Walter Hayes Trophy

Top 10 finish at Walter Hayes vindicates Eastwell’s rookie year

Kevin Mills Racing’s Michael Eastwell described his top 10 finish at the Walter Hayes Trophy as the ideal way to conclude a challenging but promising rookie season.

Eastwell contested both the Castle Combe FF1600 Championship in association with Wiltshire College and Britcover National with Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Championships this year.

Driving his KMR Spectrum, Eastwell finished on the National podium at Silverstone in August and came close to late-season wins at Combe on his way to fourth in that championship.

But he was also frustrated by the number of incidents he was involved in during his National campaign, and disappointed not to do better than 18th in the Festival final.

The karting graduate said the experience of being thrown in at the deep end when he made his car racing debut in the 2016 WHT helped him to his 10th place this year.

“The heat five race was brutal, but I used the experience I gained last year to manage the race,” Eastwell told FF1600website.

“I’m happy to finish in the top 10 in the final, that was the aim at the start of the weekend and these events are tough. I couldn’t do it at the Festival so I was pleased to do it here.”

His final result could have been higher, but a missed gear while swerving to avoid a slowing car undid a lot of his early race work to move up from his starting position of 11th.

“I made up quite a few places at the start, but then I had to swerve to avoid a slow car and ran off-track, losing quite a few places,” Eastwell admitted.

“The yellow flags made it difficult to gain any of the places back as they limited the opportunities I had to overtake people again as the run into Copse and the run into Brooklands was under yellow flags and I like a good overtake under braking.”

He has already committed to a second full FF1600 season in 2018 and will stay with Kevin Mills Racing.

“This year was a massive learning curve for me, having competed in karts last year, so next year my target is to be more competitive and build on the form that saw me finish ninth this season as well as claiming more podiums,” Eastwell added.

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