After a huge testing accident curtailed his entire 2014 season, Jack Barlow made a successful return to top flight competition.
The Pett-based driver bravely climbed back into the cockpit of a racing car at Brands Hatch and proved he had lost none of the skills that made him a fans’ favourite.
Almost a year to the day since he rolled his Formula Ford single-seater at Thruxton in Hampshire, the brave 19-year-old’s dogged determination earned him a top three finish in a national championship.
Having signed a last-minute deal with new squad MBM to contest the inaugural MSA Formula series, Barlow went into the championship’s opening weekend at the former Grand Prix circuit with precious few practice laps under his belt. Nonetheless - and despite some teething issues with his freshly-built car - he posted the seventh fastest time in qualifying.
Heartbreak was to follow in the very first race of the new championship, however, when Barlow was forced out with bent steering following a start line melee.
His DNF (did not finish) put him at the rear of the field for the following race and it was in this encounter that Barlow was able to demonstrate his flair. From 19th position at the start, he carved his way up the order to take the chequered flag in a fine seventh place.
I was confident that I had strong pace, but started to make a series of mistakes at the halfway mark. I was over-driving, but found my rhythm towards the end and started to catch the trio ahead.Jack Barlow
Buoyed by his performance, Barlow went into the weekend’s third race with the added bonus of starting from P6 on the grid. A terrific getaway from the line saw the former karting multiple-champion pass two cars to take fourth place.
That was where he stayed for the remainder of the race, but long after the prizes had been handed out, he was boosted to third - albeit provisionally - after race winner Lando Norris was excluded from the result for ignoring the officials’ flag signals following an accident. Norris has lodged an appeal, which will be considered at the next round, to be held at Donington Park this weekend.
“The news came as a real shock and I do feel sorry for Lando, but I’ll happily take third,” said Barlow, who lies sixth overall in the championship with a further 27 races to go until the season finale, back at Brands Hatch, on October 10-11.
“I was confident that I had strong pace, but started to make a series of mistakes at the halfway mark. I was over-driving, but found my rhythm towards the end and started to catch the trio ahead.