Young-based racing driver Tom Sargent has made a triumphant return to the driver’s seat, winning all three races in the opening round of the NSW Formula Ford Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend.
The 18-year-old, who finished third in last year’s Australian Formula Ford Championship, was intending to contest another season at national level in 2020. However his plans have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the start of the national competition postponed indefinitely.
Sargent said any level of motorsport competition is a privilege in the current circumstances.
“There are a lot of people doing it really tough at the moment, so I’m very thankful to be able to go racing, even if it has taken a while to get back behind the wheel; I hadn’t raced at all since last October,” he said.
“At this early stage of my career, it’s important for me to continue learning and developing, and the best way to do that is with seat time in a race car. The NSW Formula Ford Championship is a great platform for me to continue to gain experience and fine-tune my driving technique.”
While Sargent’s results – a decisive pole position and comprehensive victories in all three races – made it look like his task was easy, he said that was far from the case.
“There are some very talented young drivers who have come into the state series this year, and we definitely had to be on our A-game,” Sargent said.
“I might have qualified on pole and won all the races, but after so long out of a race car, I had to work very hard to maintain my concentration levels and I couldn’t afford to make a single mistake.
“Fortunately, my CHE Racing Team prepared a car that was fantastic to start with and became even better as we improved it over the course of the weekend.”
With the status of the national Formula Ford class uncertain for the remainder of 2020, Sargent would like to compete in some more state events.
“There are some more state rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park and Wakefield Park, and I’d definitely like to do them as they will help keep my reflexes sharp,” he said.
The next NSW Formula Ford round is scheduled for 26-27 September at Wakefield Park.