB/Hitchin Getem Mygale 357 6 Marco Sorensen DK/Sudbury Fluid Van Diemen 327 etc
1 Chrissy Palmer GB/West Marden Sterling Ray 458 2 Garry Findlay GB/Eye Findlay Mygale 422 3 Felix Scott GB/Woodthorpe Wrensport Spirit 364 etc