Here’s one out of the box, dear reader. If you have a look at the comments to this post you’ll notice a reference to a nephew who did well in the weekends Formula Ford round at Queensland Raceway.
It transpires that said comment came from the Aunt (Sorry Ann Maree…..I presumed you were an Uncle for some silly reason) of Ashley Walsh, a CAMS ’Rising Star’ team member. I remember watching Ashley yesterday and can confirm that he is an exciting driver to watch, and clearly one who thinks about his motorsport, as opposed to simply getting out there & doing it. A 1.6 litre open-wheeled Formula Ford can’t be an easy beast to handle on skinny scrubbed-out tyres at 250 klicks, yet Ashley seemed to do remarkably well.
I have to admit that interest in any category of motorsport is greatly enhanced when you know someone racing in it. My interest was piqued once I realised just who AJ was referring to, so I went researching. Turns out that Ashley Walsh is nine months older than my own Ashley, being born at the front end of 1988 while my boy was born in October. Now I really was interested. Same name, same age. This kid……..Greg & Kath Walsh’s, not mine……..is quite something. Do take a gander at his career history thus far. It’s really quite outstanding for one so young in motorsport terms. Sure, he has a lot to learn, but if he’s ’thinking’ about his racing at this early stage, and I believe he is, then the sky is really the limit for him. Just keep your head, Ash. Ego may not be a dirty word, but it can be a real drawback if you let it be.
The following is a copy of the press release following the weekend’s successes:
ASHLEY Walsh led every lap bar one in Round 5 of the Australian Formula Ford Championship at Queensland Raceway last weekend.
The CAMS Rising Star driver has won the past six-straight championship races, and has moved from third to second place in the series, just 33 points behind leader Tim Blanchard.
After a frustrating start to the season, Walsh has executed his fight back to perfection and is now within striking distance of the championship lead.
At Queensland Raceway (his home track), the Ipswich driver qualified third behind Glen Wood and team-mate Joshua Scott. It was a disappointing session for Walsh, who had dominated the practice sessions.
At the start of Race 1, Scott and Walsh both passed Wood immediately. Scott could only hold out Walsh for the first lap, and he went on to start the demolition of his competitors.
Walsh was not touched throughout every lap, crushing the field in both Races 2 and 3. Walsh finished ahead of Scott and his other Rising Star team-mate Kristian Lindbom, giving the Borland Racing Developments team a complete podium clean sweep.
The next round of the championship is at Sandown International Raceway, September 14-16. After that race meeting, Walsh will head to the UK with the assistance of the Australian Motorsport Foundation to compete in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
Ash on his dominating Spectrum 011 chassis;
"The car is bloody awesome. Borland is on top of it at the moment. Once I got in the lead, I didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I just concentrated on building a gap and it worked out great. Any track we put this car on, it’s fast. We haven’t changed a thing since Adelaide. We did a lot of hard work at the start of the year and now we are getting the reward. The car is actually a lot different to the way they had it last year, but once we’ve found that sweet spot, we haven’t changed it."
Ash on hometrack advantage;
"If you haven’t been to the track, and if you’re a decent driver, it shouldn’t take long to learn a track. At this level, I don’t think there is such a thing as hometrack advantage. Obviously having experience helps, but if you not able to pick up the basics in the first few laps, then you’re not really there."
Ash on Queensland Raceway qualifying;
"In qualifying, I had a good session, but I didn’t get a tow and that’s why I couldn’t challenge for the pole. The other boys out there did have help, and they went faster. By the time I was in a position to do it, my tyres had gone off. At least I’ve learned something for the future. At Sandown, I’ll make sure I do get a tow."
Ash on the championship;
"I’m not really worried about the championship at this stage. I just want to concentrate on what I’m doing. The last two rounds I’ve just concentrated on what I’m doing and it all came together."
My sincere thanks to the Walsh’s for introducing me to their son and nephew. I’ll be following his career now for certain. All the best in your next round, Ash. Sandown will be an awesome place to race a Formula Ford.