JTR Motorsport’s Jayde Kruger has levelled the championship playing field with just eight races left on the calendar after taking victory in the first of three Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain races at Rockingham. The South African’s lights to flag triumph has put him on 534 points, exactly the same as the championship leader heading into the event, Harrison Scott.
The Falcon Motorsport driver took third place in the encounter, a sign of how close the title fight is even at this late stage in the season, behind the MBM Motorsport machine of Ashley Sutton who took the fight to the race winner throughout the fifteen lap race. Come the end of the battle only 0.998 seconds split the overall victor from the winner in the Scholarship class.
Kruger fought off the initial advance, which came into Speedway 1 and the Deene hairpin on lap one. Nose to tail racing for the entire first lap was finally broken up when Scott’s Falcon Motorsport team mate Ricky Collard bumped heavily into the back of the MBM machine at the Brooke chicane.
“It felt like it was my rear wheel that he hit,” Sutton explained, “and I had to take it steady for the next lap because I wasn’t sure if I’d picked up a puncture. After Knockhill the last thing I wanted was another accident – and that gave Jayde a bit of a break. Once I realised the car was all right I knuckled down to it, but Jayde did a brilliant job and our lap times were matching the whole race.”
The incident cost Collard dearly, with an aerodynamic imbalance which gutted his pace. He dropped behind the team’s championship protagonist and Max Marshall in the second of the JTR entries. Scott complained that his car setup made the race, “a big struggle out there” after taking three laps to pass his hobbled team mate.
Collard continued to drop but managed to stay ahead of a five way battle for fifth place. MBM’s Michael O’Brien, series debutant Clay Mitchell for JTR and Louise Richardson for Richardson Racing formed the bulk of the five into one battle which became a lot too close for comfort. Richardson survived the clash but O’Brien and Mitchell collided at Deene on the final lap, scattering the circuit with debris. Both drivers were unharmed in the incident.
James Abbott took a rare triumph over his Radical Motorsport team mate Juan Rosso who fell off the lead lap in the race after a pit stop. Abbott was forced to fight race long with the final Falcon runner, Chris Mealin, triumphing on the final lap to take seventh.
A relieved and thrilled Kruger said, “I knew if I could lead lap one that I could have a safe race from there. It was really only the opening lap that I was nervous about; not having an accident and keeping the wheels on it – I couldn’t afford a DNF.”