Julian Van der Watt was still smiling after spinning out of the final of this year’s Walter Hayes Trophy, which he started from pole.
The 21-year-old South African was tipped for WHT victory after winning his heat and semi-final, but after his final disappointment he was keen to stress that the odds were not quite as in his favour as they first appeared.
“I’m really happy with the way the weekend went even though we didn’t get the result we wanted. To start on pole for me after a year of not being in a [Formula] Ford was just a really great experience,” said van der Watt.
He had not driven a Formula Ford since the 2017 FFord Festival, in which he finished 12th, having spent the year racing in USF2000. The WHT was only the second wet race meeting of his career, after the Festival the year before.
“We had no wet races in the US, which was quite odd, but we just never had a wet race.
“Every session we’ve just been progressing and progressing and progressing, getting a lot faster, more used to the Ford and having no downforce again
“It shows that in a year I’ve really grown and improved as a driver.”
He remained just as sanguine about the incident that put him out of the final.
“We had a pretty good start, came onto the Wellington Straight first and we were looking good for the race. But then I think there must have been oil or some sort of other disturbance going into Brooklands because me and a whole bunch of other cars just ran wide there. Even Michael Moyers who won ran wide there.
“We fell back to about third or fourth for a couple of laps, then there was the safety car period. We got spun round coming out of Luffield.”
Van der Watt enjoyed his WHT experience with Kevin Mills Racing so much that he plans to return to Silverstone next November.
“We’ll definitely be coming back next year to try to get a win because we can see we’ve got the pace. A huge thanks to Kevin Mills Racing, the car was awesome all weekend.”