BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 champion Stuart Gough has admitted that this year’s Walter Hayes Trophy could’ve been his last race meeting in the category.
The 37-year-old, National champion in 2014, was competing in his 15th WHT and was disappointed to crash out of his semi-final following contact with Luke Cooper’s car at Becketts, but he had already made the decision to call time on his motorsport career for now. He sat out most of the 2018 season after a major sponsor pulled out.
He received offers of race seats in other series, including British GT, but did not have the required funding in place to take them up.
“Thinking in my head that this is the last time doesn’t feel too bad, I’m okay with it,” he said after the semi-final.
“In the summer I sort of moved away from it mentally.
“I just don’t want to spend more money on the car. Let’s be honest, that car sat there in bits is two grand probably. Where’s that coming from?
“I’ve been racing for 25 years, since I was 12, and I’m not enjoying it like I used to. I can’t justify spending this much of my own money.”
Money issues are not the only factor influencing Gough’s decision. His lack of seat time this year has meant that he has not been as competitive as he knows he can be from past experience.
“When I jump into a Formula Ford, I’ve got these high expectation levels that I’m going to be winning.
“Maybe I can come back and do the odd race and enjoy it for what it is. At the moment I come into it and I’m like ‘I’m not winning! I’m not quick! What’s going on?’ and it all becomes aggro.”
His Formula Ford Festival and WHT appearances were part of a one-off agreement with his former team, Oldfield Motorsport.
“The Oldfields have worked so hard and they said to come and do these events. And I thought: let’s do it, let’s have a good crack at it. It’s not often you get asked to drive a car. Yes, I’ve had to put a bit of money in and I’ve had Moorgate come back on board and they’ve put a bit of money into it just for tyres and entry fees and to take some of the fixed cost.”
He has not ruled out taking up similar offers in the future, if the right deal came along.
“If someone offers me an opportunity I might take it, but I’m not going out looking for them any more.”