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Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Meet Jamie Vinall-Meyer

Historic Formula Ford’s newest upstart almost walked away from motorsport; what is it about old cars that’s brought him back?

The young Jamun driver has previous experience in a Classic Team Merlyn car at the 2020 Walter Hayes Trophy and was soon right near the front at Silverstone. He was completely unfazed by going up against the likes of Cam Jackson and Tom McArthur, with whom he tangled in Race 2.

“I was supposed to be racing in something else and that fell through” explains Vinall-Meyer. “I did a bit of Britcar and this year I was supposed to be racing in Pragas. But that…”

Here, he tails off. A possible drive with Classic Team Merlyn had also been shelved and Vinall-Meyer, still only in his early 20s, was getting disillusioned with motor racing.

A chance meeting with Pete Alexander changed that.

“I met Pete at the start of this year doing some instructing at Brands Hatch.

“It’s lucky I’m not doing that (the Praga series) because I’m now racing with Pete. Back doing this.

The rare Jamun T3 he is racing this year often appeared on entry lists last year alongside Shaun Hollamby’s name, but the BTCC racer only made one actual outing in it.

“It’s Pete’s car. Shaun Hollamby raced it at the Festival last year. It’s been stored and not touched until we took it out a few months ago. Today we decided to go racing with it, see what happens.”

As he only has one weekend’s racing in a Merlyn Mk20 and one meeting in the Jamun under his belt, Vinall-Meyer is still learning about the world of historic Formula Ford and how the different cars compare. He is full of admiration for Alexander’s Jamun, however.

“It’s a really lovely car and Pete has done the nicest job of getting it all ready. He’s worked really hard. It’s only been a few months, and he’s bascially turned it into a usable car, which is fantastic.

“There’s still a few things we need to do here and there to get it properly quick, but considering all that, we did fantastically. I can’t thank Peter enough.”

Now back on speaking terms with racing cars, Vinall-Meyer plans to contest selected rounds this year, with a view to a full season in 2023.

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Historic Formula Ford HSCC News round up Uncategorized

Historic visitors prevail at Pau

A sizeable contingent of Historic Formula Ford competitors were in action at the Pau Historic Grand Prix this weekend, with Callum Grant securing a win and second place in his familiar Merlyn Mk20.

He was joined on the podium over the weekend by Matt Wrigley, on his way back from Moanco, and National championship star Rory Smith.

Grant qualified second behind circuit specialist Alain Girardet, who was also driving a more recent car, then started his charge with a win in Race 1. Smith was second in another Merlyn and Girardet was third. Wrigley was the next British challenger, finishing seventh in his Merlyn but third in the class for older cars, behind both Grant and Smith.

Other HSCC drivers in action included Ian Parkington who was eleventh and Brian Morris, who brought his Lola home in 14th despite a broken clutch pedal in qualifying. George Ditchfield finished 28th in his Elden.

The second race was a scrappier affair with three safety car periods, interrupted by a red flag. Smith was the winner this time, followed by Grant and Girardet. Wrigley was third in class, completing an all-British class podium.

Morris was tenth and Parkington 16th this time. Ditchfield was 22nd.

(Image courtesy of Callum Grant)

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Classic Formula Ford HSCC News

What do you get when you cross a Crossle with a Royale?

Richard Tarling was not in his usual Royale RP26 at Silverstone this weekend, although the car looked similar from the outside.

He had noticed that there was something not right with the car during Friday testing and set about rectifying the problem with Enigma boss Linton Stutely, but a more drastic solution was needed than first thought, with the sister car of Steve Deeks plus some extra parts being called into action.

“We’re not 100% sure, but we think the chassis is broken somewhere,” says Tarling about his original car.

“When the car’s loaded up in the longer corners, it feels like the back end of the car’s not connected to the front.

“It was then affecting the engine, basically binding up the cranks which then makes it slow. And it can damage the engine badly, so we didn’t really want to take the risk.”

At first, a fix was tried on the Royale.

“We tried to weld some bars into the engine bay but really, it all needs to come apart and start again.”

Luckily, Steve Deeks, also making some appearances for Enigma this year, was also doing some testing in his Crossle 25F.

“Steve’s car was here,” says Tarling. “I drove it for a couple of laps at the end of the day just to see what it was like. The engine in it is a bit unknown, so we decided to put Linton’s engine [from his Historic Royale RP3] in it, and drive that.”

Neither Deeks not Stutely had planned to compete that weekend, which cleared a way for Tarling to take his place on the grid, but there were other smaller issues which nevertheless needed sorting, once the Royale’s bodywork had been tweaked to fit and added.

“I’m driving on a cushion, in Steve’s seat,” admits Tarling, who is smaller than Deeks. A lurking Deeks asked that the comments that followed were not published.

“We finished it at three o’clock in the morning, or we didn’t finish it really, but got it together at three in the morning.”

A few gremlins still needed to be defeated on Saturday morning, as there were problems with timing.

“We had some issues in qualifying. I’m surprised we were as high up as we were.”

After qualifying seventh, Tarling was fifth in both races.

(Image copyright HSCC)

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Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Mitchell spins and wins

Ben Mitchell won the second Historic Formula Ford race, despite a big spin on the wet track.

The result could have gone one of several ways, with Mitchell’s Merlyn Mk20 prevailing in a series of slipstreaming contests with Tom McArthur’s Titan Mk4 and Classic Team Merlyn’s Samuel Harrison, with Jamie Vinall-Meyer in a Jamun T3 joining them. Mitchell lost out in almost as many drafting battles, with the lead changing multiple times and all three leaders even going wide together at Club at one point.

Despite getting a good start, polesitter McArthur was quickly caught by Mitchell, with Harrison catching them and taking the lead briefly. McArthur did retake, but he went wide at Becketts and Harrison retaking. As the track became wetter, Mitchell spun hard and lost time, but a collision between McArthur and Vinall-Meyer at Woodcote bought him time and his superior handling of backmarkers allowed him to build up a gap to Harrison, who was second. He saved his quickest lap until last, consolidating his gap to the rest of the field with a 2:24.8 lap.

Vinall-Meyer was third, having escaped his altercation with McArthur unscathed. The series newcomer ran as high as second despite his share of slides and showed incredible pace: he was one of three drivers to dip under the 2:26 mark, with Mitchell and Harrison.

McArthur was dropped to fifth by the contact and then had his old sparring partner, Cam Jackson, to deal with. Jackson, driving Simon Toyne’s Lola T200 after wrecking his Winkelmann yesterday, made great progress from the back of the grid, quickly gaining sixth place, but he was unable to catch the leading group, which had a huge advantage by then. He passed McArthur for fifth but could not get much closer to brother Dominik Jackson, in a Crossle, who was fourth. The elder Jackson had a steady race without much conflict, some way behind the lead group.

The struggle for Over 50s honours came next, with seventh-placed Brian Morris emerging as the winner in his Lola T202. Ross Drybrough (March 709) had attacked on the penultimate lap, but went wide at Brooklands and had to settle for eighth. Cormac Flanagan’s Alexis was next in ninth, although Flanagan had run higher earlier in the race and even had a go at keeping Jackson behind him. Tim Brise was tenth in his Merlyn Mk20, having seen off the similar cars of Chris Porritt and Rob Smith earlier. Smith, who was happier with his car than yesterday, was 12th and Porritt 13th, with Scott Rawlinson in a Merlyn Mk11A ahead of them in 11th.

Full results at TSL Timing

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FF2000 HSCC

Fennymore conquers the rain

Graham Fennymore won a very wet second Formula Ford 2000 race in fine style, as Benn Simms’s charge from the back just fell short.

Changing weather brought mechanics to the assembly area, with many drivers, including Fennymore, opting to switch to wets. Even with new tyres, Fennymore’s Reynard SF81 was slow off the line, allowing Andrew Park’s similar car to lead the first part of the race, but he was soon back in front and left the rest of the pack standing. He credits his car’s balance for his win and he felt confident that he could hold off second-placed Simms, whose race was a different story completely.

Simms had looked set to gamble on dry tyres, but his Reynard SF77 dived into the pits at the last minute and had to start his race from there, at the back. He wasted no time in working his way up to 12th, then bided his time in sixth before striking for the podium and sweeping past Park.

His final obstacle was Ollie Roberts’s SF79, which he passed on the final lap. Roberts had got a superb start and was running confidently on the slippery circuit behind Park until Fennymore arrived and the pack shuffled. A slide as three broke for the lead meant he lost some ground to Fennymore, but he was now ahead of Park. He was third, his best result so far. Park, onthe other hand, was ruing his decision to stick with slicks.

Adrian Reynard’s experience showed as he was able to remain combative in his SF79, despite the awful conditions. A passing Simms helped him to leapfrog Park, who was fifth. Jen Ridgway’s SF78 was closing on Park in sixth, with Ridgway showing considerable pace and skill in the wet.

Adrian Langridge’s SF78 was next, a good way ahead of eighth-placed Brian Morris and ninth-placed Anthony Thompson, both in SF79s.

Drew Cameron (Royale RP27) was a fairly distant tenth, despite having started third. He had sorted out the clutch problems that marred his first race, but a mix-up in communication over which anti-roll bar needed seeing to led to a very hard-to-drive car.

Lee Bankhurst’s race was over before it even began; his RP30 pulled into the pits on the second green flag lap, ostensibly for tyres, but did not reappear. Peter Drennan appeared to have recovered well from a spin, having sorted out the electrics and water pump on his Royale RP27, but he was later disqualified, alongside Bernie Braden’s SF79. Drennan later explained that his exclusion was due to him going straight to the pits instead of parc ferme, as he needed to leave early in order to catch a flight.

Full results at TSL Timing

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Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson wins in orange

Cam Jackson secured another win on a damp track in Classic Formula Ford, despite having to borrow a car and start from the back.

Jackson, whose Winkelmann was badly damaged in yesterday’s Historic race, borrowed a Lola T200 from his Neil Fowler Motorsport team-mate. He has previously raced a T200 with great success and wasted little time in getting to the front, gaining ten places in the first lap and then slotting in to the leading group, even after a loss of momentum due to a short safety car period. Joe Ahrens had come off the track in his Van Diemen RF80 and needed recovery.

With a track getting progressively wetter, slipstreaming turned into sliding and spinning near the front. Both Jackson and his brother Dominik Jackson, driving a Crossle, benefitted from spins by Henry Chart’s Van Diemen RF81 and Tom McArthur’s Merlyn Mk20. The siblings approached Chart and McArthur together and capitalised first on McArthur’s misfortune, then Chart spinning. Both fought back, but McArthur going wide and Chart spinning again on the final lap in quick succession let the orange Jackson Lola get away. The Jackson Crossle was second, despite its driver having a big spin of his own at Village. McArthur stayed in touch for third and Chart was fourth.

Jordan Harrison has a well-known dislike of wet tracks and he surrendered his pole position fairly quickly in favour of McArthur and Chart. His Lola T504E was passed for fifth place late on by Richard Tarling’s Royale-bodied Crossle hybrid. It took a while for Tarling to get into his groove and he had to fend off James Rigby’s Royale RP26, then Ben Tinkler in his Van Diemen RF80 before attacking Harrison. He was fifth, in front of sixth-placed Harrison and Rigby in seventh, but Tinkler was overtaken by Peter Barrable in another RP26 and had to settle for ninth. Rick Morris was tenth, having settled his Royale in that position fairly early in the race.

A quartet of Van Diemens followed, with James Fettiplace’s RF80 in 11th after yesterday’s disqualification disappointment, Stuart Kestenbaum’s RF81 12th, Alan Fincham in another RF80 13th and Ben Hadfield’s 1978 car a little further back in 14th.

Full results at TSL Timing

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Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur and Mitchell triumphant as Jackson hits trouble

Tom McArthur won an exciting slipstreaming contest with Ben Mitchell in Historic Formula Ford today, but Cam Jackson’s race ended early after a collision with a backmarker.

Jackson’s Winklemann, McArthur’s Titan and Mitchell’s Merlyn Mk20 had been running as a close drafting group for seven of the race’s nine laps, with Jackson perhaps leading more than the other two, but with plenty of changes of position and very close passes. They were joined towards the end by Classic Team Merlyn’s Samuel Harrison to make a four, but became a trio once more when Jackson hit Michael Richings’s Alexis from behind close to the Wing pit straight, ending up beached on the grass. Richings also had to retire. Neither driver was hurt, but Jackson’s car appears to have sustained serious chassis damage and is unlikely to be out tomorrow.

McArthur had the upper hand for the remaining two laps, but Mitchell never gave up, briefly leading at one point. He also had the attentions of Harrison to manage and held the younger driver off admirably. Harrison was third.

Fourth place went to Jamie Vinall-Meyer, driving a Jamun T3 previously raced by Shaun Hollamby. Despite his lack of Formula Ford experience, he held his own and showed good pace. He was unable to fend off Harrison, but equally, he put a useful distance between himself and Dominik Jackson (Crossle 20F) and Simon Toyne’s Lola. Jackson and Toyne were locked in combat for the whole race, with plenty of aggressive moves going in but none really sticking. Jackson was fifth and Toyne sixth.

A fascinating Over 50 class race-within-a-race followed. Class winner Ross Drybrough was seventh in his March 709 after just seeing off Chris Porritt’s Merlyn Mk20. Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14) and Brian Morris (Lola T200) had led the group earlier in the race. Flanagan held on for a strong ninth place, but Morris dropped back after a spin and finished 12th. Rob Smith’s Merlyn Mk20 was also a contender, but a sticking throttle meant he had to keep taking his foot off the accelerator and went wide at Brooklands. He was tenth, with the Merlyn of Tim Brise behind him in 11th.

Tom Pearson, the youngest driver on the grid, had put his Merlyn Mk11A/17 among the Over 50 leaders, but an over-ambitious move around Drybrough dropped him to 14th, a long way behind Morris and Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn Mk11A. Freddie Lillingston-Price, another young driver in a Mk11, had to retire after contact with Rawlinson, losing a nosecone.

Full results at TSL Timing

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FF2000 HSCC Uncategorized

Simms shuts down Fennymore’s challenge at Silverstone

Benn Simms has added yet another Historic Formula Ford 2000 win to his tally at Silverstone, brushing off polesitter Graham Fennymore to speed away into the distance.

Simms, who was never challenged during the race’s nine laps, credits his win to his Reynard SF77’s ability to power off the line and to his rivals getting into their own rivalries and holding each other up. In this case, it was the SF81s of Fennymore and Andrew Park who got caught up with each other.

Park got an absolutely spot-on start, having lined up sixth due to car trouble in qualifying. He was third within a corner, deposing Graham Ridgway’s SF78 and the Royale of Drew Cameron. Park did get past Fennymore for a lap or two mid-race, but although Park was gaining on him again on the final lap, Fennymore held him off for second.

Ridgway was a solid fourth, although some way behind Park at the end. Cameron had a less straightforward run, with serious trouble downshifting causing him to drop from third to twelfth, then the lower reaches of the top ten. The quickest in a straight line, he got on top of his troubles towards the end, passing Adrian Reynard’s SF79 and Lee Bankhurst’s Royale RP30 in quick succession. Bankhurst had his own scuffle going on with Ollie Roberts, whose SF79 sat in fifth for most of the race. Bankhurst was gaining on him, but Cameron effectively towed Bankhurst past him on the final lap, meaning Roberts had to settle for seventh. Reynard was eighth. Peter Drennan had also been sparring with Reynard in his yellow Royale RP27, but he had to retire with a mysterious electrical problem.

The twin SF79s of Brian Morris and Andrew Storer made up the top ten. Storer had been passed by both Bankhurst and Reynard on their way up the grid.

Full results at TSL Timing

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Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson and Chart back up to speed in Classic

Cam Jackson has won the first Classic Formula Ford race of the weekend, holding off a charging Jordan Harrison after a four-car pack thinned to two.

Jackson, driving his familiar Class B Winkelmann, was pressured but never really in danger during the nine-lap race, although Harrison’s Lola T540E was gaining on him by the end.

Harrison, who had started second, did get close and was also embroiled in his own battle with returning driver Henry Chart, a racewinner in 2021. Chart, with his ex-Tim Harvey Van Diemen RF81 now painted battleship grey, did get the better of Harrison in the middle of the race when they had a lively tussle for second, but dropping behind Harrison and Tom McArthur’s Merlyn Mk20 cost him towards the end. He did well to overhaul McArthur on the final lap, grabbing the last podium spot by 0.013s.

After problems with a loose exhaust in qualifying, McArthur had a lot to do in the opening laps, but he worked his way from eleventh to fourth quickly. He set the fastest lap of the race and briefly took third from Chart, but he was unable to catch the leaders. For most of the race, he was followed by Ben Tinkler’s Van Diemen RF80, but spinning on a patch of oil dropped Tinkler down the order. He regained a few places to finish ninth.

Richard Tarling, in his improvised hybrid Crossle, was fifth, having had a good scrap with Rick Morris’s Royale early on. Morris was still snapping at his heels when the chequered flag came out. Joe Ahrens’s Van Diemen RF80 had been with them at the start, but he had to retire as his car’s engine cover had come loose.

A bit further back, the elder Jackson brother, Dominik, was seventh in a Crossle 20F, having won a minor skirmish with Peter Barrable’s Royale RP26. Barrable was eighth, ahead of Tinkler, who had Simon Toyne’s Lola behind him and the Royale RP26 of James Rigby only a few tenths further back.

Full results at TSL Timing

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Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Close contests promised at Silverstone: qualifying roundup

Three close competitions are on the cards for HSCC Formula Ford this weekend.

Classic Formula Ford 1600 was the first series to go out and the chase for the top starting spot quickly crystallised between Cam Jackson’s Class B Winkelmann and defending champion Jordan Harrison in his Lola. It was close until the later laps, when Jackson pulled out a huge one-second advantage which Harrison was unable to top. Henry Chart will start third on his season debut, his Van Diemen RF81 tucked in behind the leaders and only two-tenths slower than Harrison. Late entry Ben Tinkler’s RF80 is just another couple of tenths further back, with Rick Morris (Royale RP29) running strongly in fifth, despite having an engine with a lot of miles on it.

Richard Tarling weathered huge drama to qualify sixth, having to substitute his Royale for Steve Deeks’s sister car overnight, hastily fitted with Linton Stutely’s engine. Another RP26 driven by Robert Barrable follows, then Joe Ahrens’s RF80 and Simon Toyne in his orange Lola. Tom McArthur could only manage eleventh spot in Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, as he had trouble with a loose exhaust.

Formula Ford 2000 followed in quick succession and it was Graham Fennymore who was on pole this time, putting his Reyanrd SF81 ahead of Benn Simms’s SF77 by the tiniest of margins. Fennymore has managed to sort the clutch issues that have affected his starts and he admits that allowing Simms past him in qualifying meant he could follow his lines and gain a sneaky advantage.

Royale honours are upheld by Drew Cameron, who put his RP27 in third spot, about half a second behind Simms. Graham Ridgway’s Reynard SF78 will be hin hot pursuit as the two were setting very similar times.

A season’s-best fifth place start for Ollie Roberts has put the SF79 driver in a confident mood. Sixth-placed Andrew Park is normally further up the grid, but the power on his SF81 kept cutting out. He was only six-thousandths ahead of Andrew Storer’s Pukka Pies SF79.

Lee Bankhurst’s RP30 was the second Royale in eighth, ahead of Adrian Reynard’s SF79 and Peter Drennan, whose Royale RP27 is a late entry.

Jackson scored another dominant pole for the first Historic race, in the same Winkelmann, after only four laps. Ben Mitchell, who had a fierce rivalry for the 2018 championship with Jackson, will line up next to him in his Merlyn Mk20. McArthur, whose Titan Mk4 was running better than the Merlyn, will be with them and looking to continue his own ferocious rivalry with Jackson. He also settled on a time early, leaving the track after four laps.

Classic Team Merlyn driver Samule Harrison will start from fourth and will almost certainly stay with the leading trio, hopefully setting up a good slipstreaming contest. Simon Toyne (Lola T200) and newcomer Jamie Vinall-Meyer in a Jamun T3 were similarly close.

Dominik Jackson (Crossle 20F) lines up seventh, with Rob Smith (Merlyn Mk20) as the leading Over 50 driver in eighth. An extremely close string of cars are almost tied for the remainder of the top ten, with defending Over 50 champion Brian Morris’s Lola next, then 18-year-old Tom Pearson snatching the last top ten spot in his Merlyn. Just missing out are Chris Porritt’s Merlyn and Ross Drybrough, who has happy with 12th in his March.

Full results at TSL Timing