PAUL FORD made the seven-hour journey from St Boswells in the Scottish Borders worthwhile by winning the last-ever BriSCA F1 final at Wimbledon Stadium on a eventful Sunday night – and then announced he was retiring from the sport.
The 36-year-old was one of 11 cars that lined up at the Plough Lane venue on Sunday, and despite a greasy track due to intermittent rain throughout the night, the BriSCA F1s turned out to be the talking point of the night’s racing.
Although it was expected the small field would, in effect, take part in demonstration events, the four races turned out to be anything but, as star men Todd Jones and Mick Sworder clashed swords throughout the night.
Micky Randell won the first heat, from Colin Goodswen and Jones, while Sworder retired with a flat after tangling with Ford and Mark Allen. But it was during the second heat when the sparks began to fly.
Having earlier been spun by Sworder, Jones – who handled the wet conditions better than most – exchanged hits with the former European Champion before being put into the fence into turn one.
Jones was able to catch Sworder after a yellow flag and planted the 150 car into the wires on his way to victory. Randell finished second with Sworder recovering to finish third.
Then in the final, on a very wet track, Todd unceremoniously charged Sworder into the turn one fence on the opening lap, taking both cars out of the race. Sworder suffered rear axle damage and Jones a flat tyre.
With the field down to nine cars, Ford took the lead early on after the restart and won comfortably, with Randell second and Danny Colliver third.
Jones was a non-starter in the Helter Skelter in which Randell completed a successful night with a second victory, while Ford finished fifth from the one-lap handicap.
After the last race of the night, Ford explained that work commitments were the reason he was retiring from BriSCA F1. “That was my last race,” said Ford. “That’s it now, I’m retiring.
“I’m a mechanic and I’m just too busy with work. I’ve really enjoyed it, but I can’t spend until midnight in the garage on a stock car. I’ve got a young family – I’ve got two kids – and work has to come first now.” Ford has sold his transporter but the car has yet to find a new owner.
“Winning the final at the last Wimbledon was a nice way to finish,” he said.