JTR Motorsport’s Jayde Kruger has taken victory in the first race of the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. The South African racer started as he intended to go on, grabbing the lead from the start and never looking back. After jumping Harrison Scott at the start, Kruger then protected his gains for 26 laps of pressure from the reigning Scholarship champion.
The final gap of 1.129 seconds overstates the advantage, as there was rarely more than half a second between the JTR and Falcon Motorsport machines. When traffic became a factor towards the end of the race, Scott looked to have an opportunity but Kruger answered everything that was thrown at him.
Kruger was delighted with the result, telling the series website, “Harrison was fast in qualifying but he didn’t do too many laps which were on that sort of pace. I knew that my speed was consistent going into the race. It was all about the start, really. After I got in front I just kept my head down and tried to stay ahead. We caught some backmarkers and he closed in a bit but I was able to fend him off. It was faultless; the car was good.”
Sam Brabham held third for most of the race, but couldn’t answer the pace of the leading duo, and eventually lose his spot to former BRDC Formula 4 racer Jack Barlow on lap 22.
Brabham had absorbed every move by Radical Sportscars racer, Juan Rosso in the early stages. When Rosso lost out to Barlow the pressure increased until Brabham could defend no longer. The Argentinian racer tried to follow Barlow through but contact with the JTR machine knocked him back to eighth. Brabham was forced to retire after the incident.
The Scholarship class was dominated by Rob Collard’s son, Ricky. After holding on to sixth from the start, Ricky Collard profited from the Brabham/Rosso clash to move up to fourth place, where he stayed until the end of the race. Max Marshall took fifth and James Abbott finished in sixth, splitting the Scholarship class winner from his nearest rival.
Collard paid tribute to his dad’s teaching after his class win saying, “I got a good old Collard start like my dad has been telling me to do for ages and it worked perfectly. I could see there was an issue forming between Brabham, Barlow and Rosso and I decided to take a back seat from that as a rookie to see how it unfolded.”
Second in the Scholarship went to Chris Mealin who overcame Ashley Sutton when the Meridian Motorsport driver lost all the gears but sixth. Still Sutton held on to third in class ahead of a re-classified Louise Richardson who made up five places during the race, two due to retirements and three on the track. Greg Holloway took Ben Constanduros for eleventh place, so that only James Webb was beaten by the only guest runner.
Conor Mills was the first retirement on lap 11, joined by Brabham ten laps later.
Despite the potential for impressive lap times, Kruger fell 0.352 seconds short of beating Scott Malvern’s race record. Still with two more races at Brands Hatch and temperatures falling towards race two, there is a chance that this record could fall before the end of the day.