Ian Schofield and Andrew Horne

Ian Schofield and Andrew Horne lead the charge into turn 1

Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power Royale) secured the 2015 Investchem Formula Ford Championship in a thrilling first race at Phakisa Freeway on Saturday, 10 October 2015.

Horne came into the day needing to score 11 points to make sure that he would leave Phakisa as the champion with one round of the 2015 series left to run. In the morning qualifying session he ended up sandwiched between the only two drivers that had any hope of denying him the championship – Ian Schofield (Investchem Mygale) just ahead of him and Graham Hepburn (Suburban Body Shop Ray) about a second behind. Allen Meyer (Van Diemen) was next quickest to complete the second row of the grid. David Jermy (Matt Nash Motorsport Van Diemen) and Matthys Strydom (Sage ERP Africa Talon) filled the third row of the grid with Dalan Holton (Copper Lake Breweries Van Diemen) and Dean Venter (Turnfab Engineering / Manitou Mygale) completing the top eight.

When the lights went out to signal the start of the first race it was Schofield who grabbed the early lead with Hepburn sweeping around the outside of Horne to take third. Hepburn got past Schofield to take the lead on the final corner of the opening lap while Jermy got past Horne to move into third at the same place. One corner later Jermy went up the inside of Scofield to move into second. The leading quartet started to pull away from the rest of the field until Jermy ran wide leaving three at the head of the field. A lap later Schofield regained the lead but, going into the fast sweep leading onto the back straight, his car jumped out of gear and he spun. Hepburn could not avoid him and the collision put both of them into retirement. Horne managed to avoid them by taking to the grass on the outside of the circuit but had dropped down to fifth by the time he regained the circuit and got back up to speed.

There were then 9 cars at the front of the field in a high speed train led by Jermy and they provided some of the closest racing seen in the Formula Ford Kent Championship in a long time. Three laps later they crossed the line with the top eight covered by less than 2 seconds, Jermy taking the win from Strydom, and Venter. Horne ended in fourth ahead of Paul Schultz, Holton, Jonathan Nash (Swift) and Meyer.

With both Schofield and Hepburn not scoring any points in the opening race, Horne’s five point haul for fourth place gave him the 2015 title. This gave him the freedom to race in the second heat. He got to the front early on and, with those behind fighting for position, was able to open up a substantial gap, going on to win by five seconds. Venter had his best result of the season, holding off Scofield who fought his way through from the back of the grid, to take a well-deserved second place. Strydom had to settle for fourth ahead of Holton, Schultz and Andrew Schofield (Investchem Reynard). Jermy claimed the final points-paying position, managing to stay ahead Nash and Stuart Thompson (Van Diemen) despite losing part of the front of his car in the close racing.

Overall victory on the day went to Horne with Strydom and Venter in the other podium positions.

While Horne has the 2015 title in the bag, the race for second is far from over. Schofield occupies the slot at the moment but Strydom is only six points behind with Hepburn a further seven back. The final positions will be revealed after the last round of the championship, which takes place at Redstar Raceway on Saturday, 28 November.