Falcon Motorsport driver Harrison Scott headed to Rockingham Speedway with a six-point lead in the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and left with a 17-point advantage with six races remaining. Scholarship Class contenders Ricky Collard and Chris Mealin collected valuable points to remain second and third in the 2014 Rookie rankings for the Oxfordshire based team.
Usual Friday testing saw Championship leader Harrison Scott losing half a session in the afternoon when his Falcon Motorsport Mygale was afflicted by a split water pipe, but he recovered towards the end of the day to go third quickest overall. There were similar issues for team-mate Chris Mealin, who managed only 11 laps in the afternoon and ended his day 12th after a water pipe and exhaust issue.
Hampshire based, 18 year old Ricky Collard started his weekend campaign as strongly as he would end it. He was within a second of the top of the testing time sheet to finish fifth fastest overall and second of the Scholarship Class runners.
It was a foggy start for qualifying early on Saturday morning at the Northamptonshire speedway. Harrison was disappointed with his fourth-best overall time, but Ricky was delighted with his best qualifying result of the season of a P3 result, with Chris completing the top ten.
From second row on the grid at the start of Round 22 in the afternoon, Ricky made contact with the rear of Ashley Sutton at Brooke chicane, which cost him dearly. “It got a bit close,” said Ricky. “We all got bunched up into the chicane and Sutton slowed suddenly and I had nowhere to go. It broke my front wing and affected my car’s handling massively.”
Harrison, who held fourth behind Ricky for the opening three laps, was then able to slot in front of him at the Deene hairpin. A race victory for Championship rival Jayde Kruger (JTR) brought him and Harrison level on points with just eight races of the season remaining.
JTR’s Max Marshall relieved Ricky of fourth place mid-race, and he fell back into a multi-car battle for fifth (scholarship class P2) which came to a head at the hairpin on the final lap. James Abbott (Radical) got the better of a long battle with Chris Mealin (Falcon) to deprive the Manxman of seventh on the final lap, just missing out on the final Scholarship Class podium position.
Sunday morning brought reverse-grid Round 23 and a bright, clear blue sky for Ricky Collard to start from his maiden pole position. Marshall took command of the race after five laps of pursuit of his Falcon rival, when he dived down his inside entering turn one and into the Deene hairpin.
By the end of the sixth lap the race was under the control of the safety car as the MBM of Michael O’Brien was retrieved from a gravel trap after brief contact with Chris’s Falcon challenger. Ricky suffered a gearbox issue at the restart four laps later. Ashley Sutton (MBM) and Harrison swept past to demote him to fourth, where he remained until the chequered flag. Ricky commented: “I went down the box and got stuck in neutral; it’s a big shame and I feel bad for the team. To start from pole and not finish on the podium is disappointing.” He took away a second placed podium finish in the Scholarship Class, however, and set the fastest lap in class.