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Tarling to bring original Royale to Classic grid

Richard Tarling will race Alan Cornock’s Royale RP26 in this year’s Classic Formula Ford championship, as part of a three-car Enigma team.

Tarling, the 2017 Historic Formula Ford champion, has secured backing for a full season from SDC Builders, which originally sponsored a Royale in 1980, when it was driven by David Wheeler. Tarling’s car will run in old-school SDC blue and white as a tribute to that Royale. 2022 is also the 50th anniversary of SDC.

The deal came together about six weeks ago and was one of the inspirations behind Enigma boss Linton Stutely’s decision to buy the RP26 raced as a Kenny Aitchison tribute car by Warren Hughes at the 2021 Walter Hayes Trophy. The Aitchison car will be run on an “arrive and drive” basis, with a schedule to be confirmed. Tarling will race alongside the Crossle of Steve Deeks and Joe Ahrens in the Van Diemen he raced last year.

“I’ve known Alan Cornock for nearly 30 years – how many years ago is 1995? 27? I’m pretty sure we bought our first car off Alan 27 years ago,” says Tarling.

“It’s Alan’s car. He set the deal up, because was Royale from nearly the beginning. He’s good friends with David Wheeler and the guys from SDC. They’re supporting Alan and me and the car for a whole year, which is good.”

“I would hope, good,” says Tarling of his chances in the Classic championship, although he has yet to drive the car. “Everyone says it’s a good car, so we’ll wait and see. It depends who else is in the championship.”

He hopes that the influx of Royale and Enigma-related entries into this year’s Classic championship makes for a good field.

“Hopefully this will drag more people into it. Hopefully it will make the whole thing stronger. It shows people have confidence in the championship.

“I want it to be competitive and lots of people doing it. I don’t want to be just running around on my own.”

When asked, this is what he had to say about his new team-mates.

“Joe (Ahrens) should get quicker and quicker. He should be pushing us, if not right at the beginning, then certainly after a couple of rounds.

“Steve (Deeks) would freely admit that he’s got quite a lot to learn for his comeback.”

The first round of the championship is at Snetterton on the 23rd of April.

By Rachel Harris-Gardiner

Rachel Harris-Gardiner is the editor of Vintage Formula Ford and former Historic editor for ff1600website.com. She is a regular contributor to Autosport and Motorsport News and writes her own blog about women in motorsport, Speedqueens.

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