Kent Formula Lydden Hill Report

Lydden Hill, England - 12th September, 1999 - A serious accident involving Kent Formula Ford Championship leader Brett Francis has left the title up for grabs. The Australian was taken out of the fourteenth round of the series through aggressive...

Lydden Hill, England - 12th September, 1999 - A serious accident involving Kent Formula Ford Championship leader Brett Francis has left the title up for grabs. The Australian was taken out of the fourteenth round of the series through aggressive driving tactics from rival Dave Connor that has left fellow competitors stunned.

Although relatively unharmed after impacting the barriers head-on in his PA Motorsport Swift SC93F, Francis’ lead in the Overall title chase was cut down to twenty points after his closest challenger, Jamun driver Neale Blunden, scored maximum points in the Zetec race. The bid is on to raise the funds necessary to repair the badly damaged car to complete the remainder of the season, and compete at the all important Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in October.

The incident happened on the opening lap of the tight Kent circuit. Francis took the lead from Connor’s Jamun by braking around the outside as the field approached Devil’s Elbow, giving the inside line for the next hairpin turn. As the pair exited the corner, Connor appeared to straighten his line towards Francis causing their front wheels to collide. The impact caused them both to spear into the barriers on the outside of the corner, and the red flags were soon brought out to halt the race.

Competitors following close behind expressed their amazement at the driving employed by Connor, labelling his tactics as "dangerous" and "completely unnecessary and unsporting".

Francis, nursing a strained neck and forearm, expressed his disappointment at the incident -

"I cannot believe that someone with a sense of mortality can drive in such a manner. Why is it that everyone else can drive wheel to wheel around the track and have terrific dices, but as soon as Connor becomes involved an incident is almost inevitable. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of racing and instead adopts his swerving tactics. Driving errors I can understand and accept, but what he does aren’t errors. It’s completely intentional. There’s not much I can do if he decides to drive into me, so I don’t know how we’re supposed to race under such conditions."

"In a year that has been going so well this certainly rains on the parade. I was already up against the wall with respect to the budget, so this has completely wiped me out. I think I’ll have to try and sell a kidney or something to make sure I can get to the Festival!"

The fifteenth round of the championship is on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on the 26th of September.

Kent Formula Ford Championship positions after 14 rounds

1.  Brett Francis (1600)                149
2.  Neale Blunden (Zetec)               129
3.  Matt Wood   (1600)                  115
4.  Nick Padmore (Zetec)                104
5.  Mark Langfield (Zetec)               99

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Series Other open wheel