Louise Richardson enjoyed a stunning weekend on track in the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, securing her best result to date in the series and a maiden Scholarship Class victory at Rockingham.
The Castle Bytham single-seater racer headed into the eighth event of the season on the back of a strong showing in the previous meeting at Knockhill, and was on the pace from the moment the field hit the track for Friday testing at the Northamptonshire circuit.
With brother Andrew also taking part in the testing sessions in the Richardson Racing team’s second Ford EcoBoost-powered Mygale, Louise was able to benefit from the chance to work alongside a team-mate for the first time since the season opener at Brands Hatch, with the team also making the most of the additional information it was able to collect in the Friday sessions.
Having switched to a new car for the race weekend, an impressive performance in qualifying saw Louise post the seventh quickest time, with her best lap being barely a second away from pole position.
She followed that up with a solid run through the opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, taking the chequered flag in sixth place overall and third amongst the Scholarship Class drivers.
The second race of the weekend on Sunday morning saw Louise go one better after she came out on top of a late race battle with James Abbott to take fifth place overall, and third amongst the Scholarship drivers; but it was to be in the final race where she would really shine.
From sixth on the grid, Louise jumped ahead of Michael O’Brien off the line and then made a fine move on Ricky Collard to take fourth before the end of the opening lap.
Holding the Scholarship Class lead, Louise produced her most impressive drive of the season to keep Collard at bay until he was forced out with a mechanical issue late on, allowing her to relax in the closing laps as she secured her maiden class victory and her best overall result to date.
Louise said she was very pleased with the way the weekend had gone: “I know there is still work to do as it wasn’t perfect and I made a few mistakes, but to come away from the weekend with my first Scholarship Class win and my best result so far is fantastic.
“It was really helpful this weekend that Andy was out in testing on Friday as it allowed us to look at a few things and gave me the chance to see where I could improve and what I could do differently.
“The first two races went well and it felt great in the final race to be in a proper battle on track with someone. I knew our car was strong on the oval and through the first part of the lap but I could see Ricky coming back at me on the infield and there was no time to relax until he had his problem.
“This weekend has been another huge boost for me and Silverstone is a circuit I know well, so I hope we can build on this when we head there for the next round.”
l As well as enjoying success with Louise, the Rockingham weekend also saw the Richardson Racing team make a return to the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup with a single car entry for Giles Dawson.
Qualifying his Ginetta G55 in 13th place for the opening race, Giles stayed out of trouble to take 11th spot and then repeated the feat in race two despite an early spin that dropped him to the very back of the field.