BERWICKSHIRE driver Jamie Thorburn kicked off his 2019 motorsport campaign with a return to Knockhill Circuit and the Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship, scoring two second places as part of his preparation for appearances in the BRSCC National FF1600 championship later in the year.

It was the first weekend that the family-run Border Reivers team had run Jamie’s Ray GR18 at a race meeting, with Jamie’s father, Stuart, and Hindley Circuits chief executive officer, Richard Whitehead, both helping to prepare the car pre-season and at the track this weekend.

Jamie qualified on the front row after Sunday morning’s 15 minute qualifying session and while he wasn’t quite able to keep up with veteran Scottish Formula Ford driver Jordan Gronkowski, he did finish second in race one, over 13 seconds ahead of third place.

A great start in race two propelled the 20-year-old from Duns to the lead at the first corner, Duffus Dip, though Gronkowski would later retake the lead. With Jamie comfortably quicker than the rest of the field behind, he picked up another second place.

Importantly, both Jamie and his team had learned more about refining the set-up of his Ray GR18, helped throughout the weekend by Gavin Ray to optimise the package.

Though wet conditions on both the Saturday test day and Sunday race day meant there had been no dry running, both Jamie and team had gained valuable mileage in their preparations for the BRSCC National FF1600 championship.

Jamie said: “I had a very good start in race one and kept Jordan under pressure for the first lap.

"He got a bit of a gap and I realised I probably wasn't going to catch him for the win, so I tried some different lines and change the brake bias, just trying some things to see if we could improve how the car was handling.

“I got a pretty mega start in race two. I moved into the lead down through Duffus Dip but Jordan was all over my gearbox, so I had to defend. He got me on the run to the hairpin and he was on the drier line on the outside, so I let him roll off the brakes and cut across in front of me. It was a bit frustrating as if I'd held the lead for a lap, we would have kept him under a lot more pressure and made them work for it a lot harder.

“I made a little mistake myself through the chicane and once he had that little gap, he disappeared off into the distance.

Once that happened, it was a case of trying out a few different things to see if I could learn anything. But we had made some changes between the races and those definitely helped, as we were a bit closer time-wise.”

Both driver and team will begin their National series campaign at the Anglesey round in June.

Jamie and Border Reivers are also evaluating entering further Scottish FF1600 races in 2019, subject to Jamie’s university commitments. Jamie is currently in his third year of Accounting and Finance at University of Dundee.

Team Principal Stuart Thorburn added: "We've learned a tremendous amount.

"We had a couple of issues on Saturday and one in qualifying this morning but nothing which we weren't able to sort out.

"I think we're lacking a little bit of set-up experience, having not set-up a Ray before ourselves. We've had Gavin Ray here this weekend, so he's kept us right with where we should be going and what we should be looking for.

"It's just experience – the longer we run it, the more we're involved, the better we'll become at it and we'll get the setups nailed and give Jamie the car that he needs to do the job.”