BRSCC FF1600: Raven Rocks the Rock!
 June 14, 2016| 
  • Feeder Series
CORBY, England – James Raven was the man to beat when the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Championship visited Rockingham Motor Speedway on 11th June for rounds 7 & 8 of the series.

It was Raven’s first visit to the road course that sits within the UK’s only IndyCar-standard banked oval but he quickly got to grips with the twisting ribbon of tarmac to take his first pole of the season in the Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GR15/16. It was a close run thing because the best lap of Patrik Pasma in his Mygale SJ08 was just 0.06s slower. The 16-year-old showed that his runner-up finish in the Marcel Albers Memorial Trophy was no flash in the pan.

Third fastest was Raven’s team mate, Chase Owen (Ray GR14/15), while fourth was championship leader Niall Murray. He had been one second off the pace during pre-event testing but the Bernard Dolan Motorsport team radically changed all the settings on his Van Diemen RF99 in a bid to find the speed he was missing, this resulted in a qualifying time three-tenths away from Raven.

When the red lights went out for the first FF1600 race of the day, it was Murray who made the best start to blast past the three cars ahead of him and take the lead into the Deene Hairpin. The Irishman remained ahead after one lap of the spectacularly named International Super Sportscar Long Circuit but next time they reached the start/finish straight Raven got better drive out of the final corner and was able to move to the front at the start of the following tour.

By this stage, Raven and Murray had already pulled out more than a second over the rest of the pack as third placed Plasma was struggling to get heat into his tyres. He was soon to lose the final place on the podium to Owen. Despite a Safety Car bunching everyone up in the middle of the race, there were no further changes in the order of the first four.

Murray made another super start in race 2 and, with the grid set by the finishing order of race 1, he had no trouble taking the lead from the outside of the front row. This was a carbon copy of the earlier event with Raven getting good speed exiting the final corner at the end of lap 2 to make the decisive move on Murray.

The sense of déjà vu was enforced when the Safety Car appeared but once again Raven was able to hold off all-comers when the green flag was waved to make it a double victory.

The full course yellow allowed Pasma to get in position to take second from Murray who was then pushed off the podium by Owen with the latter repeating his third from earlier in the day. Fourth was enough for Murray to maintain his lead at the top of the Championship table.

Battle will resume at Brands Hatch on 9th/10th July.

Words by Dave WilliamsPhoto courtesy of Rachel Bourne/Bourne Photographic
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