This year’s Team USA scholars caught the eye in the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, with some impressive performances in the Cliff Dempsey Racing Rays after difficult Festivals.
Jonathan Kotyk showed good racecraft throughout the weekend and made it through to the final where he finished sixth, while Aaron Jeansonne was narrowly knocked out in the progression race; missing out on a spot in the semis by just 0.4 seconds.
Kotyk, racing at Silverstone for the first time, finished in second in his heat despite suffering a bizarre setback.
After taking the lead out of Luffield on the last lap, Kotyk was left defenceless as his mirror had turned inward halfway through the race. This meant he had to back out of a fight with eventual winner Keith Donegan exiting Woodcote, as he was unable to fully see the position of the Irishman’s car.
“I couldn’t see so that’s why I didn’t defend. To play it safe, not cause any damage and bring the car home, I more or less went to defend but not enough that [Donegan] had to back out,” he explained.
Kotyk later inherited the heat win after Donegan was penalised for making contact with last year’s winner Niall Murray on the final lap. He progressed through to the final where he finished in sixth place.
Jeansonne showed good speed throughout the weekend, but a couple of incidents hampered his progress and meant he failed to qualify for the semis.
Despite starting the progression race from 22nd, Jeansonne had stormed into the top 10 by the end of lap one before a coming together with Lorna Vickers on lap three dropped him back down to 18th.
From there on his pace was red hot and he set the fastest lap time lap after lap, at times two seconds clear of the field.
In the end it wasn’t enough as he finished seventh, just 0.4s off the sixth place that would have qualified him for the semi-final.
Despite his disappointment, Jeansonne did not lay blame on Vickers and explained that in his opinion it was a racing incident.
“If there’s a crash in front of you, your first instinct is to avoid it,” he said.
“We were trying to overtake each other with an incident in front of us so I think it was really just a racing incident. It’s not like there was nothing going on and she just turned into me. It was just a reactive moment.”