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Never say 'Never'

It was nearly two years ago that I drove a Formula Ford for the first time - rented the FF from Jens at Hammerhead Racing. It was the first 100 degree day in May 2015. As I suited up for the first time in all the glory of the fire suit, ear plugs, head sock, helmet, gloves…and got strapped into the car, I thought to myself: “Anyone who does this must be nuts!” It wasn’t enough that I was feeling claustrophobic and already melting from the heat (hadn’t even started the car yet), but my forearms were strapped down too. What? Lord help me!
Drove the usual four sessions that day and each one felt better than the last. By the fourth session I had gained some confidence, since I had yet to spin the car. I decided to pick up the pace and try to follow the other drivers to see the lines they were taking. That lasted all of 3 corners and then I was slapped. The back end decided to catch up with the front end. I know that surprises anyone reading this. After the enormous dust cloud settled on me and the car and I could see the track again I restarted the car and finished the remaining laps of the session. As the day concluded and I left the track I said to myself: “Check that off my bucket list.”
I had “Never” intended to buy a Formula Ford. Yet something kept drawing me out to the track to watch them. I was obviously hooked and just needed to admit it to myself. About a year into this incurable infatuation the perfect car came up for sale (thank you Ken) and it became a ‘now or never’ moment. I bought the car and the rest is well… the most incredible experience I have ever had in my life. I’m talking about the racing, as well as the people who are part of this Euro Formula Ford group. Everyone has been more than helpful, always willing to provide coaching and tips, and I appreciate and value all of it.
I’ve been racing for just over a year now and have experienced several different tracks, including my favorite so far, the hillside Sonoma Raceway in California. Thank you, Sean Guthrie, for suggesting we attend that event. The experience at the track kept replaying in my mind for weeks after the event. Being a former women’s professional motocrosser, Sonoma reminded me of California’s old Carlsbad MX track. Steep uphill, long downhill, off camber and carousel turns, high speed straights and Esses, and the paperclip turn. It was so much fun! I was also able to attend the Coronado Speed Fest at the North Island Naval Base. I wouldn’t have thought that a totally flat / makeshift track on a Naval Base runway and taxiway would be much fun, but then throw in a high speed straight that ends with a wide fast sweeping turn 1, and a dual tire wall chicane on the backside of the track, along with grandstands full of spectators. What a blast. It’s another must do event.  Back in Phoenix I finally experienced the West track at Wild Horse. To my surprise the little 1mi track is technical and a great place to work on corning and downshifting. After ending up with a swollen/bruised index finger knuckle at Wild Horse we figured out that part of the reason I frequently miss shifts down to 1st was because my knuckle was hitting the cockpit fire extinguisher nozzle. Funny how you don’t notice the pain on the track, and then you wonder what happed to your finger. A small nozzle adjustment was made (thank you Eric) and the shifts are getting better now.
Well, that’s about it for my 2016 rookie year and I’m now looking forward to the SVRA 2017 Midwest summer series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It’s sure to be another incredible experience and year.
Thank you, Jens, for making all this possible.  Lori M.

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