|Posted by Nathan Ward on June 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM||comments (1)|
"After mechanical gremlins forced retirement in the first two races, things were looking challenging for Ward but a fantastic return to form saw him take 2nd place in the Spring Bank Holiday meeting. Starting the last lap in 5th, Ward made a number of daringly audacious moves to cross the finish line in the runner up spot.
With new energy in driver and team, the scene was set for Ward to do one better at the Father’s Day meeting on Saturday 14th June. With excellent pace in testing, the pressure was on to convert this into a race result. Qualifying just 0.02 seconds off pole, it was clear that the battle for the win would be close.
A 15 lap battle for supremacy, with the lead changing faster than the commentators could speak wowed both team and spectators. After a number of nail biting position changes, the race culminated in a “do or die” lunge by Ward into the final corner on the last lap of the race. Crossing the line in the lead with a gap of just 0.5 seconds covering the top three, Ward took the win and earned the award “Driver of the Day”.
With five races remaining in the championship, can Ward continue his climb to the top of the table?"
|Posted by Nathan Ward on April 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
The first round of the Castle Combe FF1600 championship took place on 1st April 2013, which concidently was my teammate Mark De Rozarieux's birthday. To celebrate this day, EMAX team manager Glen Finn had arranged for Mark to have a lap of the circuit in the winners car after the race and I was determined to be there alongside him.
The qualifying session was a busy one with several drivers being over ten seconds off the pace. This meant that after only 2-3 laps I was having to negotiate back markers every lap. Thanks to an fast out lap I posted the third fastest time overall but the track was starting to rubber in as the session went on so I found myself as low down as tenth overall (third in class). Thankfully I was then able to find a gap and put in a fast lap right at the end of the session and pulled myself up to sixth overall (second in class, two tenths behind the class pole time).
With a tweak on the car setup and a change in tyre pressures I lined up in the formation area as the sun began to peep through the clouds. I knew that my best chance to make up places would be at the first corner so I had to get my Swift off the line as quickly as possible.
Getting a monster launch and great start I found myself right behind the leader into the first corner. I settled down into position and was holding in the front pack with the faster, more advanced class A cars.
After 15 long laps I took the chequered flag in fifth place overall but crucially first place in class and having the class fastest lap too. This meant I came away from the meeting with a maximum points haul and am now leading the class championship by a very healthy 4 points. Not only that, I acheived my objective of being able to ride in the winners car with Mark and the other class winners.
Next race, Early Summer Bank Holiday weekend where I will be looking to extend my lead in the class championship...
|Posted by Nathan Ward on March 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM||comments (0)|
Another busy test day at Castle Combe saw a dry, cold day with a good showing of pace from both EMAX cars.
Mark managed to reduce his lap time to within 0.3 of his all time personal best and after some setup changes felt much happier with the balance of the car. I was happy with the setup and was running qualifying simulation sessions for most of the day.
Both cars now ready for the first race on Monday. Come back soon for full report...
|Posted by Nathan Ward on March 24, 2013 at 9:15 AM||comments (1)|
A great first test at Castle Combe saw the two EMAX Swift SC95 cars together for the first time. Attracting attention before they even hit the track it is clear that the new livery is a going to be a fans favourite for the season.
The day started dry but only for one session until the heavens opened. The track was wet or greasy for the rest of the day so it was impossible to compare the track to previous sessions but the car felt good in dry, damp and full wet trim.
Next test day will be on Thursday 28th March before the first round of the championship on Easter Monday. Contact me if you are interested in attending and make sure you come back for the blog updates next week.
|Posted by Nathan Ward on March 14, 2013 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Golden Bull Racing are returning to the track in 2013 with eyes set firmly on the Castle Combe FF1600 championship. I will be competing in the Castle Combe championship, several rounds of the Champion of Brands series and other select meetings throughout the year.
I will be returning to the track in the Swift SC95 which saw me to many class wins and back to back class vice champion positions in 2010 and 2011. This year I am looking to go one better and win the fierecely fought after class B championship.
The car has undergone a full rebuild over the winter months and I am confident that the team will start as we mean to go on. I will be joining the EMAX Motorsport team and running one of two SC95 cars looked after by the team.
Special thanks must go to Mark DeRozarieux, without whom I would not be making it back on track this year. His endless enthusiasm and uncanny ability to obtain sponsorship is to be admired and respected. I look forward to working with him throughout the year in helping him develop himself and his car. His son Sam will be starting his own racing career this year and I am certain that it will not be long before Mark's seat in the Formula Ford is looking very tempting...
Although Golden Bull Racing will be running out of the EMAX awning this year, I will be returning to my "crew chief" from my karting days as Carl Ward (aka Dad) will be taking control of paddock and pit lane duties. I am hoping this close relationship will prove invaluable as we both learn together and experience new circuits and racing clubs.
This new website layout is courtesy of Lucy Smith and I think it looks much better than the layout which I threw together for last year. A big thank you to her for being patient with me and spending her time perfecting it.
Not a lot is left to be said apart from that I am really looking forward to this season and think it has the possibility to be the most enjoyable and successful year yet. I hope to see many of you throughout the year and please contact me if you want extra information about attending any of the events.
The new 2013 livery is still a very well kept secret but come back soon to see photos from the offical launch event at the end of the month.
"GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES..."
|Posted by Nathan Ward on February 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
Full details to be revealed shortly...
|Posted by Nathan Ward on November 11, 2010 at 3:20 PM||comments (0)|
My final event of the 2010 season was at Silverstone, competing in the Walter Hayes Trophy. This is the largest single class race event in the world, attracting over 120 of the finest Formula Ford drivers. With drivers from the USA, the Netherlands and all over the UK, this is the most competitive FF1600 event of the year.
A dry test day on Thursday and a wet session on Friday gave chance to develop setup so that we were ready for anything during racing at the weekend.
I was drawn in the fourth heat with some of the top drivers in the competition including a double winner of the Walter Hayes Trophy event, a former Castle Combe Club Champion and a National Formula Ford driver.
I qualified 5th on the grid for my heat and after a very uneventful 8 lap heat, I crossed the lin 5th. This meant I progressed straight into the semi-final without the need to enter any progression races. I started the semi-final in 13th and had a tough race before bringing the car home in 10th place.
This was enough to qualify 20th in the Grand Final, an honour which eluded me last year. The final was the first session where I started against the pit wall and at the start I was squeezed hard against the wall but managed to battle hard and after 15 frantic laps I finished 18th.
Considering the closeness of the competition and the profile of some drivers in the final, I was very happy to have finished in the top 20.
I have throughly enjoyed myself this year and the results reflect the hard work put in by everybody at Golden Bull Racing and Swift Cooper.
Plans for 2011 are still being negotiated, but all signs are pointing to another exciting and successful year.
|Posted by Nathan Ward on October 4, 2010 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
The final round of the Castle Combe FF1600 championship started early on a very wet Saturday morning. Being the second session on track there was a very slight drying line forming but this also meant that overtaking during qualifying was going to be very difficult. I managed to get towards the front of the queue in the assembly area, meaning that I would have a lap or two free from traffic at the start of the session.
After waiting for the fog to lift and visibility to improve we were released onto the circuit. I quickly adapted to the ever changing conditions and started pushing hard, trying to find the limit. On lap 7, whilst down in 12th position I came into Camp corner too fast and ran out of track on the exit. The back end of the car broke away and quickly put me into a 360° spin. I crossed the start/finish timing strip backwards and set a time which moved me up to 8th position!
With the rain stopped and the track drying all the time it was clear that the fastest times would come on the last lap and I managed to post a fast final lap which promoted me to 5th position overall (3rd in class).
The weather stayed dry but cool for the rest of the day so although the track was fully dry in time for the race, there was very little rubber down on the circuit when we took to the grid for the main event.
After a speedy rolling up lap, I took my place on the inside of the circuit and waited for the lights. After what seemed like an eternity, the lights went out and I was able to get a very good start. I managed to secure the inside line for the first corner at Quarry and maintain position through the first lap.
On the run up to Quarry at the start of the second lap is when all the action started. A huge accident between the cars in second and third place meant that the whole field had to take evasive action. Although I managed to avoid the accident and the other cars I was unable to manoeuvre around a loose suspension arm. I hit the wishbone at high speed and it bent my nose box in and then flew up and over the cockpit. No time for worry though as the race was still on.
However the race officials decided that the cars were in a dangerous place and so the safety car was deployed for 4 laps. Once the drivers were assessed by the medical crew and the cars were recovered to safety we could continue.
The restart was action packed as yet again the pack was tightly bunched. I lost one position on the run up to the first corner but I was now aware that I was the leader of class B and the passing driver was not in my class. I settled in 5th place and was battling hard with another car for the remainder of the race. We were trading positions every lap but I was able to hold on to the chequered flag.
Fifth place overall and first in class was enough to earn my first ride on the winners car. After a brisk drive around the circuit to wave to the fans, I was interviewed and asked to pose for a photograph on the podium.
This was by far the best day of car racing that I have ever had and I would like to thank everybody who has made this possible. My parents and family who have enabled me to race over the years, Gary Cann and all at Swift Cooper who have made this year possible and everybody who has supported me throughout my racing.
I am now looking forward to the final event of the year: The Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone. This is the largest and most competitive Formula Ford event in the world and I am now entering for the second year, having missed out on a place in the Grand Final by only 1 point last year.
If anybody is interested in attending this event at the home of British motorsport then please contact me and I can arrange for passes and more information.
|Posted by Nathan Ward on September 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
After a very promising pre race test day, I was hoping for a wet race day. The wet test day had given plenty of time to find a perfect set up for both full wet and drying conditions. However, once again the weather system which exists solely over Castle Combe decided to change its mind and the race day was to be fully dry.
The Formula Fords were on track for qualifying at 9.05, meaning that the track was still not up to its maximum grip level. I was able to start the session from near the front of the pack and was intending to set a couple of fast laps before getting stuck in backmarkers. This proved to be a very beneficial plan as after two laps the safety car was deployed whilst an accident was attended to. At this point I was on the front row of the grid overall and in provisional class pole. Unfortunately, the ever efficient Castle Combe marshals were able to clear the stricken car in under 3 laps and the session continued. I struggled with traffic for the remainder of the session and eventually settled for 6th position overall.
Being the first race of the afternoon, we were given the opportunity to take part in a grid walkabout during the lunch break. So after a quick debriefing following qualifying I broke out the polish cloth and set to work.
I wouldn’t like to say “best looking car on the grid” but when numerous other people make the comment for me, I am not going to disagree. With the crowds surrounding my immaculately prepared Swift SC95 I was left to talk to supporters and was even interviewed by the race club commentator.
Anyway, back to business. The spectators were asked to leave the circuit and the grid was very soon back to normal. The rolling up lap seemed to take forever as the snake of cars wriggled its way around the circuit. With all cars on the grid, the red lights illuminated and extinguished with all cars making a good getaway. A combination of a good start and a brave move around the outside of the first corner saw me move into 4th position and then join a race long battle with two fellow class B drivers. The top 5 then made a commanding lead and it looked like the race was sewn up. An accident on lap 6 meant that once again the safety car was scrambled and the whole field bunched up yet again. At the restart, the car in front of me was slow to get away which left me vulnerable on both sides to a gaggle of cars. I was able to fend of the majority of them but in the process one had come through. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to retake the position and eventually crossed the finish line in 5th position.
This was another fantastic overall result which has moved me up to 5th place overall in the championship. With only one round remaining, this looks like being a very closely fought championship
“Just behind Allen was Coventry University student, Nathan Ward putting in another good performance in his GoldenBullRacing.co.uk Swift SC95. Ward is definitely one to watch at Combe in 2011 if his performances continue on this upward spiral.”
Castle Combe Race Report
|Posted by Nathan Ward on August 4, 2010 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Little did I know when lining up in the formation area at Castle Combe, that I was about to experience the most action packed qualifying session of my life. Starting second and with a clear track ahead of me I was able to get up to speed quickly and start banging in consistent, fast lap times. This was just as well because from lap 3 onwards there were yellow flags for a car stranded at Quarry, then oil went down on lap 4, then there was a car parked on the exit kerb so double waved yellows were deployed followed by the safety car and finally a red flag on lap 7.
With all the excitement and back markers at every corner, I was not surprised that my fastest lap was only my second lap on the circuit. I managed to qualify 7th overall and a fantastic 2nd in class.
The atmosphere at the circuit was fantastic as Castle Combe was celebrating its 60th year as one of the UK’s foremost racing venues. With a party in the evening it was clear to see how many people appreciate the great work done by the owners and organisers of this fantastic race club.
The race on Sunday was just as exciting. After a blistering start I was forced to take to the grass as the car I was alongside was not keen to let me past, but this only cost me one position. After pushing too hard on cold tyres and running wide coming out of the final corner on the last lap, I was pipped to the first corner by the two cars following me, pushing me back to 10th position and 4th in class. I was able to hold on to the back of the lead pack and after an accident called for the safety car to be deployed I was given a brief moment to rethink my strategy for the rest of the race.
At the restart I was able to time my start beautifully and was up to 7th by the first corner and closing in fast on 6th. If I could make the pass and get to 6th position then I knew I would finish 3rd in class and retain my 2nd position in the class championship.
On the final corner of the restarted lap I put my car to the inside and waited for the other driver to brake. I was able to slip through and then set about closing the gap to the drivers in front.
I quickly caught up and was looking for a way past, but was very aware that I cannot afford a DNF at this stage of the championship, so I settled down and was happy to see the chequered flag.