Simms sticks it out for the win

Benn Simms has won the first Historic Formula Ford 2000 race of the year, holding his lead over three sessions and two days.

The final restart was a five-lap sprint and Simms managed to pull out a small lead early on, keeping his Reynard SF77 ahead of a charging Andrew Park in his SF81. Park set the fastest lap of the race and broke the lap record, but Simms got on to it just that bit quicker and held him at bay.

Graham Fennymore was third, safely behind Park in his sister SF81, then Drew Cameron (Royale RP27) some eight seconds further back and Lee Bankhurst’s RP30 in fifth, having challenged Cameron a little midway through.

It could have all been very different, although the winner was never strongly in doubt. Park and Fennymore were very close in the early stages and exchanged positions several times, with Fennymore in the ascendent when the first red flag came out. Ian Foley’s SF78 collided with the Delta of Jason Redding at the bottom of Paddock Hill and had to be cleared.

Cameron was in the mix for the first restart and briefly ran in third, but Park soon retook and anyway, the red flag came out again after only a couple of laps. John Moore’s Delta was now stranded in the Paddock Hill gravel and there was no time for another restart due to the curfew and fading light, and another red flag during the Roadsports race.

Cameron held his lead over Bankhurst during the final part. Bankhurst, who had been very quick in qualifying, had been struggling with a broken upright since yesterday and was not as fast as he would have liked.

Ian Pearson was sixth, having spent much of yesterday working on his father Robert’s crashed RP30. He made up two places in the final stint, putting his RP30 ahead of first a struggling Andrew Storer (SF79) then Adrian Reynard’s SF79. Peter Drennan (Royale RP27) also overtook Storer late on, finishing some way ahead of him in eighth, with Reynard seventh. Nathaniel Cooper, also in an RP27, was tenth, almost ten seconds back, chased by yet another RP27 driven by Molly Dodd. A similarly close tussle between the SF79s of Bernie Braden and Anthony Thompson decided twelfth and thirteenth places.

The only Class B runner was Neil Bowman, driving a Van Diemen RF78, who finished 23rd. Ollie Roberts was unable to start in his SF79.

Full results at TSL Timing

By Rachel Harris-Gardiner

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

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