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Keeping Formula Ford in the family

Abi Harris made her racing comeback at Cadwell and found herself in an unusual predicament. The lengthy rain delays meant that the Formula Ford 2000 grid was held in the assembly area for quite some time. There’s nothing unusual about drivers needing to unstrap themselves for a bathroom break in this situation, but Harris had to leave her car in order to feed her six-month-old daughter Maggie, who was with her mum next to the circuit.

Harris’s partner and Maggie’s father is Lee Bankhurst. The couple, who race Royale RP30s against one another, must be the only racing parents on the HSCC grid together.

“I’ve not come across it, have you?” says Harris, while Bankhurst agrees.

“We’re determined to make it work until it’s too expensive.

“I deal with Maggie and he deals with both cars.”

Bankhurst agrees. “It can be a long weekend.”

Both began their motorsport careers before the arrival of Maggie, with Harris’s in particular affected by lockdowns and then the arrival of the baby. Having experienced racing both before and after becoming parents, there is a difference in how they approach things.

“It is different for me,” says Harris, “because I go out there and all I think about is ‘what’s Maggie doing?’, and I can’t possibly crash and hurt myself because I still need to feed my child!”

Bankhurst has also noticed a change.

“For me, I think the first couple of laps of the first session you have it in your head, then you’re like, shake your head, you need to get on with it, try and put it to the back of your mind. It definitely changes you, though.”

Despite the added pressure, both still enjoy racing their Royales.

“We wanted to keep our hobbies for as long as we can,” says Harris.

“I think it’s important to us to show Maggie that anything is possible and that she can do anything.”

It’s not just the world of motorsport that she gets to experience either.

“I ride horses and she’s already got a pony at six months old. She’s been familiarising herself with it so when she’s older, she’ll be so comfortable round it. It’s the same with cars. When she gets to the age when she can go karting, we’ll definitely encourage her.

“I definitely want to show her that you can be a girl and race, and do it as a family and support each other.”

Both admit that the thought of watching their daughter karting is somewhat scary, riding is in many ways just as risky.

“I like having a brake pedal,” is non-rider Bankhurst’s comment.

“I can’t fall off my car,” adds Harris. “And I can put it in the garage for another day. You can’t do that with a horse.”

Bankhurst is racing again at Donington this weekend. Harris will be there to assist and Maggie will be watching.

(Images copyright Abi Harris)

FF2000 round up

Bankhurst and Pearson uphold FF2000 honours at the Jochen Rindt Trophy

HSCC regulars Lee Bankhurst and Ian Pearson took a win apiece at Thruxton in the Formula Ford 2000 class of the Jochen Rindt Trophy.

The Trophy has classes for Formula 2, Formula Atlantic and Formula 3 as well as FF2000, which made up just over a third of the 28-car grid. The FF2000 drivers were cometing for the Adrian Reynard Trophy.

Bankhurst, in his Royale RP30, ran valiantly in the top ten for a good chunk of the first race but eventually settled for 13th, between the Ralt RT3s of Fraser Gray and Steve Barlow. Jon Finch’s Reynard SF79 was the next FF2000 car home in 16th place, with Antony Raine’s Merlyn Mk28 and Iain Rowley’s Delta making it into the top 20 in 19th and 20th place.

Pearson was suffering from car trouble on the first day. He managed to qualify his RP30 in 13th despite only managing six laps, but he had to pull out of the race itself on the opening lap. Problems behind him, he ended Race 2 in 11th, ahead of the F3 cars of Barlow and Gray.

Bankhurst did not fare as well, finishing 16th and third in class, just behind Finch on the timesheets. Roger Price put his Delta T78 in 17th and Rowley was 19th.

Erstwhile FF2000 racer Matt Wrigley was second and third in a Formula Atlantic March 79B, while John Hayes-Harlow was out in his Ehrlich RP3/5, also running in the Atlantic class. He was seventh and sixth overall.

Among the other FF2000 cars was Bob Pearson’s RP30 and a Classic-era Van Diemen RF82 driven by Wil Arif.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image copyright Jochen Rindt Trophy FB

Historic Formula Ford HSCC News

Butterworth makes his Formula Ford debut

Jack Butterworth is a familiar face in the HSCC Formula Ford paddock, but he waited until this weekend to make his first appearance in a single-seater.

The Neil Fowler Motorsport mechanic took advantage of a rare slow weekend with his employer to go racing himself, as Cam Jackson’s car is still out of action and most of the other team regulars were at Jubilee celebrations with family.

He qualified his Lola T2009 in eleventh place and had a steady, confident race to finish tenth. Cadwell Park is a challenging circuit on which to begin a Formula Ford career, but he proved himself more than up to the job.

Butterworth did not appear on the entry lists originally, having taken the car to Cadwell for Friday testing before making a decision.

“We were happy with the afternoon session, so we thought we’d stick a late entry in,” he explained on Saturday.

He is quick to point out that this was not actually his racing debut; he has done an hour-long stint in a Citroen C1 in the BARC Citroen C1 endurance series previously. This is his first race in a single-seater and his first in his own car.

Despite being somewhat in at the deep end, it was an enjoyable experience.

“I loved it. I had a smile ear to ear while I was driving it!

“The C1 was good fun, but this is something else.”

The Lola itself has been a work in progress for two and a half years.

“I imported it from America and built it in Nigel Grant’s garage with him, then started working for Neil and it went to Neil’s.”

The car’s previous racing history is unknown, with the only clues being that the owner Butterworth bought it from was from Tennessee.

He hopes to bring the car out again this season, but Fowler’s busy schedule means that Butterworth is usually busy on race weekends.

(Image copyright DW Motorsport Photography)

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur wins again as Harrison steps up in the wet

Tom McArthur has won his second race of the day, taking another Classic Formula Ford victory against a chasing Jordan Harrison.

The two drivers were nose to tail for the entire race, with Harrison having finally cracked the art of wet setup on his Lola T504E and matched McArthur’s Class B Merlyn Mk20 for pace.

He let McArthur go at the start as he had already been on track for the Historic race, but following his lines meant he was soon back in contention. There were few opportunities to pass and McArthur defended well, although it was extremely close on the line.

Third place went to Oliver Chapman, who has had a strong weekend in his Lola T200 in both Classic and Historic Formula Ford. He held fourth for much of the race then got on the back of Rick Morris’s Royale RP29 before passing him in the final laps. Morris had kept sight of the leaders for most of the ten laps, bringing all of his experience into play.

He kept well ahead of fifth-placed Andy Gosling in his Van Diemen RF79. Gosling had a quiet race, having lost ground to Chapman at the start but having a largely trouble-free run, a good chunk of time ahead of the rest of the field.

Joe Ahrens had started from the back of the grid but finished sixth in his Van Diemen RF80. Richard Tarling and the resident Enigma mechanic had done a good job of reinstating the rear left quarter of the car after yesterday’s accident and Ahrens had never driven on a track this wet before. He did spend some time getting around Alan Fincham’s RF80, and Fincham in turn had his own little battle with James Fettiplace’s green RF80 over seventh. He had passed Fettiplace before a spin allowed his rival past, but he managed to retake on the final lap. Fettiplace was eighth.

Ben Hadfield’s RF78 behaved itself afer its temporary misfire yesterday and he was ninth, ahead of Richard Yeomans’s Crossle.

Philip Senior crashed out on the first lap, his ex-Mark Harrison Royale RP21 coming to grief in the barrier at the top of the mountain early on.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur braves the rain for Historic win

Tom McArthur took a few chances on a very wet track to win from the back of the grid in the second Historic Formula Ford race of the weekend.

McArthur’s Simon Hadfield-run Titan took a bit of a beating Race 1, which McArthur did not finish, but it was back on its wheels for Race 2 and McArthur had lost none of his confidence. He had progressed from ninth and last to fifth by the first pass of the Mountain, and from then on, he concentrated on reeling in leader Samual Harrison, in his Merlyn Mk20. This was no easy task as Harrison had built up a considerable lead, but Harrison admitted that McArthur was just faster. “Today, anyway.”

It was a much-depleted grid that took on the wet and slippery Lincolnshire asphalt, with several drivers electing to withdraw, including Ted Pearson, Paul Unsworth, Jack Butterworth, Kevin Stanzl and Chris Porritt.

Oliver Chapman was third in his Lola T200, albeit more than half a minute behind McArthur. He had dealt with second-placed starter Danny Stanzl early on and was not seriously challenged after that. Stanzl’s Elden Mk8 took him to fourth, again safely ahead of fifth-placed Rob Smith in his Merlyn Mk20. Smith won the Over 50 class from seventh-placed Mark Carter of Classic Team Merlyn. In between them was Scott Rawlinson in his Merlyn Mk11.

Harrison and Carter’s team-mate, Alan Schmidt, and Nigel Adams in his Jochen Rindt tribute Lotus 61 were the only other finishers. All nine starters got to the end, despite the conditions.

Full results at TSL Timing


Fennymore wins rain-delayed race at Cadwell

Graham Fennymore has won his second race of the weekend, despite a lengthy delay to assess and clear a track streaming with water.

The race was run at the front between perennial rivals Fennymore, in his Reynard RF81, and Benn Simms, looking for revenge for yesterday in his RF77.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but the soaked track was obviously too cold even for that, as Fennymore repeatedly brushed off Simms’s attacks. Credit must got to Simms though; on the last two laps, he managed not to lose significant ground despite a couple of slides.

Ben Glasswell, unused to both wet tracks and Cadwell, elected to sit this one out so Lee Bankhurst was on his own in his Royale RP30. He was a safe, if solo, third.

There was more action behind with Ollie Roberts’s Reynard SF79 hounding Andrew Storer’s similar car for fourth. Roberts eventually found a way past and took the place, although Storer stayed safely ahead of sixth-placed Stephen Glasswell’s SF79. Glasswell described the conditions, stating that spray was not so much a problem as a lack of grip, due to oil as well as water on the track surface.

The next group all seemed to be struggling with a particularly slippy patch on top of the Mountain. Jen Ridgway’s SF78 had some serious wiggles, although she stayed on and got the better of Roger Price’s Delta on the last lap, Price having passed her earlier. She was eighth and Price was ninth. Nathaniel Cooper came to serious grief there, sliding his Royale RP27 off the circuit and recovering to take his place at the back of the grid. He was 15th by the end. Adrian Reynard had had another scrap with Ridgway, but this was curtailed by a problem with his SF79’s ignition leads.

Graham Ridgway had far less trouble, coming from the back of the grid to seventh place in his SF78. He had missed yesterday’s race as his car had had problems in qualifying.

The final top-ten position went to Richard Coleman’s SF79.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison first by a mile

Jordan Harrison has secured another dominant win in Classic Formula Ford, although his chief rival Tom McArthur valiantly tried to rein him in.

Harrison’s Lola T504E started from pole, but the start itself was fast and frantic and McArthur was one of the quickest out of the blocks. He had nipped past Harrison in his Class B Merlyn Mk20 and Harrison was the one giving chase for the first couple of laps, trying to sneak past McArthur on both the inside and outside where he could. The inside line finally worked for him and McArthur was quickly left behind by Harrison, who built up a second’s lead in a couple of turns. Even going wide to avoid a backmarker couldn’t slow him.

McArthur finished second, but lost more ground experimenting with a different line on-track.

Mike Gardner was third in his now black and white Crossle 32F. His car looked squirrelly in the early stages but the Newark driver was less flamboyantly aggressive than usual. He benefited from third-placed Oliver Chapman spinning his Lola at Charlies but did manage to pass Rick Morris in his trusty Royale RP26. Chapman plummeted down the order but recovered a little to finish seventh.

Nigel Lingwood was fifth in a bright yellow Van Diemen RF80, having got a very rapid start and gained five places. Morris managed to pass him and he had Andy Gosling’s RF79 in hot pursuit in the latter stages, but Gosling was unable to draw level and remained sixth.

Even less lucky was Joe Ahrens, who was with Gosling when a stub axle broke, pitching him into a wall at Coppice.

Alan Fincham’s Van Diemen RF80 was eighth, followed at a distance by Peter Chippindale in a Royale RP26. James Fettiplace (Van Diemen RF80) just pipped Mark Harrison’s Royale for tenth place.

Philip Senior could have been a top ten finisher without a late spin and 14th-placed Ben Hadfield almost had to retire with a misfire, which somehow righted itself.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison wins by a mile as McArthur suffers mystery misfortune

Samuel Harrison has won the first Historic Formula Ford race of the Jubilee weekend by a big margin, after his closest rival Tom McArthur had a perplexing understeer problem and hit a barrier.

Classic Team Merlyn driver Harrison was doing a good job in holding back the Titan Mk4 driven by McArthur in the early laps. McArthur led briefly and took every opportunity to attack Harrison, setting up an intriguing battle. However, this came to an end on lap 3, when McArthur understeered into a barrier at the top of the Mountain and limped back to the pits with badly damaged brakes.

Harrison admitted that he was a bit bored without McArthur there, but happily cruised away, followed at some distance by Danny Stanzl’s Elden Mk8. Stanzl had kept up with the leaders at the start and even attacked McArthur for second. He was pleased with this second place, his best-ever finish.

Oliver Chapman also scored his best finish in the series with third. Chapman’s orange Lola was engaged in a lively tussle for third with Rob Smith’s Merlyn. The two exhanged third place several times, but it was Chapman who made the decisive move on the final lap. Smith admitted to messing up some gear changes but remained comfortably ahead of fifth-placed Ted Pearson, beating him to the Over 50 win.

Pearson’s yellow Merlyn Mk11A/17 spent much of the race next to Paul Unsworth’s lighter lemon yellow Lola, but managed to make up a couple of places lost at the start and pull away from Unsworth by the end. Both were part of a group with Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn Mk11 which was leapfrogged by Chapman on the first lap. Unsworth was sixth and Rawlinson seventh, having caught back up after dropping back.

Kevin Stanzl (Crossle 16F) and Chris Porritt in a Merlyn had a good scrap over eighth, with Stanzl prevailing in the end. Porritt was ninth, ahead of series debutant Jack Butterworth in his Lola T2009.

Full results at TSL Timing


Fennymore wins by a wheel –

– and that wheel had a flat tyre!

Graham Fennymore has taken the first Formula Ford 2000 race of the weekendby just 0.03s from Benn Simms, despite picking up a puncture on the last lap.

Fennymore was chased all the way by Simms’s yellow Reynard SF77 and the finish could have been very different, very easily.

Simms was the quicker driver off the start and led for almost the first half of the race, with Fennymore’s SF81 right on his gearbox all the way. A narrow circuit like Cadwell does not make passing easy and it was backmarkers that proved a deciding factor. When it came down to it, Fennymore was able to negotiate the slower cars that bit more cleanly and he took the lead.

Simms continued to push to the end and was never more than a car length away, but his rival held on by a tiny margin.

Ben Glasswell was third, his SF77 having leapfrogged Lee Bankhurst’s Royale RP30 at the start and remaining there for the rest of the race. Bankhurst was a safe fourth, ahead of Andrew Storer. Storer’s SF79 faced some pressure from the similar car of Stephen Glasswell, who also got a good start, but not enough to worry him.

Glasswell in turn was being pressured more significantly by Ollie Roberts’s SF79, but Roberts could not find a way past. He was trying to make up for a qualifying session plague by gear selection issues.

Another SF79 followed in eighth, driven by Adrian Reynard himself. The car sounded rather throaty towards the end but this was down to an exhaust part coming off. Reynard had faced a challenge from Jen Ridgway’s SF78 in the latter stages of the race, but Ridgway admitted that she had got “too excited”. She proved from the start that overtaking at Cadwell is perfectly possible with enough determination, progressing from 19th to ninth.

John Moore’s Delta completed the top ten. On the lengthy list of DNFs was Fraser Collins, who had a crunch in his Royale RP30 on the startline, and Abbey Harris, who spun her RP30 on the final lap.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Weather watching: Cadwell qualifying round-up

The track stayed dry for all three Formula Ford qualifying sessions this morning, but a moody-looking sky and chilly air might mean some changes.

Formula Ford 2000 was first up and Graham Fennymore will start his Reynard SF81 from pole, having got a good lap in while Benn Simms’s 1977 Reynard was still getting up to speed. Fennymore was close to a second quicker than Simms, but Simms was still considerably ahead of third-placed Lee Bankhurst in his Royale RP30. Bankhurst was happy with his starting position, having come through a red flag-affected session with a lot of oil on the track.

Ben Glasswell was predictably quick and will start his SF77 from fourth, with father Stephen in ninth in his SF79. In between are Andrew Storer, who ran well in his SF79, leading the sister cars of Ollie Roberts and Adrian Reynard. Roberts was struggling with gear shifting and had to drive with one hand on the wheel. Graham Ridgway is behind them in his 1978 car, but he usually starts well so might make some progress. Nathaniel Cooper’s Royale RP27 finishes the top ten.

Samuel Harrison put his Merlyn Mk20 on pole in Historic Formula Ford, capitalising on the absence of both Cam Jackson and the Merlyn of Callum Grant, which was found to have a big crack in its chassis during testing. He will, however, have the Titan Mk4 driven by Tom McArthur to deal with. McArthur kept his best time for last, having struggled to get a clear lap.

Danny Stanzl will start third in his Elden. The Woking driver usually goes well on this circuit and he could be a danger if he gets on the back ofthe leading pair. Rob Smith’s Merlyn is next. Smith is the leading Over 50 driver and will be hoping to steal some points from the absent Brian Morris.

Ted Pearson is making his season debut in his Merlyn Mk11/17 and qualified a pleasing sixth, second in the Over 50 class. He was only fractionally behind fifth-placed Scott Rawlinson’s Mk11 and in turn, Rawlinson was only 0.037s behind Smith. The entire grid is separated by less than 20 seconds, with the majority within nine.

The Lola T2000s of Oliver Chapman and Paul Unsworth are seventh and eighth, Kevin Stanzl’s Crossle is ninth and Chris Porritt is tenth in his Merlyn Mk20. Just outside the top ten, Jack Butterworth will start eleventh in a Lola R20009 on his racing debut.

Even Rick Morris was complimentary about Jordan Harrison’s qualifying lap for the Classic race. Champion Harrison built up to an unbeatable 1m33.574s, putting his Lola T504E 1.748s ahead of McArthur’s Merlyn. Harrison has been working on his wet set-up and hopes that it will be effective in the likely rain. The Lola’s very stiff front end makes it hard to control on a wet track.

McArthur could sneak past if this plan does not pay off, and Chapman isn’t that further back in third, one of his best qualifying results ever. Morris’s Royale RP29 is very close behind him in fourth, then the Crossle of a visiting Mike Gardner. Gardner knows this circuit well and can attack from range.

A trio of Van Diemens follows: Andy Gosling’s RF79 in sixth, then the 1980 cars of Joe Ahrens and Nigel Lingwood. Lingwood is another driver making his first appearance this season. Peter Chippindale’s Royale RP26 is ninth, then another RF80 driven by Alan Fincham.

Full results at TSL Timing