Barrie, ON (November 7, 2013)- In only its third year, the Team Canada Scholarship has certainly come a long way. For the first time, two young Canadian talents made the trip overseas to represent Team Canada. Scott Hargrove from Surrey, BC and Zacharie Robichon of Ottawa ON both made very good impressions and represented Team Canada superbly.
Several new experiences such as standing starts, the art of defending, new tires, and short extremely intense races were all new to the duo.
After three days of testing and experiencing all types of weather, the pair went into qualifying confident as they both were among the top five during the pre-event testing. When qualifying was done it was Robichon who led the way with a fantastic third place effort, and not just .05 of a second back was Hargrove taking the fourth spot on the grid for heat Race 1.
With a talent stacked field, some locals called the toughest grouping in 20 years, the pair were faced with a making their first ever standing start and in the rain! Too much wheelspin dropped Robichon to fifth before they made it to corner one while Hargrove made a great getaway and rushed to thirrd. Hargrove pushed hard and set fastest laps during the opening laps and clawed his way to second and set chase to the man considered the overall favourite, Scotsman Joey Foster.
He closed the gap but while pushing for every tenth he could, he ran wide at Paddock Hill and surfed through the gravel, but kept momentum and rejoined in fifth. He would close up to fourth but time would run out and fifth would end
up being his result despite the wild off-roading adventure.
Robichon wasted little time recovering from his slow start and fought back to fourth and then was embroiled in a terrific scrap for the final podium spot. He managed to get alongside his opponent several times as he was getting a first class lesson in defending from former Festival winner Noel Dunne of Ireland. In the end he decided to not risk it all and chance an off, and he crossed the line less than a tenth of a second from the podium in fourth.
Sunday dawned and the semi-final grids came out and with the re-shuffling Hargrove would contest semi number one from the fifth spot, while Robichon would line up fourth for semi number two.
Hargrove was again quick off the line and settled into a battle for a podium finish. After 15 laps of intense competition he brought home his Team Canada entry in fourth. This meant a direct pass to the final and a fourth row starting spot. A little disappointed after the race, but still learning the aggressive tactics and defending that would draw penalties at home, Hargrove was upbeat and eager to get to the final.
Heat two started and Robichon was quick off the line and immediately was on the attack. He was once again
fighting with Dunne and was alongside the Irishman leaving Druids where he was squeezed hard to the track limits. As the pair entered Graham Hill Bend (we really loved the named corners!), Robichon was on the inside and made the pass, as he slid from the slightly damp section to the exit curbing he struggled for grip and when he got to the end of the curbing trying to bring the car back on to the track he was launched over a hidden bump. The car bounced and the impact broke a rear pushrod rod end. While he tried to keep control of his Cliff Dempsey Racing prepared Ray GR08 car, he lost it as it suddenly turned right as a result of the broken part and impacted the barriers.
Uninjured, but deeply disappointed, he safely got behind the barriers and as quick as that, his day was over. The disappointing part was that his combatant for the two races, then went on to win the semi and then lead the first half
of the final!
The final was a fierce battle from green to checkered.
Interrupted by a full course yellow for two laps after a first lap incident at the bottom of Paddock, the remaining 17 laps provided some of the best F1600 racing the festival has seen in many years.
Hargrove made a great start and as they entered Druids he bravely went around the outside picking up four spots, he would then give one back in Clearways to Foster and settle in for a close fight with the Scotsman that was intense with the pair touching several times. Hargrove finally made the move to the inside to Paddock just as Foster tried to cover him off, a wild slide but superbly controlled by the young Canadian and he was through and set off after the top three who had built a small gap.
In two laps, where he set the fastest lap to that point, he caught the leading trio and it was suddenly a four car fight for the win. That became a five car fight as American Jake Edison joined in on the tail of Hargrove. The final two laps saw the group enter Druids two by two as they all gave it everything to wrestle a position from their competitors.
The checkered flag flew with Irishman Niall Murray taking the win, Wayne Boyd, second and Oliver White third with Hargrove missing the podium by less than two tenths of a second in fourth. Edison rounded out the Top 5 to give Cliff Dempsey racing two cars in the top five.
Scott Hargrove stated, “Being a representative for the Team Canada Scholarship has been a huge honor for me. Traveling to England, spending time with Cliff Dempsey Racing, competing in some of the most competitive racing around, and representing Canada on an international stage are what make this scholarship such a great learning experience while having a ton of fun at the same time. I was pleased to be competitive up front the whole weekend at Brands Hatch considering the small amount of time I have in a 1600 car. In the final I managed to finish fourth after a huge race long battle containing very close and hard fought racing. Thank you so much to the supporters for the Team Canada Scholarship, Brian Graham, and Cliff Dempsey Racing for making this possible. I can’t wait to watch this program continue to grow and I wish them the best of success in years to come!”
Zacharie Robichon reported, “I had a fantastic trip. Thanks to the Team Canada Scholarship and all of its partners, I was able to race at one of the most prestigious Formula Ford races in the world. Even if the results didn’t end up how we wanted it too I learned a tremendous amount while I was there and going forward in my career these are experiences that will prove to be invaluable. Thanks to everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing who provided me with a fantastic car all week long, and also to Brian Graham and everyone from the Team Canada program for putting it all together!”
Brian Graham commented, “What a week, the pairing of Scott and Zach couldn’t have worked better. They are both to be commended for their hard work during their respective seasons that ultimately earned them the spot on Team Canada and the continuation of that during the Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival. They represented the Scholarship extremely well and showed the level of young drivers we have here in Canada. Their appearance at the Kentagon
during the forum with track announcer Brian Jones was fun to watch and their visit to the commentators booth to review their heats showed they are both skilled not only on track but off track as well. ‘
“We are very proud of both of them and look forward to what the future brings their way. Kelly and I enjoyed working with Scott and Zach and I really need to thank Kelly for the great work keeping the Facebook followers up to date. To our supporters, a huge thank you for the continued support that allows us to showcase our future Canadian stars at an international event. To Cliff and Michelle Dempsey, thank you again for providing us with everything we need to succeed and welcoming us all into the Cliff Dempsey Racing family. “
The Team Canada Scholarship exists with the support of our supporters, first our corporate supporters, The Race Drivers Guild of Canada, Aim Autosport, and K-Line Insulators are integral to our success. The support of Door Doctor, Franczak Enterprises LTD (FEL), Analytic Systems, Multimatic Engineering, Formula Tour 1600, The Ontario Toyo
Tires F1600 Championship, Lew Mackenzie, Bamfords Produce, Rod End Mechanical, Calabogie Motorsports Park, The Leda Krikorian Foundation, Bollenbach Insurance, Hallman Construction, BARC-OC, and RMB Inc are all part of our success. A special thank you to Paragon Competition for providing the drivers suits that made our boys the best looking duo in the paddock and TNT Promotions for the proudly worn Team Canada swag.
The work begins now for 2014. As the program grows the expense also grows and our supporters can look forward to new programs to raise the awareness of the Team Canada Scholarship.
“We have several new ideas for the future and encourage people to stay in touch as we work towards the 2014 Team Canada Scholarship.” Brian Graham comments in closing.
From: Brian Graham/ Team Canada Scholarship