When Warren Hughes agreed to race Jonathan Lewis’s Royale RP26 in Kenny Acheson’s colours, he did not realise he would be competing in front of Acheson himself.
He had already qualified in seventh spot for the Carl Hamer pre-final at this weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy when the Northern Irish former F1 driver showed up.
According to Hughes, it was Acheson’s wife who saw the Royale mentioned in a news article and told him about it.
Hughes had a chat with Acheson in the garages before the Carl Hamer Trophy pre-final.
“It’s not the same car, ” clarified Hughes. “It’s almost a tribute car”.
“He still owns the original car. He’s got quite a few of his old cars. His old F3 car and a Sauber Group C car as well.”
It’s mega that Jonathan (Lewis)’s done this and brought it to the Walter Hayes, because it’s attracted the interest from people like Kenny.”
Acheson was around to watch “his” car in action.
“It’s really flattering that someone thought about putting the car in my colours,” he commented on Saturday.
Despite his ownership of several classics, it seems he hasn’t had them out to play for a while.
“This is the first time I’ve seen Formula Ford running in probably 25, 30 years.
“It’s still the heartbeat of the sport and it’s really nice that it’s the same thing that I did when I was a kid.”
Hughes, who has largely retired from active competition but still remains very active as a test driver and driver coach, described the Royale as “great fun”. He finished eighth in the pre-final and fifth in the pre-’82 final, despite his last time in a single-seater being “probably Formula 3000 back in 2000.”