Professional race preparation and management

Reports > Walter Hayes Trophy, Silverstone November 2019

Mixed fortunes at Walter Hayes Trophy 2019

The Wayne Poole Racing team were at Silverstone for the 2019 Walter Hayes Trophy event over the November 2/3 week-end. The team, celebrating 20 years in Formula Ford in 2019, have been a WHT regular since it's inception and, with Josh Fisher, have scored the most podiums without achieving the coveted win. On the back of a championship winning season at Castle Combe and with a strong Swindon Powertrain motor and a well developed Classic Auction Review backed and Richard Hudson-Evans owned Van Diemen RF99/JL14, hopes were again high for a strong showing and that elusive win for Josh Fisher.

The WHT is often a case of luck and being in the right place at the wrong time and so it was in 2019. A four into one situation at the first corner of the Grand Final saw Josh off the track and, although he continued at the back of the field for a few laps, the car didn't feel right so he retired. On a bright note, James Colborn, having his first year in single seaters and his first visit to the WHT was delighted to make the Semi Finals in his Van Diemen RF88.

The racing began with Heat 1 which saw Steve Bracegirdle (Van Diemen RF89) qualify 30th but was knocked off the track after three laps as another competitor turned across him. Having just done a qualifying session the battery didn't have enough power to re-start the engine so Steve was destined to start the Progression race from the back. He was joined by James Colborn who had a crank break in qualifying in his own Van Diemen RF89 so took over the team's spare RF88. James qualified 20th for Heat 2 but, like Steve, was struggling to find the optimum tyre pressures in the very wet conditions. However, a nineteenth place finish would mean that James would start the Progression race near the front of the grid.

Josh Fisher qualified fourth for Heat 3. He made a good start and was quickly into the lead on Lap 2 but was immediately knocked off the track. He managed to re-start in tenth place and despite a misfire was able to claw his way back to sixth at the end. Not an ideal start to the week-end but he and the team were confident that the pace was there so still hopeful of a strong result.

In the Progression race James made a strong start, running second in the early laps, but dropping back to finish seventh as the faster cars came through from the back. Steve also had a good race, passing a number of cars to finish 17th but just miss the cut for the Last Chance race. In the Last Chance James held his own in the mid field pack and kept the car on the track as others slithered off in the still damp conditions. His 21st place finish was enough to secure a spot in Semi 1 as other cars withdrew. Starting from the back in 36th place James repeated his Progression performance by keeping the car on track to record a well deserved 28th place finish.

In Semi 2 Josh made a cracking start to move up five places on the first lap. He ran in 6th place for many laps with further progress hampered by the fierce battle going on ahead of him and two safety car periods but a fifth place finish was a good result.

Finally, both James and Steve were out for the Pre '93 race and both had good races. Starting together on the thirteenth row both made rapid progress with Steve, in particular, passing plenty of cars on the now, nearly dry, track to finish 16th with James a little further back in 22nd.