16-year-old Young Formula Ford racer Tom Sargent has experienced what he has described as the closest shave of his motorsport career, narrowly avoiding a 200km/h crash in the third round of the NSW Formula Ford Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend.
In the weekend’s second race, Sargent was battling for fourth position when rival Zac Soutar experienced a spin at the notorious Turn 1 – the fastest corner on the track. Sargent was following closely behind at the time and in a tremendous display of lighting reflexes, he took to the grass, missing Soutar’s car by a matter of centimetres – watch the on-board video of the incident here.
“I saw Zac starting to lose control and I had the choice of going either left or right to avoid him – fortunately I made the right choice,” Sargent said.
“It was a shame, because up to that point it had been one of my best-ever races – I had the pace to keep up with a lot of the national series drivers who were running.
“After the excursion, I had to regain my focus and because I went off the track, I picked up some dust on my tyres which reduced the level of grip for a little while.”
Earlier in the weekend, Sargent had qualified eighth in the 34-car field, before improving to seventh in Race 1.
Despite the near-miss in Race 2, Sargent again finished seventh, and he repeated the result in Race 3 to complete a consistent weekend.
“Having the national drivers in the field was good, because it gave us a benchmark,” Sargent said.
“I felt we improved all weekend, and when you look at our pace and position compared to the last round at Wakefield Park, we’ve definitely moved closer to the front of the pack.
“As always, Cameron and Colin Hill did a great job with both the car setup and driver coaching, so there’s a lot for us to build upon before the next round.”
Sargent’s next race meeting will be Round 4 of the Australian Formula Ford Championship at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway, 20-22 July.
Race 1: 7th
Race 2: 7th
Race 3: 7th