Classic Formula Ford Features HSCC

One last roll of the dice…

Steve Deeks is making his Formula Ford return in 2022, returning to the series where his career began. He talks to Vintage Formula Ford about endings, beginnings and why Formula Ford is still relevant today.

2022 is going to be Steve Deeks’s last season in a single-seater. After calling time on a nine-year professional career some time ago, the Stratford-based presenter and driver coach was bitten by the bug again at the 2018 Walter Hayes Trophy, when he borrowed Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80.

“It was that that reminded me, how much I loved the formula which I left behind in 1989,” is how Deeks summed it up.

At that time, he did not intend to stay in Formula Ford any longer than he needed to. It was a step on the single-seater ladder that he hoped, like his rivals, would lead to a Formula One race seat.

“Obviously I was conscious that Senna had done it, and Mansell had done it., James Hunt…everybody, I mean everybody did Formula Ford when I started out. It was a big deal.

“I did six races in ’85, because that’s all the money I had. I owned my own car. It was a Hawke DL11. And I did another six races in ’86. So I can tell you, when I started out, Formula Ford was taken really seriously.”

Even taking the first steps as a racing driver had to be taken very seriously. Deeks did not have a childhood spent karting and learning the ropes. He and his brother grew up in care, being moved between different foster homes around Europe and being more concerned about “staying out of childrens’ homes and having enough to eat” than lap times.

Still, he carried a dream of being a professional racing driver and set about earning enough money to do so, as soon as he was old enough. He became a hotel chain’s youngest manager.

“I got a bonus for running this hotel which was doing really well financially, and I spent all my bonus on buying an old Hawke DL11.

“I got a group of the staff who were friends, chefs and waiters at the hotel. We ran that first racing car from the garage at the back of the hotel. We hadn’t got a fucking clue what we were doing. Literally, my mechanics were commis chefs and kitchen porters. As a manager I would do the rotas, so I would rota the staff’s days off, even if it wasn’t good for the hotel, so they could come to test days and races with me.”

Deeks is always quick to credit those who have supported him. The motley crew of hotel workers were not his only allies during this period of his career. Former BTCC racer Mike Jordan was also a big help during the early days. Having seen Deeks set the fastest-ever pupil lap at the Mallory Park racing school, he offered him a job instructing at the track.

“Basically, my pay when I worked for Mike was every day, he’d give me ten laps. I would be strapped in and do ten laps in one of the school Formula Fords. I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world. Through my own wit and cunning, I managed to broker that deal. I got no money, but I got what I wanted.”

Initially, he raced in Pre-’74 Formula Ford and ran as high as third at the Pre-’74 Formula Ford Festival. His big break in a modern car came when he swapped a Formula First car he had bought for five races with a professional team in the Top Gear Winter Formula First championship, held at Brands Hatch. He was second in his first race and was talent-spotted by the Performance Engineering Services team for the junior Formula Ford championship in 1989. This ended with the 1989 Festival, where he was shunted off the track in a tangle with Adrian Fernandez, while driving the BBC Grandstand camera car.

Indycar racer and ALMS champion Fernandez is only one of the names that Deeks has raced against. Warren Hughes, Kelvin Burt and David Coulthard were regulars on the Formula Ford grid at the time. All of them, were “ferociously career-minded” and keen to move on to the next stage.

Racing becomes more expensive as a driver progresses and Deeks has always been always been good at gaining sponsors and forming partnerships, through necessity to begin with. Usually this was beneficial, although his strong loyal streak meant that he did not always jump teams when he could have done and was not always in the best cars.

Fast forward to now. The answer to the question “why Formula Ford again?” is simple.

“When I did the Hayes in Tarling’s car, I absolutely fucking loved it.”

This, however, was not his original plan. About five years ago, he was approached by someone to run in HSCC ’70s Roadsports, driving a Porsche 911, once the car was finished. As is the way with so many classic car projects, the Porsche is still not quite ready.

“It owes me an absolute fortune,” he says of the Porsche, which he has still not raced.

Hard times hit again in 2020 with Covid-19 and lockdowns, and in a roundabout way, this pushed him back towards Formula Ford. Faced with the closure of his business and a complete lack of work, Deeks had to downsize and find some alternative income. This came via Tarling, whose father offered him some labouring work, which kept him going through the first lockdown. He remains incredibly grateful to the Tarling family for this.

The coronavirus crisis hit him hard, but Deeks is more used to adversity than many and managed to create opportunities. Their friendship led to a greater co-operation with Linton Stutely’s Enigma team, which runs Tarling’s cars.

“Over the course of the last year, Tarling became one of my very best friends. Stutely the same. Being involved in Enigma – I coach pupils, I coach drivers, then I take them to Enigma. Keeping it in the family, effectively.”

The partnership’s first success has been Joe Ahrens, who was coached by Deeks in a Mazda MX5, bought with Enigma, and had a strong debut year in Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80 in Classic Formula Ford.

Lockdown also triggered some reflection for Deeks, who had to sell off his detached home, motorcycle and sports car to stay afloat; almost everything apart from his famous Bengal cat. It stirred his old determination not to let circumstances set him back.

“I vowed never to waste a single second. I lost a year and a half of my life. Financially it wiped me out. So I thought, this is it. One last roll of the dice.”

Formula Ford was the obvious choice. He rates his 1989 Van Diemen as the best car he has ever driven, and Tarling and Stutely have a wealth of experience in working with the cars. Inicdentally, the RF89 has admirers further afield: it was shipped to Australia where it still runs in historics there, with a replica livery from 1989 including sponsor logos from companies that no longer exist, a tribute described by Deeks as “awesome”.

There is a sense of ending by returning to the beginning and completing a circle, but it isn’t just nostalgia driving this. Despite nominally leaving the category behind in 1989, he is still a great supporter of Formula Ford as a training ground for aspiring drivers. Other junior series have come and gone, but it endures and he believes it still has a lot to offer.

“When my pupils ask me what I should race, I tell them, if you are in it because you want to be a racer, forget about posing, or driving round looking cool, or being an Instagram bunny, if you’re in it because you want to race, I mean really want to race, there’s only one formula to do. And it’s the same today as it was in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and it’s Formula Ford 1600.

“You will have the closest racing that you will ever have in any car race formula. There’s nothing better.”

The close nature of the racing is not the only thing to recommend it.

“It’s like that children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are”. When you’ve seen an intense Formula Ford heat for the Hayes, for example, it just makes other racing look pretty timid. Formula Ford has an extra dimension. You have to have your wits about you. You have to be hungry, you have to be brutal and you have to have fantastic racecraft. And you can’t use your car as a battering ram really, as you won’t get away with it. You’re not going to finish.”

From young drivers to not-so-young drivers: with several of his old rivals out on track, including Kelvin Burt, Warren Hughes and Chris Goodwin, racing in 2022 will be recreational for Deeks.

“Back in the day, if I wasn’t absolutely on the money, I’d be sulking the big one,” he admits. “I was only interested in being on pole, or fastest lap or whatever. Anything else was absolute ruin. This time around, I’m still hungry for success and still competitive, and still want to be as good as I can be, but this time I’m going to concentrate on enjoying it, rather than beating myself up if I’m not on pole.

“To a degree, I took it too much for granted, that it was my divine right to be in a racing car. Whereas now all these years later, I know it’s just a blessing.

“At my age, to be back in a racing car? Fuck it, that’s cool enough.”

He will be racing a Crossle 25F in HSCC Classic Formula Ford in 2022. The car, which made him “grin like a Cheshire cat”, was raced by Richard Morgan in period and was highly successful, with more than thirty wins in the 1974 season.

As of now, Deeks is unsure how many races he will enter, although he plans to include the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy in his programme.

(Images copyright Steve Deeks)

Classic Formula Ford Features Walter Hayes Trophy

Racing a Kenny Acheson tribute car in front of Kenny Acheson himself

When Warren Hughes agreed to race Jonathan Lewis’s Royale RP26 in Kenny Acheson’s colours, he did not realise he would be competing in front of Acheson himself.

He had already qualified in seventh spot for the Carl Hamer pre-final at this weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy when the Northern Irish former F1 driver showed up.

According to Hughes, it was Acheson’s wife who saw the Royale mentioned in a news article and told him about it.

Hughes had a chat with Acheson in the garages before the Carl Hamer Trophy pre-final.

“It’s not the same car, ” clarified Hughes. “It’s almost a tribute car”.

“He still owns the original car. He’s got quite a few of his old cars. His old F3 car and a Sauber Group C car as well.”

It’s mega that Jonathan (Lewis)’s done this and brought it to the Walter Hayes, because it’s attracted the interest from people like Kenny.”

Acheson was around to watch “his” car in action.

“It’s really flattering that someone thought about putting the car in my colours,” he commented on Saturday.

Despite his ownership of several classics, it seems he hasn’t had them out to play for a while.

“This is the first time I’ve seen Formula Ford running in probably 25, 30 years.

“It’s still the heartbeat of the sport and it’s really nice that it’s the same thing that I did when I was a kid.”

Hughes, who has largely retired from active competition but still remains very active as a test driver and driver coach, described the Royale as “great fun”. He finished eighth in the pre-final and fifth in the pre-’82 final, despite his last time in a single-seater being “probably Formula 3000 back in 2000.”

Classic Formula Ford Historic Formula Ford Walter Hayes Trophy

First win for Samuel Harrison in Carl Hamer pre-final

Samuel Harrison has taken his first Formula Ford win in the qualifying race for tomorrow’s Carl Hamer Trophy, from sixth on the grid.

The regular HSCC frontrunner was having his first outing in a Merlyn Mk20: the car raced by championship runner-up Horatio Fitz-Simon this year, no less.

Harrison was locked in a near race-long drafting battle with 2017 Historic champion Richard Tarling, back in his Jamun T2, and Henry Chart, whose Van Diemen RF81 was familiar to Harrison from his appearances in Classic Formula Ford.

Tarling was the quickest off the line and shot past polesitter Chart, setting up the first part of the rivalry. This was in spite of a rush engine change, as a misfire had bent the valves in the Jamun’s engine. By the end of the lap they had been joined by a charging Harrison, just behind them in third. Chart and Tarling initially had the upper hand and exchanged the lead at almost every corner, with Harrison muscling in on the action fairly quickly.

The pivotal moment for the leading group came during the final lap, when Chart spun and dropped to fourth. Harrison seized his chance and put some space between himself and Tarling, holding on for the win.

Patrick McKenna, driving a Crossle 35F for Mike Gardner, was third. He overhauled FF1600 newcomer Molly Dodd early on and stayed within sight of the leaders. Dodd herself was holding her own in the second group with McKenna, Westie Mitchell and Ed Thurston (both in Merlyns), but a late spin at Brooklands dropped her Merlyn right to the back. She fought back to 18th.

Thurston and Mitchell were sixth and seventh, behind another newcomer, Ben Stone, driving the Titan Mk4 raced by Tom McArthur in Historics this season. Stone, who had only ever raced Radicals before, made his way into the top five from tenth on the grid.

A trio of Royales followed, starting with the Kenny Acheson tribute RP26 driven by former BTCC and Le Mans racer Warren Hughes. Rick Morris was next in his familiar RP29, having made up a good few places from 15th. Completing an RP26 sandwich was Peter Barrable in tenth place.

Kelvin Burt, driving the Van Diemen RF80 used by Roberto Moreno and the Formula Ford Festival, got caught up in a three-car collision at Brooklands early on and had to retire. Peter Sikstrom’s RF79 followed him.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC Walter Hayes Trophy

Walter Hayes Trophy: historic ones to watch

The Walter Hayes Trophy is set to begin in just over twelve hours. The last entries are in, heat draws are done and cars are ready.

There’s a strong Historic and Classic contingent in both the main draw and the two pre-’93 finals. Here are Vintage Formula Ford’s top names to look out for.

Samuel Harrison (Merlyn Mk20)

Harrison has landed a really good drive with Classic Team Merlyn, using the same car that took Horatio Fitz-Simon to second in the Historic FF1600 championship. He has been testing the car today and is really happy with how it drives. The Yorkshire teenager has become a much more consistent driver in the second half of the season and with such a good car underneath him, will be looking for a win.

Ed Thurston (Merlyn Mk20)

Thurston has won the Carl Hamer Trophy before, triumphing in 2018 in a Classic Team Merlyn Mk20 like the one that Harrison will be racing. This time, he has taken over Chris Porritt’s Mk20 for the weekend. The car has recovered from its off at the Silverstone Finals and Thurston will be his usual competitive self on a track he likes. His only disadvantage will be his lack of single-seater seat time this year.

Jordan Harrison (Reynard 89FF)

As long as it stays dry, Harrison will be tenacious and very quick around the National loop. The 2021 Classic champion has never raced the 89FF before, but he has had time to test the car, which belongs to Mark Bates. He will be renewing his rivalry with Cam Jackson, also in action in the Janet Cesar Trophy in a Van Diemen RF90, and Ben Tinkler in a similar 89FF. If the track is wet, he may struggle.

Molly Dodd (Merlyn Mk20)

The WHT will be FF2000 racer Molly Dodd’s debut in a FF1600 car, although she has been testing and impressing Simon Hadfield, who will run her this weekend in his wife Mandie’s car. Going from a winged car to the aero-unassisted Merlyn has been a challenge, as Dodd has had to get used to sliding, but she is thoroughly enjoying the adventure. Her cheerful refusal to be intimidated by anyone on track will really help her.

Mark Armstrong (Van Diemen RF85?)

2019 Classic champion Armstrong is a very late entry but he has run well at the WHT in the past, qualifying for the final. He is running as a team-mate to Dodd with Simon Hadfield. Although he has done very little racing in the last 18 months, having sold his own Van Diemen, he has plenty of experience of the track itself, having served as chief instructor at Silverstone’s racing school.

Classic Formula Ford Formula Ford Festival Historic Formula Ford

Historics go to the Formula Ford Festival

(Pictured: Chris Knox’s Van Diemen RF79)

The Brian Jones Trophy was the event’s Historic Final, although the cut-off point was 1998 rather than 1982 and genuine historic cars were outnumbered and somewhat outgunned.

Former BTCC and truck racer Matt Rivett was the winner in a 1991 Van Diemen, having pulled onto the tail of Darwin Smith’s 1990 version during a safety car period. Rivett had started fourth and spent the early part of the race putting himself into a favourable position to pick off Smith. He need not have bothered, however, as Smith went off on the final lap. Brandon McCaughan was second in a Mondiale M89S, with Chris Goodwin making the most of the final five-lap sprint to put his Van Diemen RF89 in third.

First place was something of a curse on the wet Brands asphalt, as early leader Alan Davidson suffered a series of problems with his 1989 Mondiale and dropped to tenth.

Returning star, the Van Diemen RF80-mounted Roberto Moreno, only lasted a single corner before spinning off into the gravel, triggering a safety car period.

The “proper” historic action was further down the grid, with Robert Higgins’s Macon MR7 the quickest pre-’72 car in 13th place. Higgins, competing alongside sons Richard and Adam, made up several places in the closing stages of the race and finished just ahead of Chris Knox, having his first single-seater race in a Van Diemen RF79. Former Mini racer Knox was perhaps the most impressive of the Historic entries, running as high as eighth for a good portion of the race.

The debut appearance of Shaun Hollamby’s Jamun T3 was also a positive one. Hollamby had been waiting for it to be ready all season and managed to climb to 15th place from the back of a 30-car grid.

Rick Morris usually runs well at the Festival but his Royale RP29 had an argument with the barriers in his semi-final and he dropped a lot of places on the final lap of the historic final, finishing 20th. Stuart Kestenbaum, racing Mark Harrison’s Royale RP21 for the first time, was 23rd.

None of the pre-’82 runners made it in to the Grand Final, won by Jamie Sharp, although Historic regular Samuel Harrison was 14th in a Ray GR07. Knox qualified for the first semi but could only finish 26th, and Morris crashed out of the second.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image copyright Linton Stutely

Classic Formula Ford News

Moreno in historics for Formula Ford Festival

The historic entry at this year’s Formula Ford Festival has been boosted by the arrival of Roberto Moreno, 41 years after the won the event.

Former F1 driver and Indycar race winner Moreno will drive the Van Diemen RF80 that took Cam Jackson to his Classic Formula Ford championship win in 2020.

The car will be run by Jonathan Lewis’s Snetterton Speed Shop team, which helped Tim Harvey to a second place in Classic Formula Ford in 2019. According to Autosport, Lewis acquired the car last year in a part exchange deal for another car he was selling.

Moreno will be reunited with his former mechanic Micky Galter, who worked with him in his own Formula Ford days. The Van Diemen will be carrying the brown Canadian Club livery used by Moreno in 1980.

1980 was his second season in the UK and he won the Townsend Thoresen British Championship as well as the Festival. Among his rivals that year was fourth-placed Rick Morris, who will be in action once more in his Royale RP29.

Classic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Chart the winner in a classy end to the Classic season

Henry Chart has won the final race of the Classic Formula Ford season, following an old-school towing contest at the front with Jordan Harrison and Ben Tinkler.

This is Van Diemen RF81 driver Chart’s second win of the season. Jordan Harrison had already claimed the championship but was still pushing hard in his Lola T540E, giving away the win by the tiniest of margins. They even touched slightly at one point, but lost no real ground.

In the end, it was Chart’s later braking in the final corners that won him the race. He and Harrison were side by side coming into Luffield, but Chart dared to wait that millisecond longer. Harrison chased him down the straight but ran out of room by less than a tenth of a second.

Tinkler, driving a 1980 Van Diemen, was with the duo for much of the race and led several laps, taking advantage of the spinning PRS of Mike Saunders to attack. A spin of his own at Brooklands trying to pass Chart a little later left him in fourth place with too much work to do.

Harrison and Chart continued to trade the lead, with Rick Morris’s Royale RP29 now part of their leading group. Tinkler tried his hardest to get on the back of Morris, but was too far away. Morris in turn harangued Chart at one point when he was behind Harrison, but could not make a move stick. He was third, with Tinkler behind in fourth.

A big gap followed, the Joe Ahrens in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80. Ahrens had been quicker than he was on Saturday and kept on the tail of the leading group for the first few laps, but most of his race was spent in a lonely fifth. Paul Britten had started off behind him, but his PRS developed problems very early and he pulled into the pits. Class B driver Chris Porritt made up a few places to finish sixth in his Lola; someone else who did not have anyone to race with for most of the 15 minutes.

Alan Fincham was seventh in another RF80, then a terrific scrap for eighth ensued. Mark Harrison’s Royale RP21 was the victor, closely followed by Peter Hannam in a Nike, who had in turn got the better of Lola driver Mike Bainbridge. Newcomer Philip Senior, driving a distinctive bright green Royale RP21, was the final part of the group.

Another rear-end battle was won by Richard Yeomans, who had sorted out his car’s holed radiator in time for the start. He was twelfth, ahead of his usual rival, Ben Hadfield in a Van Diemen.

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison sails through the backmarkers to win

Jordan Harrison has secured another Classic Formula Ford win at Silverstone, fending off both his rivals and backmarkers.

Harrison, in his green Lola T540E, was clearly the quickest on the Silverstone National circuit, but it was only in the latter stages of the race that he put any distance between himself and his chief challengers, Henry Chart (Van Diemen RF81) and Ben Tinkler in a 1980 Van Diemen.

Tinkler was combative from the start and climbed to second off the line, but Chart was not giving up easily and kept second place for a good chunk of the 15-minute event. As Harrison managed to get a jump on the rest of the field, Tinkler also reeled in Chart and quickly built up a small lead.

Chart was no slouch and even led very briefly early on, passing Harrison at Brooklands, but Harrison took back his place shortly afterwards. Chart repeatedly harried first Harrison, then Tinkler, but was unable to get a purchase.

Fourth place went to Rick Morris in his Royale RP29, who had been scrapping with Class B driver Simon Toyne for most of the race. Toyne started with the upper hand and did maintain it for a while, but the wily Morris was able to pass him and keep him at bay. Paul Britten followed the pair home in a PRS 81F, having closed the gap to Toyne gradually in the closing laps.

Britten was safely clear of seventh-placed Joe Ahrens, who was struggling with his Van Diemen RF80 and had trouble keeping his revs in the right region. He in turn was considerably ahead of Mark Harrison (Royale RP21). Harrison had been enjoying a robust spat with Lola driver Chris Porritt, but came off best in eighth place. Peter Hannam’s Nike was behind them in tenth.

The yellow flags were out at Brooklands in the opening laps as Richard Yeomans’s Crossle had stopped on-track, having had a collision with the Royale of Philip Senior and come off worse. The Crossle was moved fairly quickly and the race continued with no more interruptions.

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Suprises at Silverstone

Qualifying for the Silverstone Finals has thrown up a few new combinations and set us up for some exciting and close races.

Horatio Fitz-Simon will start from pole in Historic Formula Ford, having set the pace with a highly impressive time of 1.02.997s. The Classic Team Merlyn driver was late getting onto the grid, having not heard his final call, and came straight from earning another pole position in Historic Formula Junior. This was his first real run in a Junior and he is full of confidence.

Cam Jackson’s Winkelmann was only a third of a second behind, with the Titan of Tom McArthur only 0.2s further back. The nature of the National circuit means that competition will be very close and pole position will be difficult to hold.

Another surprise came in the shape of late entry Linton Stutely, driving his Royale RP3 to fifth place, just over a second away from pole. In between him and McArthur was Samuel Harrison’s Elden.

Tim Brise led the Over 50s qualifying charge and will start from seventh in his Merlyn, behind Simon Toyne’s Lola.

Ross Drybrough, still undergoing extensive physio on his injured hand, put his Merlyn in tenth place. Another welcome returnee is Cormac Flanagan, having repaired his Alexis after its first-round shunt.

Champion-elect Jordan Harrison’s Lola on pole was no surprise for Classic Formula Ford, but a late entry from Ben Tinkler split up the expected favourites. Tinkler, in a Van Diemen RF80, was only 0.166s slower than Harrison, despite a spin mid-session. Henry Chart’s RF81 was almost collected, but both carried on and set incredibly similar times. The front three will be extremely close and it will all come down to who breaks the tow first, as long as the start is good and clean.

Class B driver Toyne is making another guest appearance and will start fourth in his Lola, only a couple of hundredths ahead of Rick Morris, who was struggling with understeer. Together with Paul Britten’s PRS, the front six cars are covered by about three-quarters of a second.

Joe Ahrens will start seventh in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80, still less than a second away from second place. Philip Senior’s Royale RP24 is next, followed by series regulars Richard Yeomans (Crossle) and Ben Hadfield (Van Diemen) in ninth and tenth, having qualified well.

Stuart Kestenbaum will be absent after crashing his Van Diemen in practice on Friday.

There were fewer surprises in Formula Ford 2000 qualifying, but a close contest is still assured, with 32 starters and the front seven cars within a second of one another. Graham Fennymore will lead the pack away once more in his Reynard SF81, ahead of Tom Smith, who is not in his rare Nomad FF2000 car but a more standard Reynard SF78.

Benn Simms will line up third and will be hoping to get a decent slipstream off the leaders. Leading Royale driver Ian Pearson was only a whisker off Simms’s time in fourth; Simms will be looking in his mirrors as well as ahead of him.

The SF79s of Greg Robertson and Marc Mercer are in fifth and sixth, then Adrian Reynard’s SF78 and two more SF79s, driven by Andrew Storer and Dan Eagling. Paul Allen is back out in his Delta and will start tenth, ahead of Molly Dodd’s Royale.

Ben Glasswell has had to pull out due to illness. Dad Stephen will start 12th in a Reynard SF79.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Silverstone showdown…

The HSCC Finals are just about to begin at Silverstone. All three Ford-based championships come to a close over the weekend. There are still wins and titles on offer, plus chances to make a reputation at the HSCC’s home circuit.

In Formula Ford 2000, Graham Fennymore has already wrapped up the championship, but he will be wanting to add some more wins to his tally.

Although no-one can catch Fennymore for the title, the field is still highly competitive, with 34 cars registered. Benn Simms will be Fennymore’s chief rival. Having suffered a blown engine and other problems with his yellow Reynard SF77, he will aim to end the season showing what he and the car can do.

Previous champion Andrew Park has only been a part-time presence this year and misses this round, but Royale driver Ian Pearson is there and is sure to be in the mix, alongside Molly Dodd in another Royale.

Jordan Harrison is already Classic Formula Ford Class A champion and as Cam Jackson has not entered the Classic race, he is the favourite for the overall title. His closest rival on the leaderboard is Rick Morris, who does not have the advantage of DNFs to drop from his score but who can be relied upon to be fiercely competitive.

Throughout the season, Henry Chart has been at the front of the pack, battling with both Jackson and Harrison. He has missed the last three races after incurring serious car problems at Oulton Park, losing ground to Morris, but he will be a serious challenger on-track. All three front-runners have combative driving styles and there is a chance of fireworks.

Classic FF1600 stalwart Stuart Kestenbaum is out in his Van Diemen RF79 and could overhaul Chart for third in the championship if the chance arises.

This leaves Historic Formula Ford, where the championship door is still open, with three drivers in with a chance of stepping through it.

The three contenders are, predictably, Jackson, Tom McArthur and Horatio Fitz-Simon. There are also three races over the weekend, making up for the abandoned one at Brands Hatch, meaning that consistency will be important.

Jackson is driving the Winkelmann that took him to the 2019 championship and he usually goes well on the tow-heavy Silverstone National circuit. McArthur, in Simon Hadfield’s Titan, is 27 points behind with 75 available and comes into the Finals with four back-to-back wins. He is also the only driver to defeat Jackson in a fair fight, at Donington this year.

Fitz-Simon is only six points behind Jackson in the standings and had got quicker as the season progressed, but he has not yet managed a win. He burst onto the Historic scene at Silverstone National in 2019, finishing third in the Historic final, and is comfortable around the National layout. He was also in the Classic Team Merlyn Mk20, the same car he will use tomorrow. His strong battling streak should serve him well.

The Over 50 class championship will probably go to Brian Morris, but Kevin Stanzl caught up with two good scores at Mallory. We will also see the return of Ross Drybrough in his March 709. Drybrough has an outside chance of an Over 50 win, but whichever way it goes, his appearance will be a triumphant return after his nasty hand injury at Brands Hatch.

Image courtesy of Dan Bichener