Jack Mitchell/JAM Photography
Jake Eidson and Joey Bickers finished seventh and 26th (out of over 110 entrants) in the Grand Final of today’s 13th annual Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford extravaganza at Silverstone; but the final results do not do them justice. In cold, sunny and blustery conditions ” quite different to the drab overcast and intermittent rain that characterized Saturday’s Heat races ” Eidson remained in contention at least for a podium finish until being involved in an incident with Englishman Oliver White just two laps from the end while battling for second place.
Earlier, Eidson, 18, from Littleton, Colo., slipped briefly from fourth to sixth on the opening lap of his Semi Final race but quickly made his way to second, fighting past three-time Walter Hayes Trophy winner Joey Foster to earn a starting position on Row 2 of the grid for the 15-lap Grand Final.
?I’m pretty happy with how the weekend went,? summarized Eidson. ?I know the results don’t really show that but I’m really happy with how we did. The Semi Final went great; I went from P4 to P2, and that was a great race in itself and put us in a good place for the Final. I got a pretty good start and it turned out to be a really good battle between me and P2 throughout the whole race. We were side by side for at least two or three laps. It was the best race I’ve had in a long time. Coming down the back straight with just a few laps to go, I saw a gap on the inside going into Brooklands and I thought the gap was a little bit bigger than it was. It was probably a bit optimistic and I just dropped two wheels on the grass and couldn’t hang on and did a little 360. I’m pretty sure it excited some of the fans, but I got it going and finished seventh which, given the scenario, I think was a pretty good save. Overall, this has just been a great experience.?
Bickers encountered an even more dramatic day which included no fewer than four races. The 21-year-old from Moorpark, Calif., began by rising from 22nd on the grid for the 10-lap Progression Race to finish fourth, then charged from 34th to 12th in the 12-lap Last Chance Race to secure a place in the second of the two Semi-Finals. Bickers leapt from 33rd to 19th inside the first four laps before a multi-car incident brought out the red flags. He continued his climb after the restart, finishing 10th to ensure a place in the Final. Once again there was drama. Bickers rose to 17th in the first couple of laps, then was involved in an incident at Beckett’s immediately following another red flag and restart. He resumed in 29th and could manage no better than 26th at the checkered flag.
?I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to make the final,? he admitted, ?but once I was on track I realized the car was good and I became pretty confident. When everything was done and I was in the Final I was pretty happy about it ” just to bounce back from yesterday feels pretty good. I’ve probably learned more just today than I have all season. I’ve been through so much and passed so many people and been in so many situations on track that I’ve never had before. There have been ups and downs definitely but I can’t beat the learning experience I’ve had today.?