BRSCC FF1600: MacLennan’s Setback
 June 8, 2017| 
  • Feeder Series
COWDENBEATH, UK – At Knockhill Circuit on the weekend of June 3-4, Neil MacLennan (pictured above) suffered a setback in his quest to win the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres and earn a place in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout when an exclusion for a yellow flag infringement prevented him from winning a fourth race in a row.

MacLennan, the reigning Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Champion, relished running to home ground and set the fastest time during qualifying in his Cliff Dempsey Racing tended Ray GR14 with a time that was 0.142 secs faster than James Roe Jr. could manage in the Van Diemen RF99 engineered by Bernard Dolan.

Down in fifth was series leader Luke Williams who felt he could have been higher up in the classification but had put quite a high mileage on his tires as he got to grips with the circuit in his Firman RF16 during Friday’s test day. Nonetheless, he was one place ahead of Ross Martin – another Scottish driver – in the Graham Brunton Racing Ray GR17.

Intermittent rain meant there were plenty of puddles on the undulating track located on a hillside when the first race got underway. In these tricky conditions, nobody could match the pace of MacLennan. He would have won as he pleased but the 15-minute contest was interrupted by a Safety Car period which meant the leader had to re-establish his advantage when the green flag was waved. While the action had been paused, the tarmac had dried out to a certain extent and MacLennan was uncertain how hard he could push on the still slippery surface. Nonetheless, he successfully managed his pace to seal the win.

He was followed home by Martin. Rounds of the Scottish Championship were also on the program and a crash in one of those meant his team had to rush to repair his right-hand front suspension in time for this contest. The Graham Brunton squad clearly screwed everything together very well indeed as their man set the fastest lap.

An over cautious start saw Williams initially lose places but he worked his way back up to fifth behind MacLennan’s team mate Jamie Thorburn and Josh Smith in the Myerscough College tended Firman RF16.

The second race was a carbon copy of the first for MacLennan albeit with an unfortunate twist. He was untouchable once again with only a Safety Car interlude affecting his progress. The stewards, however, had a nasty surprise as they excluded him for overtaking a lapped car in a yellow flag zone.

This meant Martin moved to the top of the classification for his maiden victory in the National Championship in only his fourth outing in the series having come out on top of a multi-way dice ahead of Williams. Roe Jr. annexed third after he gained a couple of places in the closing stages.

There was action and overtaking aplenty in the final contest of the weekend. Following his earlier disqualification, MacLennan had to start at the back, working his way up to seventh. Meanwhile the partially reversed grid put Tom McArthur on pole but soon his B-M Racing Van Diemen JL13 was upside down in the middle of the circuit after contact with Thorburn.

Williams drove majestically to take the spoils having started fifth and extended his championship points advantage after MacLennan had closed in by recording four wins on the trot – although the last of these was taken away from him. Local Scottish drivers Thorburn and Martin completed the final podium of the weekend.

Words by Dave Williams; photo courtesy of Rachel Bourne/Bourne Photographic
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