Andrew Rackstraw was one of 6 South African drivers to compete in the 2022 Walter Hayes Trophy that took place this past weekend at the world famous Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.
This popular event takes place once a year at the home of motor racing and is one of the biggest single-seater race meetings to happen in the World. With over 140 entries it is highly competitive and attracts top talents from all over corners of the globe.
In preparation for the Trophy, Andrew took part in 2 of the BRSCC Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship rounds. If you recall he represented well in both events and made a name for himself at Knockhill and Snetterton.
The Kevin Mills Racing team were happy to have him back in the seat of one of their Spectrum Formula Fords and were delighted at the prospect of working with a driver that is currently making a real name for himself on the International scene.
ON IT FROM THE GET GO
The weekend kicked off well for the young South African who showed a good turn of pace in the dry and wet conditions. He quickly showed his intentions and even managed to top the timesheets in one of the practice sessions, it was game on!
Heading into the serious stages next, the drivers were split into 4 different groups in which they would race. Rackstraw managed to put himself on the front row of the grid with a fantastic P2 in his group. A great start to the weekend and just what he needed as only the top 14 would progress to the next round being the semi-final.
Off the start, he got a great launch and by turn 1 found himself in a fight for the lead. It was going well until it wasn’t. Contact was made and it sent Rackstraw hurdling backwards down to P15. With 8 laps left he really had to hustle to get back into the qualifying positions. Full of determination, he drove the race of his life! He managed to fight all the way back to P4 showing the skill and speed he possessed with the car.
“We showed some real potential and I was happy with my pace in the variable conditions. My qualifying pace showed we had the car to fight right at the front, but we got unlucky with the contact going into turn 1. I knew I was immediately out of the qualifying positions so I drove the wheels off the car to regain those positions. Before I knew it the checkered flag was out and we were fortunate enough to fight back to P4.”
ROTTEN SEMI FINAL LUCK
Going into the Semi Final the nerves were real. It was all on the line for the young South African, who had been dreaming about this event all year long. Starting in P7, he once again got away well and quickly worked his way up to third. From there he started to hunt down the top 2. Just as he was about to launch his attack for the lead, a car from behind torpedoed itself into his car. The contact was brutal and ended up causing a suspension to failure. That was it, a retirement in the semi-final, and the dream of winning the Walter Hayes Trophy all but gone.
Reflecting on Rackstraw’s weekend, Ian Schofield from Investchem Chemical Logistics said, “He drove extremely well and was quick in both the dry and wet conditions. He carried that pace through testing and into the races as well. He was very unlucky to get collected in the Semi Final race.”
It definitely was a tough pill to swallow for the young man but more importantly, he learnt a lot and the experience was one filled with many happy memories. The team really loved working with Andrew and the Team boss of Kevin Mills Racing had the following to say, “Andrew, as expected, was immediately on the pace in testing in both wet and dry conditions. On top of this, he was also a key part of the car setup for the team. It was very unfortunate to be crashed into in the Semi Final as I believe he would have easily finished on the podium in the Grand Final.”
A BRIGHT FUTURE AWAITS
Andrew clearly leaves his mark wherever he goes and the future truly does look bright for this young man.
“Thanks to Kevin Mills and Ian Schofield for making this all possible and to South African single-seater legend Jayde Kruger for all his help and advice. I am also extremely grateful to my sponsors Sparco, Ravenol, RaceDriverSA and TheSimGrid for their continued support. We will come back stronger next year!
Lastly, I want to thank my supportive family and my racing coach Claudio Piazza Musso for all that they do for me as I continue this racing journey.” – ANDREW RACKSTRAW
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