Andy Richardson, who races in the MSA Formula Ford Championship in the UK and is one of Millers Oils “Rising Stars” for 2013, produced an astonishing performance in only the third single-seater outing of his career to secure a brace of podium finishes in the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain at Thruxton.
The South Lincolnshire-based 21-year-old went into the weekend on the back foot having missed the pre-event test at the Hampshire circuit, meaning his first taste of the fastest venue on the calendar at the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered Mygale came in qualifying.
In damp conditions after morning rain, Andy produced a stunning performance in qualifying to secure third place on the grid for race one, with his second and third best times being good enough to earn him seventh and sixth on the grid for races two and three.
A fine start to the opening race saw Andy move up to second spot off the line, putting championship leader Dan Cammish under real pressure throughout the opening lap. Although he lost a spot to Lassi Halminen on lap four, Andy reclaimed the position five laps later and then saw off the challenge of Harrison Scott to clinch second place.
Not only did that give Andy his maiden Formula Ford podium, it also saw him clinch victory in the Scholarship class.
From seventh on the grid in race two, Andy found himself embroiled in a heated battle for the podium places before he was forced to run off-track avoiding the spinning car of Sam Brabham – grandson of F1 legend Sir Jack Brabham – on lap seven.
The resultant trip across the grass saw Andy forced into the pits to have grass removed from the radiator and meant he dropped off the lead lap, resulting in an eleventh place finish despite him showing pace comparable to the top three.
Race three gave Andy the chance to once again showcase his talents, with a storming opening lap seeing him jump up from sixth to third. Putting pressure on Juan Rosso for second, Andy moved ahead with a stunning move around the outside of the flat-out left-hander at Noble on lap five.
Despite the best efforts of his rival to reclaim the position, Andy retained second spot until the final lap when fuel surge hampered him through the fast corners and gave Rosso the opportunity to steal the position back.
However, third place – and a second Scholarship class win – capped a fine end to a weekend where the Richardson Racing team showed itself to be a contender for top honours in the series despite its relative lack of experience compared to the rest of the field.
Andy now sits ninth in the championship standings, but is just 17 points away from a place inside the top six ahead of the next round of the season at Oulton Park next month.
“Going into the weekend, I hoped we’d be able to battle with the midfield but we didn’t expect to jump ahead of them and challenge for the podium,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work to improve the car again since Donington and changed a lot of things, so it’s difficult to pinpoint one thing that made the difference; everything just came together. The car was great, and to come away from the weekend with two podiums and two Scholarship wins is just brilliant.
“We know we can still improve and go quicker, which we need to do to take the next step forward and challenge Cammish for victories. We have some development work to do on the car and we really need to find some additional budget to allow us to go out and do some testing before Oulton Park.
“This weekend has been a huge boost for me and the team as I’ve not had a good start to the season in recent years and have come on stronger as the year has gone on. To be in this position so early in the year gives me confidence that we can really push on and challenge at the front for the rest of the season.”