So after a pretty successful debut season for Alastair Kellett in the UK Fiesta Series including 6 wins and a memorable double at the Formula Ford Festival, we went into 2016 tipped as the championship favourites. With both David Nye and David Abbott not returning in 2016 it was going to be interesting to see who would be fighting for the championship.
The first round of the series took place in Snetterton in early April. There were some changes to the spec of the car from last year including a Quaife diff and uprated brakes so a quick test on Friday was required to just check the car out. Qualifying resulted in another pole position for the Kellett Motors Fiesta- but only just, from John Cooper who moved up from class B and Jessica King who was driving the ex David Nye car. Race 1 was not plain sailing at all as the STs at the front of the grid caused chaos and Alastair fell through the pack after a big moment at Oggies. He picked his way through the pack though, and overtook Cooper to win the race. Race 2 was also fraught as
an ST got spun round and Cooper had no where to go and collected it bringing out the red flags. At the restart Alastair controlled the pack to take another double win and the 6th straight win since Rockingham 2015.
Next up was the Silverstone International track 3 weeks later and there was another driver joining the grid in the form of double Mighty Mini champion Jamie White. Qualifying saw the top 4 separated by just two tenths with Alastair getting pole once again.
Race 1, and again the STs caused havoc for the Class D runners- something which is becoming a common theme and makes the starts pure pot luck. Luck was on our side though, as Alastair pulled away and controlled the race to the flag. Race 2 however and our luck would take a very nasty turn as a small bit of contact with Jamie White fired Alastair into the Armco at over 100mph at turn 1. I didn’t find out what happened until I saw the mangled wreck of a Fiesta arriving back to the paddock on a tow truck. The damage was critical as the floor and boot was all twisted and pushed back by about a foot into the car.
Our initial thoughts were that it was all over and there would be no further championship challenge. We hit the road home subdued but one phonecall would save our skin- just about. Barry Hallion of JH Autobody rang and Alastair told him the story and he told us to meet him off the boat to assess the damage. We did just that and he said leave it with me. 3 weeks later we were on the boat to Rockingham with the car totally rebuilt. I still don’t know how him and his team did it but they kept us in the title hunt for sure.
After that scare we headed for Rockingham hoping that was the end of the bad luck. It couldn’t have gone better with another pole on the Saturday setting us up for Sunday. Two race wins then followed and the delight was immense for the whole team after a really tough few weeks.
Last weekend we then made the journey back to Snetterton for rounds 7+8. The weather was a nightmare all weekend as it was torrential rain for all Saturday and then it would conveniently decide to rain before each session making tyre choice a lottery. A fourth pole by half a second in qualifying was a good start to the weekend. Race 1 and a three way scrap throughout the race between Alastair, Jamie White and Jess King and there was never more than a few car lengths between each car. A 6th win of the season was hard fought for. Race 2 and some of the slower STs baulked the leading Class D runners. Luckily Alastair was not one of them and he pulled a gap which he could control to the end and take a 7th win from 7 finishes.
So now as we’re on the road back to Holyhead again we currently lead both the class points and the overall points and I’m pretty certain no Irish driver has won it certainly in recent times so hopefully at the Formula Ford Festival we can add to the list of Irish success that weekend.