18 year old James Roe, from Naas, travelled to the Knockhill in Scotland at the weekend for the latest rounds of the BRSCC Formula Ford 1600 championship.
James was confident ahead of the weekend, having finished second at the circuit on his first visit there last month. Testing went well for Roe and his Bernard Dolan Racing team, lapping less than a tenth off circuit specialist Neil McLennan with the next quickest some three tenths off the duo. Qualifying was a similar story- McLennan just shading the young Kildare driver for pole, with the pack few tenths back. Both in fact, were right on the lap record pace, with Roe recording the fastest time for a Van Diemen chassis at the venue for a considerable time.
As the lights went out, Roe slotted into second place and looked comfortable, setting fastest lap as he shadowed the leader. Unfortunately though, after a safety car period and subsequent restart, James lost it under braking for the hairpin and slid off, dropping to twelfth. By the flag, he had charged to tenth but was now on the back foot for race two, lining up tenth on the tight and twisty Scottish circuit.
The Team Ireland driver was in feisty form however, after his race one error and sliced his way through the pack to claim an impressive podium position in third!
Race three was to sum up Roe’s weekend. Starting fifth, he quickly climbed to third but when Seb Melrose lost it in front of him at turn three, was forced to drive off circuit in avoidance. He rejoined in 8th and immediately began to make up the places, but a safety car period had reduced the race to just 7 minutes, By the flag, he had climbed to sixth, with fastest lap as consolation as both he and his team reflected on what might have been.
“Ultimately a little bit disappointing, but once again, we had plenty of pace. I really enjoyed race two, the car was great and to come from tenth to third was really satisfying! I’m happy with the car and it’s only a matter of time before it all falls into place for us.”
James Roe now concentrates on his Leaving Certificate exams for the next few weeks, before returning to the circuits for the combined UK and NI FF1600 championship rounds at Kirkistown in Northern Ireland on June 23rd.
Images from Bourne Photographic