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New challengers and returning regulars for Historic Formula Ford

The first Historic Formula Ford races of the year will have few new faces, but some likely new combinations at the front and some familiar names on the grid.

Defending champion Cam Jackson, Silverstone winner Linton Stutely and 2021 championship contender Horatio Fitz-Simon have all decided to sit out the Snetterton races at least, meaning that the leading pack might look a little different this year.

Tom McArthur was up there with Jackson and Fitz-Simon for most of last year and he is having another go in 2022. The Cheshire-based FF1600 specialist will be taking on both the Historic and Classic championships in Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, a car he has driven before.

His most likely sparring partner at the front will be Samuel Harrison, now a Classic Team Merlyn driver in the Mk20 that Fitz-Simon used in 2021. Although still in his teens, Harrison showed increasing maturity towards the end of 2021 and got his CTM career off to a great start with a historic win at the Walter Hayes Trophy.

Callum Grant is only making a few appearances in 2022 but he will almost certainly add another Merlyn Mk20 to the mix at the front at Snetterton. He had a terrific scrap with McArthur at Oulton Park last year and a repeat of that would make a great curtain-opener for the season.

Over 50s frontrunner Rob Smith is racing again for the first time since Brands Hatch in 2020, having been caught out by travel restrictions due to mostly living in France. He was easily the quickest in the class until his enforced hiatus and his Merlyn Mk20 will be a welcome addition.

Keeping an eye on him, Over 50 champion Brian Morris will return in his Lola T200 and regular challenger Ross Drybrough is racing his March 709, as driven by Cam Jackson in 2020.

Morris, Matt Wrigley and Danny Stanzl were a common combination in the chasing pack last year, with Wrigley sometimes managing to break free in his Merlyn Mk11A/20. Stanzl, with a little more reliability, could be joining him this year.

Other returnees include Alexis driver Cormac Flanagan, who missed most of 2021 after crashing out at Snetterton. Flanagan has already made his return to the circuits, but Scott Rawlinson will be out this weekend in his Merlyn Mk11A for the first time since a big accident in practice at Cadwell.

Championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson has stood down from driving his Merlyn Mk11/17 this weekend in favour of son Tom.

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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