East Sussex racer Jack Barlow makes successful return to the track taking 3rd at Brands Hatch.
After a huge testing accident curtailed his entire 2014 season, Jack Barlow bravely climbed back into the cockpit of a racing car at Brands Hatch last month (4/5 April) and proved that he had lost none of the skills that made him a fans’ favourite.
Almost a year to the day since he rolled his Formula Ford single-seater at Thruxton in Hampshire, the brave 19-year’s dogged determination saw him make a successful return to top-flight competition.
Having signed a last-minute deal with new squad MBM to contest the inaugural MSA Formula series, Jack went into the championship’s opening weekend at the former Grand Prix circuit with precious few practice laps under his belt. Nonetheless – and despite some teething issues with his freshly-built car – the Pett driver posted the 7th-fastest time in qualifying.
Sadly heartbreak was to follow in the very first race of the new championship when a start line melee entangled the MBM man, as he explains: “I’d made a great start but the two cars ahead of me were slower off the line. I had the choice of running into the back of one of them or going for the gap in between them. I couldn’t see what was ahead of them but committed to the move. Unfortunately another slow-moving car forced one of the drivers I was attempting to pass to take avoiding action and they clipped my front wheel. I crawled back to the pits with bent steering and was unable to continue but thankfully there was no real damage to the car as a whole.”
His resultant DNF (did not finish) put him at the rear of the field for the following race and it was in this encounter that Barlow was able to demonstrate his flair.
He charged from 19th position at the start, to carve his way up the order and take the chequered flag in a fine 7th place.
“I went into it not knowing how the car would behave after the crash in the first race. At first I thought I’d just use the race as a test to learn more about the car. It turned out to be a pretty good lesson!”
Buoyed by his performance, Jack went into the weekend’s third race with the added bonus of starting from P6 on the grid, albeit that this put him on the outside of the track for the run into the world-famous circuit’s daunting first corner, Paddock Hill Bend. A terrific getaway from the line saw the former karting multiple-champion pass two cars to take 4th place. With the leaders also able to make a clean breakaway, Jack was left to circulate on his own for the remainder of the race.
“I was confident that I had strong pace but started to make a series of mistakes at the halfway mark. I was over-driving but found my rhythm towards the end and started to catch the trio ahead.”
However, in a dramatic turn of events, long after the prizes had been handed out, he was boosted to 3rd – albeit provisionally – after race-winner Lando Norris was excluded from the result for ignoring the officials’ flag signals following an accident. Norris has lodged an appeal, which will be considered at the next round, to be held at Donington Park (18-19 April)”The news came as a real shock and I do feel sorry for Lando but I’ll happily take 3rd,” Jack said with a wry smile.
Jack currently lies 6th overall in the championship with a further 27 races to go until the season finale, back at Brands Hatch in October (10-11).
“Rye’s Own” May 2015
All articles, photographs and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement. © World Copyright 2015 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG