Josh Smith has put his Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship race one victory at Croft down to a “radically different” approach to this weekend.
Reigning Northern series champion Smith had struggled for results during his first three National meetings with Oldfield Motorsport, his best result in 2018 before Croft being a pair of seventh places.
He returned to Oldfield this weekend after a three month break, which combined with a different approach to their car’s set-up helped transform the Cumbrian driver’s pace.
“Me and James [Oldfield, team principal] have dropped a good setup on the car, we’ve worked hard, and I’ve had a bit of time away and had a big think,” said Smith after his race one win.
“We’ve had a good talk and sorted some stuff out on the car, and gone radically different to what we normally do. We were always a tenth or a tenth and a half shy [before].”
Though both his pole position and race win were achieved in changeable weather conditions, Smith is confident his rediscovered pace will translate to results regardless of whether the track is wet or dry.
“In the dry, I did five laps, and four of them were good enough for pole by three tenths. The pace is consistent,” Smith said.
“In the wet, we’ve been a bit of an underdog all weekend – a bit of a dark horse – because we’ve been running round on old tyres. Now we’ve banged new ones on, we’ve found a lot of pace because it’s such an abrasive circuit.”
Last month Smith made a guest appearance in Scottish FF1600, driving a Ray GR16 for Graham Brunton Racing as he evaluated his options. With early season gremlins now cured, Smith indicated he is more likely to remain with the team he joined mid-season in 2017.
“I always knew the Oldfield package was really good. It was just lining the dots up as we had a lot of bad luck. I just needed to widen my scope of what other cars are capable of and we were genuinely seeing if it would be a better move for the Walter Hayes and Festival to go with GBR,” Smith explained.
“I thought I’d give James another chance and we’ve worked hard together, put a lot of thought into this weekend and these are the results.”