Samuel Harrison has taken his first Formula Ford win in the qualifying race for tomorrow’s Carl Hamer Trophy, from sixth on the grid.
The regular HSCC frontrunner was having his first outing in a Merlyn Mk20: the car raced by championship runner-up Horatio Fitz-Simon this year, no less.
Harrison was locked in a near race-long drafting battle with 2017 Historic champion Richard Tarling, back in his Jamun T2, and Henry Chart, whose Van Diemen RF81 was familiar to Harrison from his appearances in Classic Formula Ford.
Tarling was the quickest off the line and shot past polesitter Chart, setting up the first part of the rivalry. This was in spite of a rush engine change, as a misfire had bent the valves in the Jamun’s engine. By the end of the lap they had been joined by a charging Harrison, just behind them in third. Chart and Tarling initially had the upper hand and exchanged the lead at almost every corner, with Harrison muscling in on the action fairly quickly.
The pivotal moment for the leading group came during the final lap, when Chart spun and dropped to fourth. Harrison seized his chance and put some space between himself and Tarling, holding on for the win.
Patrick McKenna, driving a Crossle 35F for Mike Gardner, was third. He overhauled FF1600 newcomer Molly Dodd early on and stayed within sight of the leaders. Dodd herself was holding her own in the second group with McKenna, Westie Mitchell and Ed Thurston (both in Merlyns), but a late spin at Brooklands dropped her Merlyn right to the back. She fought back to 18th.
Thurston and Mitchell were sixth and seventh, behind another newcomer, Ben Stone, driving the Titan Mk4 raced by Tom McArthur in Historics this season. Stone, who had only ever raced Radicals before, made his way into the top five from tenth on the grid.
A trio of Royales followed, starting with the Kenny Acheson tribute RP26 driven by former BTCC and Le Mans racer Warren Hughes. Rick Morris was next in his familiar RP29, having made up a good few places from 15th. Completing an RP26 sandwich was Peter Barrable in tenth place.
Kelvin Burt, driving the Van Diemen RF80 used by Roberto Moreno and the Formula Ford Festival, got caught up in a three-car collision at Brooklands early on and had to retire. Peter Sikstrom’s RF79 followed him.
Full results at TSL Timing