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On Thursday we hit the road at 6 o’clock, to head our way to Pukekohe, for my biggest race meeting ever! During the trip, we stopped for the lunch of champions… Oor tradies. Consisting of a pie and some choccy milk! We continued our journey up to Pukekohe, as we arrived my first impressions were how well they had turned the track around for the meeting, the track had a complete transformation and looked immaculate! 


On Friday we were testing, in the first test session I set the 5th fastest time, however, the session was interrupted by a red flag. That seemed to be a recurring theme over the course of the weekend… Due to some engine issues, we missed the second practice session, and we decided not to rush getting the car on track, and fix it properly. 

My highlight of the weekend came today too, with a meet and greet session held by NAPA, I had the opportunity to meet Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison. It didn’t stop there though, as I was selected to do an interview and a podcast (my first of either!) then signed some autographs (again, first ever!)


Saturday rolled around and we were out for an odd qualifying, being interrupted with… A red flag. This came just one lap after I got my best lap in, which suited me well as after we came out of the pits to continue the session, the rain came down lightly, but just enough to prevent anyone from improving their times. I fell victim to this rain as I exited turn 1 with a slide, entered 2-3 just off and ended up looping it and hitting the tires very lightly. Thankfully I managed to get the car going again, and came into the pits at the end of the session to find out that I had qualified 3rd!


In race one, I had lined up in the 3rd spot on the grid and had a battle with Leo around turn 1, before out braking him into turns 2-3. Just one corner later and the safety car came out as a historic stalled on the grid, round and round we went, then the safety car came in and we were racing! First time past the strip I dropped down to 4th after Leo got a cutback on me after hanging it around the outside coming out of the hairpin.

The next time around the hairpin wasn’t so pretty, however, as someone made a divebomb and ran me out of room on the exit, pushing me back to 9th. After battling and trying to make my way through the pack I finished in 9th, however as the driver that took me off got a penalty I secured 8th and took the points home.

After the race, we had to do a wheel alignment, to be ready for the race tomorrow


In race two, I was starting in 5th, as some drivers had improved their times from the previous race, as we were running scratch format, meaning the fastest time of the whole meeting started at the front. I had a good launch and made my way into 4th super quickly, yet this time I got pushed off at the chicane, dropping to 7th, making my way into the chicane just one lap later I drafted down the length of the straight, and made a move around the outside. Until the end of the race, I sat at the back of the pack, in 6th, before a red flag came out ending the race early. Due to penalties to the front 2 drivers, I got pushed up the grid to finish 4th.


Race three was not a fun one. I had an ok start, staying in 4th, where I began the race. 

After a lap, the safety car came out due to an incident at the hairpin involving 3 cars. As the race restarted I was caught sleeping and fell back to 5th, I missed a gear coming out of the hairpin, while racing side by side for 3 corners, for 4th, a lap later and fell to 6th. Now, the part I described as not so fun, I was running in 6th and the lead car snapped a throttle cable into turn 4 and got spun by the car in 2nd, I had nowhere to go and hit them after locking the rears and half spinning. With minor damage that could be fixed in around an hour, I sat on the track for 7 seconds before… BOOM! Another car came flying in and took off the right side of the car, causing ridiculous amounts of damage.


For the round, I finished in 3rd and got some good TV time and overall had a great experience, at such an awesome event!

NIFF Round 2 Blake Dowdall leading a pack at Pukekohe Formula Ford
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