When I ran into Classic Formula Ford front-runner and former champion Ben Tinkler at Brands Hatch, he had his head under the bonnet of someone else’s car.
“I’m checking the fuel on a Lotus Elan, ready for the Guards Trophy race,” he explained. “I’m working (for the Wolfe team) and having a little bit of a play in the Formula Ford.”
This time last year, Tinkler would have described driving his Van Diemen RF80 rather differently, having threatened to sell it after an attempt at a comeback from a dramatic accident at Donington.
“Last year, I’d had my accident and I came out again. It just took a little bit of time to click again.”
Tinkler chose the Oulton Park round to try out his rebuilt car, which ended up being red flagged due to a series of accidents. This time, he had a smoother re-introduction and finished third.
“I didn’t really want to sell it,” he says of the RF80. “I put it up for sale just to see what the market was like. I didn’t really want to, it’s so much fun to drive and it’s a really good series.
“I have falled in love with it again over the weekend.”
Tinkler is not racing in this weekend’s Oulton Park Gold Cup, but he hopes to be out again in the Classic championship this season. He has also been competing in the BRSCC Northern championship in a Ray, for Don Hardman’s team.