644 days after winning the 2019 Scottish Championship Title, the team returned to Knockhill to finally begin their defence of it! The intervening period had been a mixture of preparation, training, Sim-Racing and a handful of real-world non-championship events due to the global pandemic, but at long-last it was time to get down to the serious business.
In what was a perfect way to herald-in the return of of the Scottish Formula Ford Championship season, a gloriously sunny weekend at Knockhill welcomed both the Scottish competitors and the visiting National Formula Ford Championship drivers on a single grid. The impressive sight of 22 single-seaters battling it out on track also a fitting mark of respect for the great David Leslie, who's namesake trophy was up for grabs in the final ace of the weekend.
It unfortunately became clear during practice that the team simply would not have the pace to fight for the overall David Leslie Trophy honours. Going up-against vastly more experienced professional teams with much more resource, technical analysis tools and knowledge would prove to be a challenge too-far. So instead, focus shifted to the long-game and the team's title defence, for which they needed to beat only the other Scottish Championship competitors.
Having made gradual and sustained progress through the practice sessions, the team headed into qualifying hopeful of a top-10 spot on the grid. Unfortunately it wasn't quite to be as Jordan missed-out by just 0.075s, ending the session 11th, but importantly as the top Scottish driver.
"I have to say I'm disappointed, and quite surprised, to be so far back" said Jordan. "The car felt the best it has all weekend so we're still moving in the right direction, but it's a shame not to break into the top-10. We'll hopefully manage to carry the momentum we're building into the race and move forward again, all whilst making sure we don't get involved in a battle which might affect our championship hopes."
Jordan made a good start to hold his position into Duffus at the first time of asking. sitting steady on the gearbox of the car ahead, within a few corners he was part of the leading pack as the field started to split and clear air appeared behind. However, all that would change on the run out of the chicane on lap 2.
A few cars ahead of Jordan, contact between drivers sent shards of nosecone flying, before the stricken driver slid wide into Clark corner, collecting another side-on and then slowing such that the driver behind smashed into the rear and over the top. It was a very dramatic few seconds which led to the deployment of the safety car as a relieved Jordan slipped past on the inside line and avoided any damage.
A solid getaway after the prolonged safety car period meant Jordan maintained his now 8th spot, initially sticking to the cars ahead again before dropping back slightly to conserve engine temperature for the 20-minute race. Further 'elbows-out' driving ahead lead to a flurry of more cars bouncing off the track and through the grass, elevating Jordan to a fantastic 6th spot, which ultimately became 7th by the flag as he didn't contest an overtake from a National driver behind. A post-race penalty for a driver ahead due to a driving standard infringement elevated the team back up to 6th overall and importantly taking victory in the opening Scottish Championship round.
"... all hell broke loose on lap two!"
"Well... What can you say about that?" Joked Jordan. "It was an experience to say the least - things started off relatively calmly and then all hell broke loose on lap two! After that my eyes were on stalks the whole time trying to look 2-3 cars ahead always watching for the next incident to avoid! On a serious note, my focus was very much on staying out of trouble. It ultimately makes no difference if we finish 1st or 15th overall in the race, as long as we are the top Scottish driver home - to get involved in someone else's accident would have been a complete disaster. So I just tried to take a very measured approach to the race; pushing early on to make sure we had a comfortable gap behind and then really just settling-in behind the battles ahead and keeping clean. One of the National guys who'd had a bad start caught me towards the end and I had no thoughts of defending the place because it didn't matter - the main thing was to not lose our momentum and I'd say the plan worked pretty well. Here's to the same again next time out!"
Starting 6th, Jordan once again made a great start to hold-position early-on. The opening laps then took-on a similar feel to race 1, with Jordan tagged-on to the leading pack and pulling away from those behind, but this time the number of cars ahead was lessened.
On lap six, the safety car was again called-out for a spinner in a dangerous position, destroying the buffer Jordan had managed to build behind. At the restart, the chasing pack pounced immediately, eventually demoting Jordan to 9th where he settled into a rhythm and eventually finished - once more as the leading Scottish competitor.
"... picking the right fights - attacking where I needed to and not fighting with drivers when it would only have slowed us down - and once more it worked out perfectly."
"The results don't look this way, but that was actually our best race of the weekend and the one I'm most proud of!" Explained Jordan. "I couldn't quite believe our pace early-on as we were able to not only sit on the gearbox of the leading 5 cars, but I could actually have made some passing moves and picked some off if I'd wanted to, it was very satisfying to be up at the sharp end. Of course it wouldn't have helped us any to start throwing moves up the inside - and would have just slowed us down, so I was relatively happy sitting there. Then we were a bit unfortunate with the safety car as that allowed some of the faster guys to close-up again and at the restart they were obviously very eager to get past. Just like in race one, I stuck to the plan of making sure we did everything right to keep our advantage and position in the Scottish Championship by picking the right fights - attacking where I needed to and not fighting with drivers when it would only have slowed us down - and once more it worked out perfectly. 9th overall is still inside our top-10 goal coming into today, so that's something we can be proud of, but the bottom line is that we've taken two wins from two in the Scottish Championship, which means our title defence is off to the best possible start!"
"Thank you to dad for all his hard work this weekend. We've been trying different things on setup with the car and whatever I've requested he's always managed to get the job done in time for the next session and it's always been perfect so he deserved these wins! Thank you also to each and every one of our official sponsors - with the global situation such as it is, it is extra-special having the amazing support that we do."
Provisional results show Jordan leading the Scottish Championship with 52 points. Michael Gray is sitting second on 40 points.
The next two rounds of the championship take place at Knockhill on Sunday the 18th of July.