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)


Fennymore fights back

Graham Fennymore has won the Formula Ford 2000 final on the Indy circuit, despite some scares on the way.

Fennymore, driving his Reynard SF81, took advantage of a safety car period early on to get on the back of Ian Pearson’s Royale RP30, then charge past soon after green flag fell again. Pearson, who qualified on pole, had been leading comfortably until Geoff O’nion went off in his Reynard SF77, triggering the yellow flags.

This is not to take anything away from either Fennymore or Pearson.

Fennymore looked set for a win in his heat, leading comfortably until the final lap. On the final lap, he suddenly slowed, taking over a minute to get back to the line and dropping to fourth. This meant that he started eighth for the final.

Pearson had put his car on pole via a win in the first heat, having won his own battle with the SF77 of Adrian Reynard mid-way through. He actually started quite slowly and dropped to third; despite setting a fastest lap and being the first driver to duck under the 49s bar he took a while to challenge for the lead.

Reynard himself was third in the final, having just about kept within sight of Fennymore and Pearson. Andrew Storer was fourth in an SF79, ahead of Jon Finch in a similar car, who had passed him for the heat win late in that race.

Royale driver Molly Dodd was sixth. She was another competitor who had a few obstacles to overcome. After Fennymore’s Heat 2 issue, she looked to have bagged a safe win, but she was penalised 30s for a faulty transponder and was classified fifth. In the final itself, she worked her way up from tenth and was considerably ahead of seventh-placed Ian Foley in an SF78.

Another SF78 was next, driven by Graham Ridgway. He too had problems in the closing laps and did well to recover to eighth from tenth. Ninth place went to Nick Haryett (Reynard SF79), another driver who had a bit of a nightmare in his heat. He qualified third but had problems early on and spent most of the race playing catch-up. Nathaniel Cooper (Royale RP27) followed him home in his heat and did the same in the race itself.

Full results at TSL Timing

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.

Features FF2000 HSCC

A race to the grid

Fraser Collins had a race against time to get on to the Historic Formula Ford 2000 grid at Donington.

A visit to the garages at Donington on Saturday morning revealed Fraser Collins’s Lola T580 and Collins’s father John Hayes-Harlow working on the car, but a conspicuous absence of the driver himself.

He arrived with about ten minutes to spare before qualifying, having endured “trial by Covid regulations” to get on the track at all.

“I was on holiday a couple of weeks ago and today was my day five for Test and Release,” he explained on Saturday.

“When Madeira [where he was on holiday] went on to the amber list I thought, oh god, now I’ve got to quarantine. Luckily with the day five Test and Release I could get here.”

He took his test at the earliest possible opportunity, hiring a courier to take the test to the lab in the early hours of the morning to give himself the best chance of being able to race.

It was a tense wait for the results, but they came back negative just in time for Collins to jump in his car with his full kit already on and make the hour-and-a-15 minute journey from his home to Donington.

Once the government red tape was safely snipped, Collins had another slight problem at the circuit itself.

“I couldn’t find my ticket. I had to try to get in, then when I finally did get in, leap in the car. We were running early as well.

“It was worth it through, I qualified well and then led the first few laps of the qualifying race.”

Collins was sixth in the Saturday qualifying race but unfortunately couldn not finish the main race due to contact from behind. A seventh in the Sunday qualifying race led to 16th place in the feature race, with a class win.

Image courtesy of Richard Towler

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC Opinion

Formula Ford goes

From the outside, all of the HSCC Formula Ford categories appeared to be running smoothly, discounting the odd bump and gravel excursion. Only slightly under the surface, however, in the garage and the paddock, the last-minute effort required just to get out on track could be seen.

Last-minute entries

Historic Formula Ford 1600 winner Tom McArthur had always intended to race at Donington, but he wasn’t on the early entry lists as he had forgotten to get his forms in.

His fellow Historic racer Callum Grant heard that McArthur was racing and decided to get his own late entry in too.

Last-minute engines

Henry Chart was forced to miss both Cadwell Classic FF1600 rounds due to a blown engine. His Van Diemen RF81’s new engine was only just fitted in time for Donington; the work was just about finished on Thursday, meaning that qualifying was Chart’s first chance to test the new unit. Thankfully it was running well.

Formula Ford 2000 front-runner Benn Simms was less lucky. He had replaced much of his Reynard SF77’s engine the week before Donington, with the added pressure of moving house. The Reynard’s shakedown during qualification was less successful though and Simms was unable to start the race itself, with ominous noises coming from the back of the car.

Last-minute driver?

Formula Ford 2000 Class B leader Fraser Collins only just got into the circuit in time to qualify his Lola T580. More on Collins’s race against time tomorrow…

Image courtesy of Richard Towler


Fennymore wins again under pressure

Graham Fennymore has won the second Historic Formula Ford 2000 race at Donington, despite strong challenges from Ian Pearson and Andrew Park.

Reynard SF81 driver Fennymore, who has only recently returned to the track after a seven-year layoff, led from lights to flag, but it was far from an easy ride.

Pearson’s Royale RP30 was second and got very close to Fennymore mid-race, but he benefited from Park’s off-track excursion at the Old Hairpin. Park’s Reynard SF81 ran as high as second, but his small off let Pearson go and also allowed Benn Tilley through in Simon Ayliff’s Delta T80. Tilley was third and Park almost two seconds behind in fourth.

Ben Glasswell (Reynard SF77) held his qualifying position in fifth, ahead of Adrian Reynard’s SF79. Reynard had won the qualification race earlier in the day and worked his way up from thirteenth. He was helped by the retirement of close rival Drew Cameron, whose Royale RP27 shed a wheel at the Old Hairpin.

Graham Ridgway was seventh, driving daughter Jen’s SF78. He was relatively fast at the beginning, quickly progressing from 14th to sixth. There was an eleven-second gap to eighth, held by the SF70 of Greg Robertson. Robertson had qualified well on Saturday but admitted to over-driving his car. Lee Bankhurst’s Royale RP30 was a few seconds behind in ninth. Steve Collier’s Royale RP27 completed the top ten.

Fraser Collins won Class B in his Lola T580, finishing 16th overall after having to qualify again this morning. He had enjoyed a big scrap with Jeremy Main’s Class A SF79. Main was 17th.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Richard Towler


Fennymore wins as rivals fall

Graham Fennymore won the first Historic Formula Ford 2000 encounter at Donington, having withstood a brutal race of attrition.

This was far from a last-man-standing situation; Fennymore’s Reynard SF81 was by far the fastest in qualifying and was the only car in both race and qualification to go under the 1:13s mark. He led from start to finish and was unperturbed by a restart following a four-car pile-up at Redgate. The Reynard SF79s of Jeremy Main and Colin Wright were unable to continue, although Geoff O’nion (Reynard SF77) and Robert Pearson’s Royale RP30 were able to rejoin. Both finished the race.

Fennymore came close to being challenged by second-placed Ian Pearson, driving a Royale RP30. Pearson took advantage of Greg Robertson’s Reynard SF79 being slow at the restart and maintained a strong second place. Robertson eventually finished in sixth.

2019 champion Andrew Park was third and perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the race’s sizeable casualty list. A slip by Graham Ridgway (Reynard SF78) gifted him third and a challenge from Adrian Reynard’s 1979 Reynard came to an abrupt end with Reynard’s retirement. Benn Tilley, driving Simon Ayliff’s Delta T80, was too far behind in fourth to catch him, although Tilley was pleased with this result from his first time out in the car.

Qualification race winner Ben Glasswell (Reynard SF77) was fifth, from 13th on the grid. His fellow qualification race leaders fared less well. Polesitter Fraser Collins was hit from behind and had to retire his Lola T580 and second-placed Ian Foley (SF78) dropped out on lap 12. Molly Dodd had impressed in the heat but her Royale lost a rear wing early on.

A trio of Royales followed Glasswell and Robertson in the race itself, driven by Drew Cameron, Lee Bankhurst and Steve Collier. Championship leader Benn Simms was in among them in the early stages, but he had to retire his SF77 due to serious engine troubles.

The top ten was rounded out by Stephen Glasswell’s SF79, just under a second behind Collier.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Qualifying roundup: all set for Donington drama

Qualifying for HSCC Formula Ford series has been a mix of familiarity and surprises, promising some dramatic races this afternoon and tomorrow.

The Trophy Trader/URS Classic Formula Ford championship was the first out and Cam Jackson wasted no time in putting his Winkelmann on pole. A shared session with Classic Formula 3 meant that opportunities for clear laps were limited, but most of the field managed to set a decent lap or two in the 1:16s.

Jordan Harrison has sorted out the suspension problems that scuppered his Cadwell chances and will line up second in his Lola T540E. Henry Chart’s Van Diemen RF81 has had a new engine after its Cadwell blow-up and he will start third, ahead of Samuel Harrison (Elden Mk8), who came very close to passing Jackson last time out. Rick Morris’s Royale RP29 was just a tenth slower in fifth and his Don Hardman Racing team-mate Stuart Kestenbaum was sixth, driving a Van Diemen RF79.

Historic qualifying was interrupted by a red flag; Cormac Flanagan crashed his newly rebuilt Alexis Mk14 into the wall after Roberts. Flanagan himself was uninjured by the car was not.

Jackson once again claimed pole but it was relatively tight at the top end of the grid, with late entry Tom McArthur less than half a second behind in Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk8. Another late entry, the Merlyn Mk20 of Callum Grant, is about the same interval behind in third, ahead of the similar car of Horatio Fitz-Simon. Samuel Harrison pipped Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn to fifth place on the line, despite gearbox trouble. Wrigley was followed by Over 50 class leader Brian Morris’s Lola, with the Merlyn of Morris’s chief Over 50 rival Ross Drybrough snapping at his heels.

Graham Fennymore was the quickest out of two Formula Ford 2000 qualifying sessions. Group B was the faster of the two and Fennymore’s Reynard SF81 was the only car to get into the 1:12s. Ian Pearson’s Royale RP30 was second, followed by 2019 champion Andrew Park in his Reynard SF81 Newcomer Benn Tilley was fourth in Simon Ayliff’s Delta T80.

The big surprise in FF2000 was championship leader Benn Simms only managing sixth in Group A. Simms’s Reynard SF77 has had extensive work done to its engine and was down on power. Greg Robertson (Reynard RF79) was quickest in the group.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Richard Towler

FF2000 HSCC News

Benn Tilley tries Formula Ford 2000

Reigning HSCC Classic Formula 3 champion Benn Tilley is set to race in Formula Ford 2000 this weekend at Donington.

Tilley, who also won the Classic Formula Ford championship in 2019, will race a Delta T80 run by Simon Ayliff. He tested the car today (Thursday).

This will be Tilley’s first race in a FF2000 car and he will be lining up in the B qualifying group alongside 2019 champion Andrew Park and leading driver Graham Fennymore. Championship leader Benn Simms, who is Tilley’s namesake, is in the A group but is fully expecting to meet him in the race itself.

Tilley is only planning a guest spot in FF2000 this weekend, but the car should be on the grid again. Ayliff, who worked with Hall & Hall and Neil Fowler, is now running his own cars under the Ayliff Classics banner and is looking to rent the Delta out again.

Qualifying for Tilley will be at 12:15 on Saturday.

(Image copyright Ayliff Classics)


Simms back on top of the Mountain

Benn Simms was back to winning form at Cadwell Park for this afternoon’s HSCC Wolds Trophy Formula Ford 2000 race.

Simms’s yellow Reynard SF77 was once again in its familiar position right out in front of the field, with its driver buoyed by success in both Historic Formula 3 races. Race 1 winner and polesitter Andrew Park was disposed of very quickly on the first lap and it was his turn to run the gauntlet of backmarkers this time. Simms was hampered by slower cars on his final lap yesterday and Park had some obstacles with which to contend today.

Park, driving a Reynard SF81, was in a safe second by the end of the race but he was challenged at a couple of points by Graham Fennymore, who was third in his SF81. Fennymore in turn was pushed by the race’s sole Classic entrant, Murray Shepherd, who even got past him for a short time in the closing laps. Shepherd, driving a Van Diemen RF82, benefited from the early retirement of Paul Allen’s Delta T78 but he was more than capable of podium pace.

Ian Pearson (Royale RP30) held fifth place, but was only a couple of tenths ahead of Ben Glasswell’s Reynard SF77. He had been squabbling with Graham Ridgway’s SF78 and must have been relieved when it disappeared on the final lap. This promoted Adrian Reynard to seventh, having won the qualification heat in his SF79. Brian Morris had been runner-up in the heat but could not get past Stephen Glasswell in the final itself. Reynard, Glasswell and Morris were part of a five-car SF79 queue, along with tenth-placed Andrew Storer and Jennifer Ridgway in 11th. Adrian Langridge (Crossle 41F) had been part of this group but also retired late on.

Fraser Collins was the winner of Class B, finishing 17th in his Lola T580. It was a considerable struggle to even get on the grid, as his car decided to stop working in the first heat and he had to work his way from the back to even qualify for the main race.

Full results at TSL Timing