- Limited pre-season testing a possible problem for talented MBM driver
1 April, 2015 – Former karting champ Jack Barlow is heading into the weekend’s opening rounds of MSA Formula with fingers crossed that a lack of pre-season testing won’t blunt his undoubted pace as he bids to get his career back on track.
Nineteen-year-old Jack’s 2014 season was barely underway when he crashed his Formula Ford at Thruxton in testing and injured his back; he was forced to sit out a couple of meetings and by the time he was declared fit to race once again he felt there was little option but to declare the year a write-off. Now he’s back, but getting the sponsorship to mount his attack on the Ford-backed junior single-seater series took longer than expected.
“I would have been more than happy if we had managed to get everything sorted by the end of 2014,” said Jack, “but it wasn’t possible and now it’s a case of ‘better late than never’.” Barlow has backing from Key Motor Finance, Skinners of Rye and Keltbray, and is actively seeking further support to enable him to finish the MSA Formula season with the MBM team. “After a long lay-off it has been hard to sell myself to sponsors and I’m incredibly grateful to those who have supported me already. Hopefully we can get out there and get some half-decent results, and then we can work with that to secure further funding.”
The late start has meant that MBM and Barlow will arrive at Brands Hatch with only two full days of testing under their belts. However, they were productive and largely trouble-free days, at Silverstone and Rockingham, and they give him cause for optimism: “We ran 96 laps at Silverstone during the shakedown with no problems at all, and things went well at Rockingham last week also. The team has very little experience of the car, and while I wouldn’t exactly say I was rusty it will take me some time to get completely comfortable, so I am not going into Brands with high expectations; we will just have to hope that the car is reliable and that I can make my experience pay against the younger, less experienced guys.”
Experience is something that Hastings-based Barlow has plenty of: he made his karting debut in 2007 and won a hat-trick of karting titles in 2011: the Super 1 Junior Rotax, Rotax Cup and Kartmasters Grand Prix. In his debut season of car racing in 2013 he won two rounds of the BRDC single-seater series, and scored a podium finish on his Formula Ford debut at Brands Hatch last year.