Blog: Prepping for the Big One

Blog: Prepping for the Big One

Team USA Scholarship

Blog: Prepping for the Big One

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Young American Bryce Aron is excited about making his second visit to the famed Aimshop.com BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England – and especially to be representing the patriotic red, white and blue colors of the Team USA Scholarship:

Hello everyone! I will start off this blog reporting from the Dempsey home here in the U.K. As I write this, [fellow Team USA Scholarship winner] Jackson [Lee] and I are just a few days out from hitting the track at Brands Hatch to prepare for the Big One: the Formula Ford Festival.

Last weekend I got to experience my first race flying the program’s colors at the famous Silverstone International Circuit for the final round of the BRSCC British National Formula Ford Championship. On Friday we participated in two practice sessions, but unfortunately both were hampered by red flags meaning that we would pretty much have to start from zero in qualifying. Nonetheless, Jackson and I picked up the circuit, and I managed to qualify sixth in a field of nearly 30 cars.

After some great racing with former Festival winners Joey Foster (right behind me in the photo below) and my teammate Jonathan Browne, I managed to finish off the weekend with a solid top-five result. It was a great learning experience and the perfect event to prepare for the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy.

Last year I was able to participate in the Festival after a last-minute deal came together. It was then I truly realized the magic of the event. This year I am beyond excited and ready for the Festival after my season’s worth of experience here in the U.K. It has been a wild ride for everyone involved due to the complications of COVID-19. I originally came to the U.K. all the way back in March but had to return home after a very brief one-week stay due to the virus. After a few months in lockdown I once again headed across the Atlantic with my fellow American Grant Palmer, who I lived with for four months throughout the duration of the season. We were able to compete in a variety of British Formula Ford series including the BRSCC National Championship, Champion of Brands series and the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Low Dempsey Racing.

It has been a very educational experience to say the least and very humbling to be competing against some of the best Formula Ford drivers in the world. Even at some of the club events, the competition was phenomenal with fields full of national championship front runners.

At this year’s three national events, the top 10 were all immensely experienced and had a long list of accomplishments.

As I quickly realized while battling at the front of the national field, racing in the U.K. is much different to what I was used to back in America. Defending and attacking here in the U.K. is extremely aggressive. In other words, pretty much anything goes but the style of racing here has taught me a lot about race craft and the importance of being calculating behind the wheel. Every race here seems to be a massive chess game since the field is so close. Every pass or defensive maneuver has to be well thought out or you can easily find yourself being passed by two or even three cars in the blink of an eye. It is hard and proper racing at its best, and I could not wish for anything more.

Away from the racetrack, Jackson and I are living together with Cliff and Michelle Dempsey at their home in Brigstock, Northamptonshire. I have been here since June and I have been enjoying every day. I’ve even learned how to cook a little bit!

Small things that I never thought of before make Brigstock much different from what I am used to back home in America. Here in the U.K. clotheslines seem to be popular and air conditioning is not so much. This made the summer months a little interesting. Before my trip across the Atlantic I had never used a clothesline – called a drying line here – so that was one thing I had to adjust to along with regularly seeing horses passing by our house on the roads of Brigstock.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Jackson and I have not been able to explore too much of our surrounding areas, but after our race at Silverstone we got to take the new Land Rover Defender off roading at the Land Rover Experience in Solihull (below). It was quite the experience taking the new Defender to its max over some pretty tough terrain. Sometimes we were even lifting wheels off of the ground which was a little nerve wracking especially considering the Defender we were driving was only two weeks old.

We also got to drive through the original Land Rover wading pool used in the early days of the company. More intriguing for both Jackson and I was driving a right-hand drive car for the first time. It was another great experience and a lot of fun.

I can’t wait to hit the track in a few days at Brands Hatch and I owe all my thanks to Doug Mockett (who is racing this week in the classic La Carrera Panamericana event in Mexico – best of luck, Mr. Mockett!), SAFEisFAST.com, AERO Paints, Team Cooper Tires, Sparco, Tom Gloy, Bob Stellrecht, Jeremy Shaw, Andy Low, and everyone involved with the Team USA Scholarship for making this opportunity possible.

Everything has been amazing and I can’t wait to share more updates as we progress through the next two weeks. Until next time.

– Bryce

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