Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Ahrens scores first podium, Chart challenges and Harrison cleans up

Jordan Harrison was the victor in both Classic Formula Ford races today, holding off the challenge of Henry Chart and seemingly having no limit to the lap times he could produce.

Harrison’s Lola T540E headed the pack for the duration of Race 1, which was affected by a longish safety car period. Joe Ahrens, in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80, had to extricated from the Oulton tyre barriers after a first lap crash, having put two wheels on the grass scrapping with Rick Morris’s Royale RP29.

Chart, in a now grey Van Diemen RF81, kept Harrison in sight as the two traded fastest laps towards the end of the race, but was unable to get close enough to attack.

Morris was third, some way behind Chart and suffering no ill effects from his brush with Ahrens. Andy Gosling (Van Diemen RF79) was dropped further behind Morris by a ten-second penalty for jumping the start, but he was still happy with fourth. His car’s clutch was refusing to disengage fully, hence the startline issue, and also developed an oil leak.

Stuart Kestenbaum was fifth in another RF81, comfortably ahead of Alan Fincham’s RF80. Fincham seemed to be having a few problems and slipped to the bottom of the order at one point, but he fought back.

James Fettiplace (Van Diemen RF80) kept himself ahead of Richard Yeomans’s white Crossle. The Hawkes of Tim Bennett and Mike Saunders brought up the rear.

Harrison was even more determined in Race 2 and quickly built up a sizeable lead over Chart, putting in a stream of crushing fastest laps. It turned out that he didn’t have to in the end, as Chart spun at the Island and retired on lap 7, leaving Harrison with a 23-second cushion over Morris.

The standout performance of the race came from Ahrens, who methodlically worked his way from the back of the grid to third, his first podium finish. His car was not seriously damaged in its Race 1 crash and by the end of the first lap he was sixth, improving that to fourth a lap later. Chart’s demise promoted him to third, but it was a deserved result.

Class B driver Jason Cheetham was fourth in a Merlyn Mk11, having missed the first race. He also came through the field, behind Ahrens.

Kestenbaum was fifth again and a rather lonely fifth, with Fettiplace half a minute down the road in sixth. He in turn had put a gap between himself and seventh-placed Yeomans, who seemed to lose some power late on. Saunders got past Bennett for eighth.

The problems that seemed to trouble Fincham in Race 1 recurred. Although he ran as high as fourth, he retired on lap eight. Gosling never made the start, having decided not to risk a car with a sticking clutch and a significant oil leak.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Classics go to Oulton

HSCC Classic Formula Ford is a guest of MSVR at Oulton Park this weekend, having missed out on a race slot at the club’s previous two Oulton meetings.

As with a lot of championships at the moment, Classics seem to be disadvantaged by this month’s pile-up of fixtures and it is a small grid that takes on the Cheshire track.

A small grid does not mean a poor grid, however. Championship leader Jordan Harrison is out in his Lola T540E and will be hoping to increase his lead over his nearest rivals, but the presence of Henry Chart’s Van Diemen RF81 might make that difficult. Chart is only running a part-season this year and has had his share of problems, but with the absence of Tom McArthur and Richard Tarling, he will be aiming to get right up with Harrison for a close contest.

Never rule out 2019 champion Rick Morris, either. His trusty Royale RP29 will be at the sharp end of the grid and Morris himself will be keen to add to his points tally.

Without McArthur, who is taking some time out, and Tarling, whose Royale’s chassis is not yet fixed, there are opportunities for some of the newer drivers to get onto the podium. Joe Ahrens has had an up-and-down season in his RF80, but does have the pace when the car is running well. Ditto Andy Gosling in his 1979 Van Diemen. Philip Senior, in his rejuvenated Royale RP24, is certain to snaffle himself some more points.

Championship chairman Stuart Kestenbaum has not quite been “feeling it” in his RF81 this season, but he raced in this year’s Moose Trophy, also held at Oulton, scrapping away with the likes of Nigel Grant in a much newer car. Richard Yeomans has had to miss some rounds this year, but he has been testing in his Crossle and should be able to pick up a decent points haul too, possibly up against Alan Fincham’s Van Diemen RF80.

The sister RF80 of James Fettiplace will also be in action, as well as the Hawkes of Mike Saunders and Tim Bennett.

Classic Formula Ford Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Sunday driver: meet Simon Toyne

Simon Toyne’s orange Lola T200 has been a familiar sight at the upper end of both the Historic and Classic Formula Ford championship, although usually on Saturdays only.

VFF finally caught up with him on a rare Sunday outing at Brands Hatch, having repeatedly missed him at previous meetings.

“I started racing in 2009 and did absolutely everything I possibly could, then the kids came along so I dialled it back a bit,” explains Toyne when asked about his schedule.

He normally spends Sundays with his family but there is no religious reason for this.

“I often pray to win, but it hasn’t worked so far!” he joked.

The distinctive number 16 car is owned by Neil Fowler Motorsport and was used by team boss Fowler to win several Historic championships. When Cam Jackson destroyed his Winkelmann at Silverstone earlier in the year, he took over the Lola, having driven one in previous years. Jackson won one of his races from the back of the grid.

“I’ve had the privilege of racing it since 2009,” says Toyne. “It was slightly sobering [when Jackson raced it] because it shows what can be done with the car when it’s driven properly.”

As well as cutting down the time he devotes to motorsport, Toyne has decided to concentrate on one car, having previously competed in Formula Ford 2000 in a yellow Reynard, also carrying number 16.

“I did that for a few years but found it a bit hard, jumping in and out of the cars. Particularly, sometimes you’d have double-header meetings and you’d end up doing races back to back.”

He counts his chief rivals on the grid as Danny Stanzl and Matt Wrigley.

“You’ve got the elite group at the front, then I aim to be the best of the rest.”

BRSCC Northern Classic Formula Ford Historic Formula Ford round up

Grant wins twice as historic drivers dominate the Moose Trophy

Callum Grant has won the Moose Trophy at Oulton Park with victories in both races, fending off Jordan Harrison and Rick Morris.

The Trophy, organised by the BRSCC Northern & Superclassic team, is for all Kent Formula Fords built before 1999 and it was the older machinery that showed its class, with seven out of the top ten starters in a Historic- or Classic-era car. Grant was driving his usual orange Merlyn Mk20 and Harrison his Lola T540E.

It was a fairly close-run thing between Grant and Harrison in Race 1. Both were part of a pack that overtook polesitter Simon Hadfield in his Lotus 51, alongside Morris’s Royale RP29 and Chris Hodgen, driving a Van Diemen RF89. Harrison was initially the leader, but by the time the third lap began, Grant had eked out a noticeable lead. Harrison used the remaining five laps to get back on terms with Grant and was within a tenth of him by the end, but Grant held on for the win.

Hodgen was third, over three seconds behind, with Morris fourth, closely followed by Hadfield. Jake Shortland (Lola 440) got past Samuel Harrison for sixth. Harrison was driving Derek Buckton’s Elden Mk10, which he qualified well in the wet but found a little underpowered on the straights. Three more modern cars followed, driven by Andrew Schofield (Reynard FF89), John Murphy (Van Diemen RF90) and George McDonald (Swift SC92F). Just outside the top ten was James Hadfield, in the Hawke DL2B that Tom McArthur raced at Donington this year. He had spun on the opening lap but made his way back through the field.

Race 2 began on a damp track following a shower. Grant had little opportunity to put any distance between his car and Jordan Harrison’s, as the safety car came out on the first lap. Hodgen had gone into the back of Samuel Harrison’s car, sending Hodgen to the pits and Harrison onto the DNF list. John Roberts’s Merlyn Mk11 was also stranded and the race was reduced to a nine-minute sprint once the track was clear.

Grant handled the restart well but initially did not have the outright speed of Harrison’s more modern car. Harrison was quickly on his tail with a series of fastest laps, then overhauled him completely. A determined Grant took back his place after a single lap, getting progressively quicker until he secured a getaway with an unbeatable 1:53.320s on the final lap.

Harrison had peaked too early and was then in the sights of Morris, who passed him on the penultimate lap. Harrison would have been able to attack given another lap, but the clock favoured Morris, who was second with Harrison third.

James Hadfield slipped past father Simon on the final lap to secure fourth place, with Hadfield Senior fifth. Murphy, Shortland and McDonald followed. Ted Pearson was a strong ninth in his Merlyn Mk11A/17, having got the better of Richard Freye in a 1988 Reynard and Nigel Grant in the Van Diemen RF91 sometimes raced by son Callum. Grant, who had not raced since 2017, had won a prior skirmish with Stuart Kestenbaum’s Van Diemen RF81. Grant was 11th and Kestenbaum 13th, with a resurgent Hodgen between them.

Other Historic and Classic entries included Alan Fincham in his Van Diemen RF80, who was 15th, and 21st-placed Michael Wales driving a Merlyn Mk20A. Stuart Dix had entered in his Cooper Chinook, but an accident in qualifying ruled him out.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of BRSCC

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Morris wins Classic race as stewards get tough

Rick Morris, the 2019 Classic Formula Ford champion, has been awarded the win in Race 2 as the stewards got tough on track limits violations.

Morris, driving his black-and-red Royale RP29, was third on-track, having run as high as second in a tough chasing group behind Tom McArthur’s Hawke.

McArthur received a 45-second penalty for repeatedly cutting the track, dropping him from first to eighth. Henry Chart was also hit by a five-second track limits penalty, meaning his Van Diemen RF81 lost one place and was classified third, behind Jordan Harrison’s Lola T540E.

This was a disappointing conclusion to a race that was actually exciting and surprising. Morris put in one of his best performances of the season, steering through a group that included Chart, Richard Tarling’s Crossle, Harrison and Joe Ahrens, in a Van Diemen RF80.

McArthur carved out a lead early on when Chart’s car popped out of gear on the line and Tarling found himself boxed in somewhat. He soon disappeared down the road, leaving the rest of the group to scrap it out.

Tarling was the original fastest challenger and almost pulled out a lead, but a resurgent Chart and Harrison were soon pushing him hard, surrounding him at every opportunity. A collison with Harrison at Redgate meant that Tarling had to retire, leaving Morris, Chart and Harrison in contention. Chart looked to have the advantage and opened a gap, but it was a small one and his penalty cancelled it out. Harrison claimed second spot and Chart was third after penalties.

Ahrens had fallen off the back of their group a little on the final lap, but was safely ahead of the next group, led at the end by Andy Gosling in a Van Diemen RF79. Gosling had done a good job a repositioning himself at the front of the pack, fending off the attentions of Stuart Kestenbaum’s RF81 and the Royales of Peter Barrable and Philip Senior. Barrable lost some time on the final lap and lost touch, while Senior was able to capitalise and was sixth behind Gosling. Kestenbaum ended up in the gravel in the last-lap melee, having led the group. Barrable was seventh, ahead of McArthur on the timesheets.

Mark Harrison ended up being promoted to ninth in his Royale RP24 after Mike Gardner (Crossle 30F) also received a five-second penalty for track limits. Gardner had stopped on lap 3 and entered the pits, apparently to re-fasten his helmet strap. He had shown top-five pace but was behind after his pit visit.

Image copyright Andrew Ellis

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Tarling wins game of four-wheeled snakes and ladders

Richard Tarling has won a very up-and-down Classic Formula Ford race, taking the lead after a safety car period.

Tarling, driving Steve Deeks’s Crossle 25F after his Royale broke a gearbox mounting in testing, did not look like the winner at the start, getting left behind in a spray of water and wheelspin. However, his big lead at the end did not tell the full story either.

It was Henry Chart’s Van Diemen RF81 that had the initial pace and Tarling got the better of him after a slow safety car restart. Chart, having had a big lead neutralised, found himself too close to a rapidly slowing course car to get a fast take-off, allowing Tarling to pass him, taking Tom McArthur’s Hawke with him in a mob manoeuvre. Chart was then dropped further down the order by a spin.

It did not take too long for Tarling to leave McArthur behind, although he tried his hardest to retake the lead, even going round the outside of Tarling at the Old Hairpin at one point. He spun late on, dropped several places and recovered to fifth.

Chart took a more measured approach and progressed from sixth to second, waiting until Peter Barrable (Royale RP26) and Joe Ahrens’s Van Diemen RF80 had spins and moving forward. His last scalp was Jordan Harrison’s Lola T540E; Harrison was struggling to keep his car in a straight line and to maintain any speed coming out of corners and he was quite happy with third.

Rick Morris’s Royale RP29 was fourth, having held position quite strongly for most of the race. Barrable was some way behind in fifth, having run as high as third, with Ahrens behind.

Mike Gardner had a relatively quiet race in seventh place, his Crossle 30F proving too quick for Andy Gosling’s Van Diemen RF79 but not fast enough to keep up with the chasing group. Gosling was ninth.

Stuart Kestenbaum, in another RF81, was tenth, having won a personal contest with Philip Senior’s Royale RP21, another replacement car following a testing accident. Senior was also another spinner, one of many.

The safety car was triggered by Kevin Wernham’s yellow Royale RP24 becoming stuck in the gravel at Redgate. He was unable to continue.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Come fly with me: Donington qualifying roundup

The rain fell but racing carried on, just as aircraft kept taking off from the airport next door.

Historic Formula Ford opened proceedings, with Classic Team Merlyn driver Samuel Harrison setting a huge 1:27.433s pole lap on his final turn around the circuit. Callum Grant, in another Merlyn, also saved his best for last and will start second, just ahead of Tom McArthur’s Titan, which had been holding second spot. Jamie Vinall Meyer was the only other driver to go under the 1:30 mark and will start from fourth in his Jamun T3.

Cormac Flanagan also picked up the pace towards the end of qualifying and will start from fifth in his Alexis. Ross Drybrough (March 703) leads the Over 50 group in sixth, ahead of Ted Pearson (Merlyn Mk11/17), the Mk20s of Rob Smith and Chris Porritt and Chris Stuart’s Mk11. Newcomer Damian Samuel-Camps was a strong 11th in another Mk20.

Scott Rawlinson (Merlyn) was one of three drivers disqualified for failing ride height tests and will start from the back.

Classic Formula Ford had some surprises. Richard Tarling, back in Steve Deeks’s Crossle 25F after his own car’s gearbox mounting broke in practice, was the fastest, three-quarters of a second quicker than a returning Henry Chart in his Van Diemen RF81. McArthur will start third, despite a number of spins in a new car, a Hawke DL2 previously raced by James Hadfield.

Peter Barrable held on to fourth in his Royale RP26, despite a late charge by several drivers. He will line up ahead of champion Jordan Harrison, whose Lola T540E does not always go well in the wet. He will be hoping to attack early on and make up ground.

Don Hardman’s two drivers, Rick Morris (Royale RP29) and Stuart Kestenbaum (Van Diemen RF81) are enxt to each other in sixth and seventh, with Mike Gardner’s Crossle extremely close behind Kestenbaum. Joe Ahrens will start ninth in his RF80, with Andy Gosling tenth, despite not looking forward to racing on a wet track.

There were fewer surprises at the front of the Formula Ford 2000 grid, with Benn Simms’s Reynard SF77 setting the benchmark time this weekend. Graham Fennymore had to settle for second, albeit only a few tenths behind in his SF81.

They will both have to look over their shoulders as Andrew Park’s SF81 is not far behind. Park does not always get the best start, but is reliably quick. An in-form Lee Bankhurst will also want to capitalise on any mistakes at the start, having been fourth-quickest in his Royale RP30.

Drew Cameron’s RP27 will line up fifth after Cameron missed the Cadwell meeting, with Adrian Langridge’s SF78 a few seconds slower in sixth. Andrew Storer’s 1979 Reynard came within a hair’s breadth of catching him, but had to settle for seventh.

Adrian Reynard will start from eighth in his Reynard 79SF, with the SF79 of Greg Robertson ninth. Tom Smith leads Class B in his Nomad Mk4 and will start from tenth spot.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Hot or not? Donington preview

The weather may be an uncertainty for the weekend: will it be hot or will it be as wet as Cadwell? We are certain, however, that there will be some Formula Ford action.

Historic Formula Ford starts the weekend, with Cadwell winners and title contenders Samuel Harrison and Tom McArthur both back in action. Both the Merlyn Mk20 of Harrison and McArthur’s Titan Mk4 are fast enough to win and McArthur will be wanting to put his Cadwell crash behind him.

Joining them at the front will be an old and a new face. Callum Grant had to sit out Cadwell as his Merlyn Mk20 had developed a crack in its chassis, but it will be ready to go by Saturday morning. Jamie Vinall-Meyer, who suprised some with his pace at Silverstone, will be out in the Jamun Mk3.

Damian Samuel-Camps will be making his debut as a team-mate to Grant in another Mk20. The nephew of Max Samuel-Camps has not raced before but has a good car underneath him.

Also under the Grant awning will be championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson in his Mk11/17. The continued absence of Brian Morris and his Lola will mean that the Over 50 contest will be between Pearson, Rob Smith’s Merlyn and Ross Drybrough’s March. It will probably be carried out well within the top ten. Cormac Flanagan’s Alexis will likely be among them.

Neil Fowler has a smaller stable of cars to look after this weekend, so we may see Jack Butterworth out again in his Lola, although he is not an official entry.

McArthur is bound to star again in Classic Formula Ford, driving Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, but with Jordan Harrison finally getting to grips with a wet setup on his Lola T540E, the weather will play less into his hands than it would have done at the start of the season.

Henry Chart is racing again and tends to enjoy a wet track in his Van Diemen RF81. Last year, he had a terrific scrap with Cam Jackson and he cannot be ruled out for a win. If Richard Tarling has worked out a strong setup for his overhauled Royale RP26, he will also be a danger to Harrison and McArthur.

Tarling’s Enigma team-mate Joe Ahrens will be looking to put his misfortune at Cadwell behind him, when a stub axle on his Van Diemen RF80 broke and sent him into a wall. Another driver hoping to bounce back from a Cadwell crash is Philip Senior, whose Royale RP24 appears to have been sorted following a practice accident.

Andy Gosling, on the other hand, ran well at Cadwell in his Van Diemen RF79 and will be confident coming into Donington.

Returning drivers include championship chairman Stuart Kestenbaum in his Van Diemen RF81 and Rudolf Ernst, who is driving a Titan alongside McArthur in Simon Hadfield’s team.

There is no prize for guessing that Benn Simms and Graham Fennymore will be at the front in Historic Formula Ford 2000. The two Reynard drivers have been in a class of their own all season and keep pushing each other to faster and faster times.

They will be joined by Andrew Park this time, in a 1981 Reynard. The multiple champion can never be disregarded as long as his car is not suffering from problems, which have been mysterious ones at times. Lee Bankhurst will be hot on his tail in his Royale RP30, having kept his hand in with a class win at least week’s Jochen Rindt Trophy.

Another Royale is likely to be near the front as Drew Cameron is back on track. He has had time to fix the problems that curtailed both of his races at Silverstone, where his RP27 was the quickest car in a straight line.

The absence of Jen and Graham Ridgway frees their usual mechanic Tom Smith up to race imself this weekend. He will be out in his unique Nomad Mk4, which has only been raced once in the past 42 years.

Ollie Roberts will be praying for rain, as he counts a wet Donington as his favourite track. The Reynard SF79 driver has been more reliably quick in recent weeks.

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

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