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PA Motorsports' Darren Burke Wins 2010 Historic Formula Ford Championship

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Peter Alexander and driver Darren Burke secured the 2010 Historic Formula Ford Championship with three races yet to go.
Peter Alexander and driver Darren Burke secured the 2010 Historic Formula Ford Championship with three races yet to go.
Peter Alexander and his K&N Filters Macon MR8, driven by Darren Burke, have won the 2010 Historic Formula Ford Championship with three rounds remaining. The PA Motorsports' team has won all 11 races so far this season.
At Castle Combe, even the return of former Champion Nelson Rowe couldn't stop the dominant run by Burke and the K&N Filters Macon MR8.
At Castle Combe, even the return of former Champion Nelson Rowe couldn't stop the dominant run by Burke and the K&N Filters Macon MR8.


The teams' near supernatural track supremacy has been bewildering their competition all year, igniting petty suspicious and rumors spanning from the ridiculous to the absurd. Alexander has been nothing but forthright throughout. When officials, reacting to the peaking hysteria, asked to seal the Macon's' differential after the win at Snetterton, Alexander obliged, adding "Well, while you're sealing the diff can you seal the engine too?" Becoming perhaps the first team owner to ask for his own engine to be sealed.

The simple truth is that PA Motorsports' success comes about through a fundamental combination of talent and car preparation, plus shared communication and mutual respect between owner and driver.

"We trust each other totally, he lets me put the set-up on the car I think is right, and I let him get on and drive it," remarks Alexander.

"Without wanting to sound big headed, we were pretty confident of doing well. At the start we did in fact joke about trying to win all the races, as we knew we had a good package, but to actually do it is something else."

At the Castle Combe race in Wiltshire, England where they clinched the title, former Champion Nelson Rowe returned to try and stop the dominant run by Burke and his Macon. Rowe used his local circuit knowledge to good effect, securing the pole position, whilst Burke was trying to quickly get familiar with a circuit he hadn't raced on before.

Burke still qualified second, just one-tenth of a second shy of the pole, so when it came time to race, the real battle ensued. The lead changed ten times in seven laps, with both cars glued together and running at lap record pace, all the while pulling away from the rest of the pack by two seconds a lap.

"The Castle Combe race was a good test for us, as a former Champion came back to try and beat us at his home circuit, so it was nice to win that one," commented Alexander.

Regardless of what was thrown at Burke or the PA Motorsports team, they couldn't be stopped. Given the earlier scrutinizing the team endured, how did their competitors deal with the championship sweep to this point?

"Some of the paddock gossip stopped after we had the engine and gearbox stripped," said Alexander. "We went straight to Mallory Park after rebuilding the engine and won both races, even with Darren having never raced there before. We also set a new lap record. That night by 8 p.m. there were rumors on the internet that we were using tire softener. However, since then the only sound has been head scratching."

With three races to go is the team still looking for a perfect season?

"Yes, that would be the ultimate. We are entered for the next round at Oulton Park. After that we are struggling for budget, but somehow we need to go for the clean sweep don't we?"

"People would always remember the season that one driver won every race, and as we've got this far, it would be a shame to stop now – we already have the Championship. We need to try to win the lot. Besides, there are still a couple of lap records to be had."

"To be honest, we are still very much focused on this season. The more races we win the more pressure there seems to be. It's probably self induced pressure, but I'm spending more and more time on the car to make sure something silly doesn't let us down. I would be mortified if we lost a race because something broke!"

"As for what's ahead, we need to figure out what happens in 2011. We don't have any firm plans yet, it really depends on what sort of budget we can raise as to what we do."

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.