If even participating in an overseas Formula Ford event was “a dream come true” then young Kiwi Leo Scott must be pinching himself after a solid showing at Island Magic on the Phillip Island circuit saw him podium twice.
Scott was immense throughout the event, growing over the weekend as he familiarised himself with the slightly more powerful 1800cc Duratec engine in a borrowed Spectrum.
In comparison, 1600cc Ford Kent engines are traditionally used in New Zealand’s Formula Ford scene.
It was clear from the outset the Kiwi would be competitive, qualifying sixth fastest in Saturday morning’s session.
In the afternoon race Scott was quick off the line and moved forward quickly. Up front, pole-sitter Matt Hillyer was quick to pull away and build a lead over front row sitter Jake Santalucia.
The battle throughout the race appeared to be for third however Santalucia quickly dropped back into that to create a five car fight for the remaining podium places, Hillyer far up the road in the seven lap thriller.
With a double slipstream from fifth off the final corner, Scott charged down the straight to finish in a three-wide photo finish for third. It was Zach Lobka who got the position, Scott missing the podium by .01 of a second to finish fifth.
Fifth was where Scott started in the first of two races on Sunday, again a solid start seeing him join a battle pack up the front. It was Hillyer who pulled away once again, Bailey Collins going with him.
Close racing was the order of the day, the Kiwi leading the charge behind the runaway leaders. Excellent defence and great awareness saw him run clean and take the first overseas podium of his career with third.
A charge forward for Scott was the narrative of the weekend, and it continued in the concluding 12-lap race. Once again Hillyer proved his class to pull away from the pack, Collins initially going with him but eventually falling back into the grasps of the pack, led by Collins, behind.
There was tight racing through the remainder of this race also, another dash for the line seeing Scott take second place over Collins by just .016 of a second. Hillyer had built a massive lead up front to take the win by some 13 seconds.
Island Magic concludes Scott’s overseas adventure and 2022 season, the 18-year-old returning back to New Zealand with his head held high to prepare for the remainder of the North Island Formula Ford season and New Zealand Championship early next year.