Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison stars in dramatic Classic closer

Jordan Harrison has won his second Classic Formula Ford encounter of the weekend, putting just over 23 seconds between his Lola T540E and his nearest rival.

Harrison was initially challenged by Henry Chart, but Chart’s Van Diemen RF81 broke a rose joint and dropped its driver to sixth. He struggled on for a few laps and even seemed to rally for a while, but he retired on lap four.

Classic newcomer Ian “Parky” Parkington was one of the first to benefit from Chart’s misfortune. He put his ex-Tiff Needell Crossle ahead of Jake Shortland’s Lola T440 fairly early, having had a decent squabble with the young driver over what was third place. Parkington was second when the flag fell, some three seconds ahead of Shortland.

Rick Morris was part of the Parkington/Shortland rivalry for the first three laps, waiting in his Royale RP29 for either of them to slip up. He attacked both and briefly passed Parkington, but tangling with Shortland’s wheel sent his car flying. The gearbox was cracked on landing and Morris had to steer his noseless car into the pits.

Shortland then had Joe Ahrens in a Van Diemen RF80 to deal with. Ahrens ran as high as third and even attacked Parkington, but he was pipped on the line by Shortland, who took third by just over a tenth of a second.

Shortland’s coming-together with Morris dropped him behind series regular Alan Fincham, who held on for fifth in his RF80, albeit quite a long way behind. There was another big gap to sixth-placed Colin Williams in his PRS, but he was only marginally ahead of Paul Crosbie’s RF80. The two had been close throughout the race.

Class B winner Oliver Chapman (Lola T200) was eighth and Mark Harrison, father of Jordan and driving a Royale, was ninth. Tenth was taken by Jon Nash’s Van Diemen RF80, who just nipped into the top ten ahead of Mike Wrigley’s Class B Merlyn Mk11A.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image by Richard Towler

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jordan Harrison sees off modern rivals

Jordan Harrison has come out on top of a mixed Classic and Heritage Formula Ford field, fending off the 2018 car of Rory Smith.

Harrison’s Lola T540E is 40 years old, but he still managed to keep ahead of Smith’s 2018 Medina Sport, as well as his usual Classic sparring partner, Henry Chart.

Harrison had finished third in the combined qualifying and a 20-second head start on the Heritage racers helped, but it was an assured performance. Smith only got within striking distance on the final lap, passing Chart’s Van Diemen RF81. It had been Chart who threatened Harrison’s lead at a couple of points earlier and there was very little between the two for most of the race. Chart was unable to capitalise on a late excursion onto the grass by Harrison as he was trying to pass a backmarker and unable to take advantage. He was third on track, second in the Classic standings.

Another Lola, that of Jake Shortland, was a surprise frontrunner. He qualified fourth and had a lengthy tussle with Rick Morris’s Royale RP29, evetually prevailing over the 2019 champion. Morris did not make it easy for Shortland and refused to let the Lola driver get away. He hung on for much of the race before being passed by Ian Parkington in a Crossle 25F. Parkington had overhauled Joe Ahrens fairly early and maintained a steady presence behind Morris.

Ahrens, driving Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80, briefly got past Shortland at the start but was quickly re-passed and had to settle for seventh, sixth in the Classic race.

Alan Fincham was the next Classic finisher in another RF80, in twelfth place after keeping in touch with four Heritage runners. Class B winner Oliver Chapman was next in a Lola T200, followed at a distance by Paul Crosbie’s RF80 and Mark Harrison in a Royale.

Away from the front-row action, the quick and decisive action of marshals prevented a red flag. Heritage drivers Neil Hunt (Mondiale M92S) and Stuart Jones (Van Diemen RF85) collided on the start line but both cars were able to be wheeled to safety before the rest of the field reappeared. Simon Jackson, wo competed in Classic in a Javelin, was also caught up in a first-lap crash with David Billington’s Van Diemen and had to retire his Lanan 1604.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image by Richard Towler

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Gold Cup is go…

Racing action is set to get under way at Oulton Park tomorrow afternoon, as Historic and Classic Formula Ford and Formula Ford 2000 take to the track.

Qualifying for Historic Formula Ford and the Paul Simms Trophy has already taken place, with Tom McArthur on pole in Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4. McArthur at the front is not unusual, but the top places on the grid have a rather different look. Multiple champion Cam Jackson is sitting out this round, meaning that another new winner for this season is possible.

Horatio Fitz-Simon, driving for Classic Team Merlyn, put in a late burst of speed on a crowded track to set second-fastest time, ahead of the Merlyn of Callum Grant. Grant, returning to the championship after a break, led the session early on.

Samuel Harrison was another late surger, saving his fastest lap for last and putting his Elden Mk8 in fourth. Brian Morris (Lola T202) will line up next, having been impressive for the whole session. Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn will start from sixth, pushed out of the top five by Harrison.

Danny Stanzl was a steady top-ten presence and will start seventh in his Elden, ahead of Paul Unsworth’s Lola, Tim Brise in a Merlyn and Kevin Stanzl in a Crossle, who bumped James Russell (Merlyn Mk20) out of the top ten as Russell sat in the pits. Championship chairman Ted Pearson is making his return to the series in his Merlyn and will start from twelfth.

Jackson is also missing from the Classic grid. The two races are likely to become a battle between Henry Chart in his ex-Tim Harvey Van Diemen and Jordan Harrison, driving a Lola T540E. Both drivers have recorded wins during the season and as long as the weather is dry, both will be very quick. 2019 champion Rick Morris cannot be counted out either, although he has been struggling with tyres and set-up on his Royale RP29 this season. His Don Hardman Racing team-mate Stuart Kestenbaum will not be on-track.

Joseph Ahrens will be looking to improve on his previous performances. Newcomer Ahrens has shown top-five pace in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen and will be in with a chance.

The first Classic race will share a grid with Heritage Formula Ford. McArthur will be racing in a 2017 Medina.

Formula Ford 2000 will also feature a wide-open top end. Benn Simms is back in action in his Reynard SF77 after taking a break to move house and sort out a blown engine. Championship leader Graham Fennymore will not be letting him get away and Andrew Park will also be keen to challenge; two 1981 Reynards will be in the mix with Simms’s yellow car. Races this year have mostly been dominated by Simms or Fennymore, but a three-way lead scrap is a clear possibility.

Molly Dodd (Royale RP27) will be out to make up for losing her win at Brands Hatch due to a transponder problem. The Spalding teenager might not be quite on the pace of Simms and Fennymore yet, but a top-five finish is a distinct possibility.

Classic Formula Ford Features HSCC

Ben Tinkler talks comebacks

When I ran into Classic Formula Ford front-runner and former champion Ben Tinkler at Brands Hatch, he had his head under the bonnet of someone else’s car.

“I’m checking the fuel on a Lotus Elan, ready for the Guards Trophy race,” he explained. “I’m working (for the Wolfe team) and having a little bit of a play in the Formula Ford.”

This time last year, Tinkler would have described driving his Van Diemen RF80 rather differently, having threatened to sell it after an attempt at a comeback from a dramatic accident at Donington.

“Last year, I’d had my accident and I came out again. It just took a little bit of time to click again.”

Tinkler chose the Oulton Park round to try out his rebuilt car, which ended up being red flagged due to a series of accidents. This time, he had a smoother re-introduction and finished third.

“I didn’t really want to sell it,” he says of the RF80. “I put it up for sale just to see what the market was like. I didn’t really want to, it’s so much fun to drive and it’s a really good series.

“I have falled in love with it again over the weekend.”

Tinkler is not racing in this weekend’s Oulton Park Gold Cup, but he hopes to be out again in the Classic championship this season. He has also been competing in the BRSCC Northern championship in a Ray, for Don Hardman’s team.

Champion of Brands Classic Formula Ford Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Three series in one weekend with Chris Porritt

The first of two slightly belated weekend roundup posts features Formula Ford 1600 racer Chris Porritt, who started five races over the long weekend in his Lola T200.

He started the weekend with a seventh place in the Champion of Brands event on Friday, as the only pre-’72 car on the grid. The winner was Matt Rivett in a 1991 Van Diemen, followed by James Hadfield in a Van Diemen RF03. Hadfield appears occasionally in Classic Formula Ford and races a number of historic cars alongside his father, Simon.

“I had a bit of fun with my old girl with the newer cars,” is Porritt’s take on the Friday race.

“The only difference [with modern cars] is that they’re very narrow, so they create much less slipstream than an older car. So with an old car, they can all just queue up behind me and just drive past me on the straight!”

He is used to multiple starts during a weekend.

“I normally race a car in the Aurora series as well as Formula Ford.

“It’s a little bit less stressful in one car, unless the races are directly one after the other, like they were at Donington.”

Wear and tear on a car can also be a factor when it is getting this much use, but Porritt isn’t too worried.

“I’ve got some spares for this car if I need them. And I’m not super hard on it, like the boys at the front.”

He will next be in action at the Silverstone Classic, driving in the Formula 2 race.

Image courtesy of Dan Bichener

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson gets lucky in tricky Classic race

Cam Jackson needed all the good fortune he could get in the second Classic race at Brands Hatch, but he still managed to win.

Winkelmann driver Jackson benefited from countback on a restart and was quicker off the line than Henry Chart’s Van Diemen, who was nominally ahead. Chart was determined to keep with Jackson and attacked on several occasions, but conditions intervened and he spun on the final lap. Chart admitted after the race that he didn’t know why his brakes locked up, but the track was slippery and gave him no chance. He was fourth in the end.

The race could have been very different without a red flag. An F3 car went off at Paddock Hill Bend and changed everything. At this point, Chart was ahead, having got on the back of Jackson fairly quickly and passed him efficiently. Just after the F3 off, Jackson had a spin of his own and went sliding through the gravel at Paddock Hill. He rejoined in fifth and would have struggled to get back with Chart without a restart.

Ben Tinkler (Van Diemen RF80) was second, adding to his podium finish yesterday. He was troubled by Jordan Harrison’s Lola T540E and briefly passed but he had put a couple of seconds between himself and Harrison by the time the chequered flag came out.

Harrison confessed to having got his tyre pressures all wrong, but he was far quicker and more comfortable on a dry track.

Rick Morris was very close to Chart on the line, but the experienced Royale driver claimed that it was one of the most frightening races he had been in, due to oil on the track.

Joseph Ahrens was sixth in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80, having got ahead of Stuart Kestenbaum’s 1979 machine. Kestenbaum was safely ahead of new Classic driver Simon Toyne, who steered his Lola to eighth from the back of the grid, having failed to finish on Saturday. The similar car of Chris Porritt was ninth, but some way behind. Mark Harrison was tenth in his Royale RP21.

Also coming from the back of the grid was Simon Clews, in his distinctive frog-green Royale RP24. He made strong progress in the early part of the race. James Fettiplace, who had ploughed a Van Diemen RF80 into him the day before, was 17th, both drivers having repaired their cars overnight.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Richard Towler

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson defeats the rain

Cam Jackson has capitalised on a late entry in to the Classic championship with a win in the first race at Brands Hatch.

Jackson had qualified his Winkelmann in second place but got a good start and was never seriously challenged for the win. Henry Chart also got a great start in his Van Diemen RF81 and held second for the entire race, which was cut to twelve minutes after a full restart.

Jordan Harrison was hoping for a better restart after slipping to fifth in his Lola T540E, but wet tracks are not his favourite and he was left behind again, passed by Jackson and Chart on the line and then reeled in by first Ben Tinkler (Van Diemen RF80) and Rick Morris in his familiar black Royale. He ended the race in fifth.

Tinkler was a lonely but safe third in his first Classic race for a long while. The erstwhile champion took third within a lap of the restart and stayed there. Morris had more work to do, having slipped down the order as low as seventh before using his considerable experience to master the wet track.

Experience was really needed on the wet-but-not-really-wet surface, coupled with backmarkers from the Historic Formula 3 championship. Stuart Kestenbaum followed Harrison home for sixth in his Van Diemen RF79, in front of a disappointed Joe Ahrens (Van Diemen RF80) who made up a few places to finish seventh.

Chris Porritt, who is taking part in three different series this weekend, was eighth in his Lola, a good 11 seconds ahead of Ross Drybrough, making an appearance in the March 709 used so effectively by Jackson last year.

Ian Jeary’s first outing of the year in his Elden gave him a tenth place. Mark Harrison won the first big midfield scrap in 11th, driving a Royale RP21. Phil Attwood was the winner of the battle at the back, finishing 14th in a Crossle 32F.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Richard Towler

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Brands Hatch Superprix: qualifying round-up

Qualifying is now complete for the weekend’s Grand Prix circuit action, although changeable weather conditions mean that setups might need a little tweaking if paces are to be matched.

Jordan Harrison has put his Lola T540E on pole for Classic Formula Ford, beating late entry Cam Jackson fair and square, if only by 0.024s. Harrison admits to not liking wet races, but he also struggled with backmarkers during the session and is capable of going quite a lot faster. Jackson’s Winkelmann was similarly impeded, as was the Van Diemen RF81 of Henry Chart. Chart enjoys a wet track and will be keen to progress from third. Horatio Fitz-Simon was a little further back in his Merlyn Mk20, but it is unclear whether he is going to start the race, possibly promoting Ben Tinkler (Van Diemen RF80) to fifth. Rick Morris’s Royale RP21 was next, then another Lola driven by Simon Toyne. Stuart Kestenbaum (Van Diemen RF79), Jospeh Ahrens in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen and Ross Drybrough’s March 709 complete the top ten.

Jackson managed pole position for the Historic race, closely followed by Fitz-Simon and Tom McArthur, who defeated him at Donington in the same Titan Mk3. Samuel Harrison is only contesting the Historic rounds this week in his Elden and will start fourth. Toyne and Drybrough secured a second top-ten start each, in fifth and eighth respectively. They were separated by the Elden of Danny Stanzl, on his home circuit, and Will Nuthall’s Jamun T2. Matt Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20) is next, then Brian Morris’s Lola T202.

Ian Pearson and Graham Fennymore line up first and second in Formula Ford 2000, hoping to renew their rivalry from yesterday. Pearson (Royale RP30) will be hoping to avenge his defeat at the hands of Fennymore (Reynard SF81). Fennymore in turn will be hoping that the fuel float issue which scuppered his heat yesterday will not recur.

Andrew Storer is next up in his Reynard SF79, followed by Molly Dodd’s Royale RP27. Dodd will be looking to make up for losing her heat win yesterday. Graham Ridgway’s SF78 is just ahead of Nick Haryett’s SF79 in fifth, with the sister SF79 of Stephen Glasswell just under a second behind Haryett. Nathaniel Cooper’s Royale RP27 breaks up the Reynard train in eighth, followed by two drivers in Reynards, Ian Foley in an SF78 and Colin Wright in an SF79.

(Image courtesy of Richard Towler)

Classic Formula Ford Features FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Brands Hatch Superprix: ones to watch

The HSCC visits Brands Hatch from tomorrow, with all of its Formula Ford series in action over a long weekend. Expectations are high after the superb showing at Donington; who is likely to shine, who’s new and who might cause an upset?

Historic Formula Ford 2000 gets underway tomorrow (Friday) with two heats and a final on the Indy circuit. Graham Fennymore will be hoping to capitalise on the absence of Benn Simms, whose car developed serious problems at Donington, and multi-champion Andrew Park. Ian Pearson was in the mix at Donington and his Royale RP30 is in the opposite qualifying group to Fennymore’s Reynard SF81.

A decent contingent of Van Diemen RF82s will join the Classic F3s, with championship leader Murray Shepherd the likely victor.

FF2000 also gets a run on the Grand Prix circuit on Saturday, adding an extra challenge and an unknown factor for some of the new drivers on the grid.

Classic Formula Ford will be sharing a grid with Historic Formula 3. Cam Jackson has elected not to enter this time, so Henry Chart and Jordan Harrison are likely to resume their battle at the front. Former champion Ben Tinkler will return to to Classic championship for the first time in a while, driving a Van Diemen RF80, and cannot be ruled out as someone who will cause an upset at the business end.

Ross Drybrough is making a rare Classic appearance in his March 709, as raced in Historic by Cam Jackson in 2020 and Max Bartell at the start of this year.

Jackson will be taking his place in Historic Formula Ford as well as sharing a Lenham GT with father Simon in the Guards Trophy. Fireworks are guaranteed as Tom McArthur has decided to join in, following his victory at Donington. Linton Stutely continues to be absent and Callum Grant is sitting this one out, but Horatio Fitz-Simon will be at the front, waiting to pick up as many points as possible and get in position should the leaders get it all wrong. Will Nuthall has entered his Jamun T2 and he may also be quick; the Jamun has proved an effective weapon at Brands in the hands of Richard Tarling..

The Over 50 class has a new challenger with the welcome return of Ted Pearson to the driving seat. Championship chairman Pearson sat 2020 out due to major surgery, but now his son Tom has a rival for their Merlyn Mk11/17.

Classic Formula Ford Features HSCC

Meet Joe Ahrens

Another new face on the Ford-engined grids at Donington was Joe Ahrens, driving an Enigma Motorsport Van Diemen RF80 in Classic Formula Ford. He had a strong debut, earning a seventh and fifth place and showing good overtaking skills in on-track rivalry with PRS driver Paul Britten.

This is rather remarkable considering that the first Classic race was actually his first-ever race in cars. He has competed in international karting and has been around senior motorsport as a driver coach and a mechanic.

Ahrens found it relatively easy to adapt to the Formula Ford.

“Apart from the suspension, it’s not too dissimilar to a go-kart,”, he explained.

“It’s about as close as your can get really, in a car.”

More nerve-wracking than getting used to a new machine was having the car’s owner, 2017 Historic Formula Ford champion Richard Tarling, watching over him.

“It’s a little bit more expensive than a go-kart.”

Ahrens will be in action again at Brands Hatch this weekend and will be hoping to build on his great start. He is planning to race for the rest of the season.

Image courtesy of Richard Towler