Fennymore conquers the rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full results at TSL Timing

FF2000 HSCC Uncategorized

Simms shuts down Fennymore’s challenge at Silverstone

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

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

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

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

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

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Close contests promised at Silverstone: qualifying roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

More champions return: Silverstone International Trophy preview

If Snetterton was all about new leading packs in the HSCC Formula Ford championships, the Silverstone International Trophy is all about previous winners coming back to claim their positions at the front.

Cam Jackson is due to make his Formula Ford 1600 debut for 2022, bringing out his Winkelmann for both the Historic and Classic races after experimenting with Formula Ford 2000 power. He will be renewing his rivalry with Tom McArthur, who will also contest both championships. In Classic, he will be up against another returning winner from last year, Henry Chart, who is also making his first appearance of 2022. Both Chart and 2021 champion Jordan Harrison were able to give Jackson a run for his money in 2021. Richard Tarling will be hoping to have got on top of the teething problems with his Royale that meant he was not able to keep up with Harrison. His Engima team-mate, Joe Ahrens, will be close by, waiting to capitalise on any mistakes.

As well as a confident McArthur, with his Snetterton wheel hub woes firmly behind him, Jackson will have Samuel Harrison to deal with in the two Historic races. Now driving a Classic Team Merlyn Mk20, Harrison will be able to put up a consistent challenge this year. Another Merlyn driver, Ben Mitchell, is coming back to Historics after a break. He took the title battle down to the line against Jackson and Callum Grant in 2018 and always runs well at Silverstone. Having posted top-ten finishes against modern cars in the Castle Combe championship last week, he is not lacking in practice.

With Danny Stanzl’s Elden absent and Matt Wrigley racing in Monaco, Brian Morris’s likely second-group sparring partner will be his Over 50 championship rival, Rob Smith. Simon Toyne’s Lola will likely be joining them.

Newcomers include Britcar racer Jamie Vinall-Meyer in a Jamun T3. Vinall-Meyer showed great pace at the Walter Hayes Trophy a couple of years ago and he could well challenge for podium places.

Dominik Jackson, brother of Cam, will be doubling up in both championships like his brother and McArthur, driving a Crossle 20F. Other double entries for Historic and Classic include Freddie Lillingstone-Price in a Merlyn Mk11.

Andrew Park is back in action in FF2000, meaning that Benn Simms and Graham Fennymore will be looking over their shoulders again. Simms has seemed invincible so far, but the season is still in its early stages and one slip-up can change the direction of any meeting. Fennymore has had time to smooth out new-season issues with his Reynard and will want to make up for his Snetterton troubles. Park, who is not doing the full season, is under less pressure to perform and will perhaps be more relaxed at the start. Without the axle failure that dumped him out of the second Snetterton race, Drew Cameron will not be far off.

It will be an almost all-Reynard grid for the first time in a while, with Cameron among four Royale drivers. Geoff Pashley’s T81 is the sole Delta out and there is one Merlyn Mk28, driven by Antony Raine.


Another Simms double as challengers fall

Benn Simms has completed another HSCC Historic Formkula Ford 2000 double, winning by a big margin from Graham Fennymore.

Apart from the gap, this sounds like a standard FF2000 story, but both Simms and Fennymore were helped by several of their closest challengers retiring.

It felt as if there was a curse on second place. Cam Jackson started his Delta T80 behind Simms and shook off an attack by Ben Glasswell, in a Reynard SF77 like Simms’s. However, he dropped out before the first lap was over with a disconnected HT lead.

This put Glasswell into second, where he remained in what looked like a safe position if quite a way behind Simms. He had made a quick series of passes to third place. Unfortunately for him, his car began misfiring noisily with a probable electrical fault and he had to retire.

Fennymore’s Reynard SF81 had begun in ninth. He worked his way up to fourth quickly, but it took some time to get past Graham Ridgway’s Royale RP27. Glasswell’s retirement promoted him to second, where he reaimed after breaking free of the chasing group.

Ridgway’s car had been subjected to an inspection the night before and the opened rocker cover was leaking oil, causing him to lose speed. He was passed by Glasswell after a good start and then overtaken by Greg Robertson’s SF79 and Stephen Glasswell’s SF79. Glasswell Sr’s car developed an electrical problem like his son’s, quite early, but Robertson continued his charge from sixth and finished the race third. Lee Bankhurst (Royale RP30) was fourth, having spun in the previous race and worked his way back from seventh place on the grid. Ridgway was fifth.

Andrew Storer’s Pukka Pies SF79 was a reliable sixth, some way ahead of the 1978 Reynard of Adrian Langridge. Nathaniel Cooper’s Royale RP27 and Adrian Reynard’s SF79 followed him home a few seconds apart.

Jon Finch completed the top ten in his SF79. With another lap, Ollie Roberts (SF79) might have caught him as he was very close.

Drew Cameron had to stop on the first lap and his Royale RP27 was found to have serious driveshaft problems.

Jen Ridgway was awarded Driver of the Day for her mission from the back of the grid to 15th place, passing many cars with guts and enthusiasm.

Full results at TSL Timing


Simms triumphs as Fennymore struggles

Benn Simms has increased his lead at the top of the Historic Formula Ford 2000 table as his nearest rival faltered.

Simms, driving his distinctive yellow Reynard SF77, showed more of the pace he displayed in qualifying, dipping well under the two-minute mark to keep Graham Fennymore’s SF81 at bay. Fennymore had been gaining slowly on Simms and had actually set the fastest lap of the race, but a broken wishbone slowed him right down and dropped him all the way to ninth place.

This opened the door for Cam Jackson, on his first time out in a Delta T80. He had a slightly hesitant start and was passed by Graham Ridgway’s Royale RP27 off the line, but he soon retook his spot and maintained a solid, if a little distant, third place. The retirement of Drew Cameron’s Royale with a loose wheel took some of the pressure off him, then he was able to pass Fennymore’s ailing car and settle into second.

Third-paced Ben Glasswell was another driver who got an excellent start, working his way up from 11th to sixth fairly quickly. He quickly pushed his SF77 past his father Stephen’s SF79 and then overhauled Ridgway for third, where he stayed. Ridgway was fourth and Glasswell Sr fifth, with the sister SF79 of Greg Robertson very close behind in sixth.

Lee Bankhurst (Royale RP30) was seventh, although quite a way back, with Andrew Storer’s SF79 in tow. Adrian Langridge completed the top ten in his Reynard SF78, behind Fennymore.

It was a race of considerable attrition. Jen Ridgway’s SF78 had radiator issues and she did not even complete a lap. Ollie Roberts’s SF79 was hit by flying debris on the first lap and didn’t go much further, swiftly followed by the SF79 of Brian Morris, who found himself with a broken throttle cable. Neil Bowman, whose Van Diemen RF78 is the only Class B car on the gird, also did not finish.

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Hot laps: Snetterton qualifying round-up

Qualifying for all three HSCC Formula Ford categories has finished at Snetterton, with some more super-fast laps and a few surprises.

Jordan Harrison managed to wrangle a Lola that wouldn’t downshift around the Norfolk track and set a superb 2:04.947 in the process. Thankfully he has until tomorrow to deal with the clutch in time for both Classic races.

Harrison’s nearest challengers were Richard Tarling in a Royale RP26 and Tom McArthur in a Merlyn Mk20, both more than a second adrift but close to each other. Second to seventh was covered by a second, with Jake Shortland’s Lola fourth, Ben Tinkler (Van Diemen RF80) fifth, Rick Morris sixth in his familair Royale and Joe Ahrens seventh in Tarling’s RF80.

Big pole times were also a theme again in Formula Ford 2000, with Benn Simms’s Reynard SF77 leading the way. This time, however, Graham Fennymore’s 1981 Reynard was little more than a tenth behind, despite not having enough grip earlier in the session.

Cam Jackson was happy with third in Simon Ayliff’s Delta, a little over a second back. Drew Cameron’s Royale RP27 was a further half-second behind and the two will be scrapping on the line.

A returning Graham Ridgway in another RP27 will start fifth, just ahead of another two late season starters, Stephen Glasswell and Brian Morris (both Reynard SF79).

In Historic Formula Ford, Tom McArthur put Simon Hadfield’s Titan on pole by 0.054s from Samuel Harrison in a Classic Team Merlyn Mk20. Setting up a fantastic first lap, Callum Grant’s Merlyn Mk20 is close on the tail of Harrison, just 0.37s further back.

Simon Toyne will be pleased with fourth on the grid in his Lola T200, as will his Neil Fowler Motorsport team-mate Brian Morris, who will start in fifth and as the first Over 50 driver. Matt Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20) and Danny Stanzl in his newly repainted Elden Mk8 are extremely close in sixth and seventh. Tom Pearson, some way back in father Ted’s Merlyn Mk11/17, enjoys his best-ever qualifying in eighth.

Full results at TSL Timing


Can Simms keep up his momentum?

Benn Simms is still the favourite for Snetterton honours in Formula Ford 2000, despite the presence of fast newcomer Cam Jackson.

Simms’s Reynard SF77 was unbelievably quick in qualifying at Brands Hatch, all the while dealing with clutch issues on his car and a shoulder injury on himself. Without these, can he go even quicker?

Andrew Park went faster during the race himself, but the multiple champion has not entered this weekend. Simms doesn’t have his car to watch out for in his mirrors, but he does have the SF81 of Graham Fennymore bearing down on him. The 2021 champion was having slight trouble with a new clutch biting just that bit too hard at Brands, but it didn’t hold him back too much and is probably sorted now.

Jackson, driving Simon Ayliff’s Delta, is an unknown quantity in FF2000, but his pedigree in both FF1600 and Formula Junior suggests that it won’t be too long before he is right on the pace.

Drew Cameron was fourth at Brands and will be able to capitalise on any mistakes by the leaders. He has had some problems to overcome in testing, losing a carburettor float and damaging a rear wing, but these are far from insurmountable. Ollie Roberts has had time to deal with the car problems that affected his starting positions at Brands and his SF79 will be closer to the front.

Grids were sizeable at Brands, but some regulars will be making their 2022 debuts this year and will be a welcome addition to the grid. Graham and Jennifer Ridgway in their SF78s and Ben and Stephen Glasswell in their SF77 and SF79 respectively will fly the flag for inter-family competition, with Ben Glasswell likely to be near the business end of the grid. Andy and Adrian Langridge, both in SF78s, are yet another family pairing.

Peter Drennan is not coming to Snetterton, although he may well reappear later. Molly Dodd, fourth in last year’s championship, is also only doing a part-season this year.

FF2000 HSCC News

Jackson gains some horsepower

Multiple Formula Ford 1600 champion Cam Jackson will get his first taste of Formula Ford 2000 power over the weekend.

Jackson, the reigning HSCC Historic Formula Ford champion and the 2020 Classic Formula Ford winner, will be driving Simon Ayliff’s Delta T80, as raced at Donington last year by Benn Tilley (pictured).

As this is a completely new category for Jackson, his hopes for the Snetterton meeting are relatively modest.

“I’m just going out there to have some fun,” he said, playing down his chances of a win.

“I’m aiming for a podium.”

At the moment, the Delta drive is only planned as a one-off, although Jackson is open to the idea of more FF2000 races. More FF1600 is also on the cards, although he is not aiming to defend his championship and will not be competing at Snetterton. The Winkelmann WDF1 which has given him so much success is currently being overhauled.

Jackson’s debut in FF2000 will be this Saturday at the Snetterton HSCC meeting.

(Image copyright Ayliff Classics)

Features FF2000 HSCC

A new formula for Souley Motorsport

The Souley Motorsport team is a familiar presence in the modern Formula Ford 1600 paddock and is active most weekends during the season. This year, it takes on a new challenge in the shape of Historic Formula Ford 2000.

VFF spoke to team principal Brian Soule at Brands Hatch, his first weekend working with both a FF2000 and a historic car, in the hands of driver Ollie Roberts.

The two go back a long way. When Roberts was racing Formula Ford 1600 in the 2000s, Soule was an engineer working on his car.

“Back when I was working for another team, Ollie was one of the drivers, so that’s how we knew each other.”

Soule goes on to explain how the new deal took shape.

“It was literally just a couple of phone calls. He rang me and said ‘I’m thinking about coming back and doing something’. He said he didn’t really want to go over old ground by driving another 1600, so he said ‘what about the two litre stuff?’ and I said, yeah, we can do that.”

The team isn’t having too much trouble adapting to a FF2000, despite being FF1600 specialists since 2008.

“It’s quite a similar car to a 1600 in the way it’s put together. Obviously, a different engine and with the wings and slicks on it, but it’s not dissimilar to what we’ve done before. It didn’t feel like it was going to be too much of a jump for us.”

Although the basic workings of the two Formula Fords are quite similar, the addition of slicks and wings makes setting up a FF2000 car rather different.

“From a mechanical, sort of getting the car to run properly side of it, I don’t think my boys who do the spanners for me are going to find it that different. But from an engineering point of view, I think it will end up being quite a different car.”

The slightly slower pace of the historic paddock, compared to the National scene, is helping.

“It’s a bit more laid back. There seems to be more time between each time we’re on the track, so that’s quite nice, especially when we’re running a new car. It gives us more chance to get everything organised.

“We’ve still got some time to find, which will come from Ollie and the car, I think. We’re looking forward to getting our teeth into it over the course of the year.”

It’s a challenge that Soule is glad to have.

“We’ve only run 1600 Kent cars since 2008. I think we feel like we’re probably totally on top of that now, and find it not boring, but we can do it without thinking so much now. So we thought we’d give ourselves something more of a challenge.”

Roberts is planning on keeping his Reynard for at least a few seasons and Soule isn’t in a hurry to move up the historic single-seater ladder yet.

“I always feel that I want to try and master something before I move on to the next step.

“Once we get to the end of those first two seasons (with Roberts), if we’re really on top of something, then we might look to move on. But I’d like to master this first.”

Roberts will be in action again at Snetterton with Souley Motorsport, the third of six consecutive weekends on track for the team, which is also running cars in the Castle Combe, United and BRSCC Northern championships.

(Image courtesy Souley Motorsport)