Michael Eastwell’s 2018 Formula Ford Festival chances are over, after retiring from his semi-final when a bolt detached from his Spectrum’s rear suspension.
The Kevin Mills Racing driver was among the hottest favourites for this year’s Festival, a status he underlined by winning his heat yesterday from pole, beating Ollie White’s Medina by three seconds.
Eastwell’s chances suddenly ended after stopping during his semi-final race, only three laps from the finish, when running second behind Niall Murray’s Van Diemen. It was only his second technical failure in 44 races this season.
“Unfortunately a bolt failed in the lower rear wishbone,” Eastwell said.
“We were going really well, but then our pace seemed to go off a little bit. We think the bolt broke, fell out and things held in place for a bit but I felt it was very loose on the rear. And unfortunately a few laps from the end it gave up.
“The driveshaft and that all wasn’t good, so it was pull off the circuit as quickly as you can sort of job! Gutting is a bit of an understatement.”
Eastwell nevertheless looked at the positives from his Festival performance.
“We’ve had some strong results this weekend,” he noted, “I think we’ll take the fastest lap of the weekend away. A pole position and a win in a race that most people thought was the strongest heat out there. I can take that away with me.
“It’s one of those that could have been. I feel really good around here, and I really felt we had a chance of winning it.”
Eastwell added that he would not be participating in the Festival’s Last Chance Race, which offers the possibility of starting the final from the back rows, even if he gets in as a reserve.
With the Walter Hayes Trophy less than two weeks away, the possibility of sustaining damage while racing through the pack was on his mind, along with his chances of Festival victory also being diminished.
“The racer inside me wants to do it, come through the field,” he added. “From a point of [possible] damage, we’ve got a big race [the Walter Hayes Trophy] coming up in a week’s time, we’ve got six cars out.
“Even if we get to the front of the Last Chance Race, we came here to win it or be right up there, and I’m sure we’d work our way through the final if we made it there but we wouldn’t be winning it or be right up there.
“Sometimes it’s best to just say the best has been had this weekend and put it behind you and move onto the next one.
“[I’ve] got to look forward to the Walter Hayes and the bigger picture. I’m sure we’ll be strong there. There’ll be plenty of fight in me, that’s all I can say!”