Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Jubilee party: Cadwell Park Wolds Trophy preview

The Wolds Trophy is all set to get under way tomorrow at Cadwell Park, with some smaller grids than usual, but plenty of action is assured. The tight and twisty nature of the Lincolnshire circuit means that bigger fields can sometimes slow things down, which we do not want.

Historic Formula Ford 2000 starts things off with the first qualifying session on Saturday. Despite a much more compact grid than usual, championship leaders Benn Simms and Graham Fennymore are both present and will be leading the charge in their 1977 and 1981 Reynards respectively. Both are capable of pulling away rapidly, but the narrow nature of Cadwell means that grid position and a good start are more important than ever.

Both Andrew Park and the increasingly quick, if unlucky, Drew Cameron have opted to miss this round, leaving the way open for others to hop onto the podium. Ollie Roberts seems to have got to grips with his Reynard SF79 and was strong at Silverstone, but he will have to contend with the experienced Graham Ridgway in his SF77 first.

Lee Bankhurst’s Royale RP30 is likely to be with them and he is joined for the first time this year by partner Abbey Harris in her RP30. Ben Glasswell and father Stephen have also reappeared in their Reynards and Ben Glasswell is another podium possibility.

Next up is Historic Formula Ford, which looks as if it will be another contest between Tom McArthur in a Titan and Callum Grant’s Merlyn Mk20, like the one we enjoyed at Snetterton. As at Snetterton, Samuel Harrison of Classic Team Merlyn is likely to be at the front. This is a circuit where he has previously run very well, despite only having driven it a couple of times.

Cam Jackson’s Winkelmann is going to be out of action for a while and Neil Fowler has a smaller stable of cars than usual present this weekend. Current Over 50 champion Brian Morris is absent but so is Ross Drybrough, which means that senior class honours will probably be between Rob Smith’s Merlyn, as long as its axles behave, and Chris Porritt’s similar car.

Another car to watch out for is Danny Stanzl’s Elden Mk8. Stanzl is another driver who has previously been quick around Cadwell. Without his usual sparring partners, Morris and Matt Wrigley, he will want to get on the back of the main group.

McArthur is continuing his double attack on the Historic and Classic championships, driving a Class B Merlyn Mk20 for Classic. His likely rival will be reigning champion Jordan Harrison in his Lola, although rain is forecast and Harrison often struggles on wet tracks.

Engima Motorsport is down to a single-car entry this time, partly due to team boss Linton Stutely having become a father to a baby girl in the early hours of Friday morning. Richard Tarling has stood down for this race, leaving Joe Ahrens to defend team honours in Tarling’s own Van Diemen RF80.

One visitor who may put the cat among the pigeons is local driver Mike Gardner, in his familiar Crossle 32F. Gardner is always fast and sometimes spectacular, although he did seem to push things a bit far last time he was here, colliding with Samuel Harrison. He is likely to be at the front.

Rick Morris has the experience to play Gardner’s game and his Royale RP29 will be close to the sharp end of the grid if it is running well.

Full entry list here.

Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis

Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Meet Jamie Vinall-Meyer

Historic Formula Ford’s newest upstart almost walked away from motorsport; what is it about old cars that’s brought him back?

The young Jamun driver has previous experience in a Classic Team Merlyn car at the 2020 Walter Hayes Trophy and was soon right near the front at Silverstone. He was completely unfazed by going up against the likes of Cam Jackson and Tom McArthur, with whom he tangled in Race 2.

“I was supposed to be racing in something else and that fell through” explains Vinall-Meyer. “I did a bit of Britcar and this year I was supposed to be racing in Pragas. But that…”

Here, he tails off. A possible drive with Classic Team Merlyn had also been shelved and Vinall-Meyer, still only in his early 20s, was getting disillusioned with motor racing.

A chance meeting with Pete Alexander changed that.

“I met Pete at the start of this year doing some instructing at Brands Hatch.

“It’s lucky I’m not doing that (the Praga series) because I’m now racing with Pete. Back doing this.

The rare Jamun T3 he is racing this year often appeared on entry lists last year alongside Shaun Hollamby’s name, but the BTCC racer only made one actual outing in it.

“It’s Pete’s car. Shaun Hollamby raced it at the Festival last year. It’s been stored and not touched until we took it out a few months ago. Today we decided to go racing with it, see what happens.”

As he only has one weekend’s racing in a Merlyn Mk20 and one meeting in the Jamun under his belt, Vinall-Meyer is still learning about the world of historic Formula Ford and how the different cars compare. He is full of admiration for Alexander’s Jamun, however.

“It’s a really lovely car and Pete has done the nicest job of getting it all ready. He’s worked really hard. It’s only been a few months, and he’s bascially turned it into a usable car, which is fantastic.

“There’s still a few things we need to do here and there to get it properly quick, but considering all that, we did fantastically. I can’t thank Peter enough.”

Now back on speaking terms with racing cars, Vinall-Meyer plans to contest selected rounds this year, with a view to a full season in 2023.

Historic Formula Ford HSCC News round up Uncategorized

Historic visitors prevail at Pau

A sizeable contingent of Historic Formula Ford competitors were in action at the Pau Historic Grand Prix this weekend, with Callum Grant securing a win and second place in his familiar Merlyn Mk20.

He was joined on the podium over the weekend by Matt Wrigley, on his way back from Moanco, and National championship star Rory Smith.

Grant qualified second behind circuit specialist Alain Girardet, who was also driving a more recent car, then started his charge with a win in Race 1. Smith was second in another Merlyn and Girardet was third. Wrigley was the next British challenger, finishing seventh in his Merlyn but third in the class for older cars, behind both Grant and Smith.

Other HSCC drivers in action included Ian Parkington who was eleventh and Brian Morris, who brought his Lola home in 14th despite a broken clutch pedal in qualifying. George Ditchfield finished 28th in his Elden.

The second race was a scrappier affair with three safety car periods, interrupted by a red flag. Smith was the winner this time, followed by Grant and Girardet. Wrigley was third in class, completing an all-British class podium.

Morris was tenth and Parkington 16th this time. Ditchfield was 22nd.

(Image courtesy of Callum Grant)

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Mitchell spins and wins

Ben Mitchell won the second Historic Formula Ford race, despite a big spin on the wet track.

The result could have gone one of several ways, with Mitchell’s Merlyn Mk20 prevailing in a series of slipstreaming contests with Tom McArthur’s Titan Mk4 and Classic Team Merlyn’s Samuel Harrison, with Jamie Vinall-Meyer in a Jamun T3 joining them. Mitchell lost out in almost as many drafting battles, with the lead changing multiple times and all three leaders even going wide together at Club at one point.

Despite getting a good start, polesitter McArthur was quickly caught by Mitchell, with Harrison catching them and taking the lead briefly. McArthur did retake, but he went wide at Becketts and Harrison retaking. As the track became wetter, Mitchell spun hard and lost time, but a collision between McArthur and Vinall-Meyer at Woodcote bought him time and his superior handling of backmarkers allowed him to build up a gap to Harrison, who was second. He saved his quickest lap until last, consolidating his gap to the rest of the field with a 2:24.8 lap.

Vinall-Meyer was third, having escaped his altercation with McArthur unscathed. The series newcomer ran as high as second despite his share of slides and showed incredible pace: he was one of three drivers to dip under the 2:26 mark, with Mitchell and Harrison.

McArthur was dropped to fifth by the contact and then had his old sparring partner, Cam Jackson, to deal with. Jackson, driving Simon Toyne’s Lola T200 after wrecking his Winkelmann yesterday, made great progress from the back of the grid, quickly gaining sixth place, but he was unable to catch the leading group, which had a huge advantage by then. He passed McArthur for fifth but could not get much closer to brother Dominik Jackson, in a Crossle, who was fourth. The elder Jackson had a steady race without much conflict, some way behind the lead group.

The struggle for Over 50s honours came next, with seventh-placed Brian Morris emerging as the winner in his Lola T202. Ross Drybrough (March 709) had attacked on the penultimate lap, but went wide at Brooklands and had to settle for eighth. Cormac Flanagan’s Alexis was next in ninth, although Flanagan had run higher earlier in the race and even had a go at keeping Jackson behind him. Tim Brise was tenth in his Merlyn Mk20, having seen off the similar cars of Chris Porritt and Rob Smith earlier. Smith, who was happier with his car than yesterday, was 12th and Porritt 13th, with Scott Rawlinson in a Merlyn Mk11A ahead of them in 11th.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur and Mitchell triumphant as Jackson hits trouble

Tom McArthur won an exciting slipstreaming contest with Ben Mitchell in Historic Formula Ford today, but Cam Jackson’s race ended early after a collision with a backmarker.

Jackson’s Winklemann, McArthur’s Titan and Mitchell’s Merlyn Mk20 had been running as a close drafting group for seven of the race’s nine laps, with Jackson perhaps leading more than the other two, but with plenty of changes of position and very close passes. They were joined towards the end by Classic Team Merlyn’s Samuel Harrison to make a four, but became a trio once more when Jackson hit Michael Richings’s Alexis from behind close to the Wing pit straight, ending up beached on the grass. Richings also had to retire. Neither driver was hurt, but Jackson’s car appears to have sustained serious chassis damage and is unlikely to be out tomorrow.

McArthur had the upper hand for the remaining two laps, but Mitchell never gave up, briefly leading at one point. He also had the attentions of Harrison to manage and held the younger driver off admirably. Harrison was third.

Fourth place went to Jamie Vinall-Meyer, driving a Jamun T3 previously raced by Shaun Hollamby. Despite his lack of Formula Ford experience, he held his own and showed good pace. He was unable to fend off Harrison, but equally, he put a useful distance between himself and Dominik Jackson (Crossle 20F) and Simon Toyne’s Lola. Jackson and Toyne were locked in combat for the whole race, with plenty of aggressive moves going in but none really sticking. Jackson was fifth and Toyne sixth.

A fascinating Over 50 class race-within-a-race followed. Class winner Ross Drybrough was seventh in his March 709 after just seeing off Chris Porritt’s Merlyn Mk20. Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14) and Brian Morris (Lola T200) had led the group earlier in the race. Flanagan held on for a strong ninth place, but Morris dropped back after a spin and finished 12th. Rob Smith’s Merlyn Mk20 was also a contender, but a sticking throttle meant he had to keep taking his foot off the accelerator and went wide at Brooklands. He was tenth, with the Merlyn of Tim Brise behind him in 11th.

Tom Pearson, the youngest driver on the grid, had put his Merlyn Mk11A/17 among the Over 50 leaders, but an over-ambitious move around Drybrough dropped him to 14th, a long way behind Morris and Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn Mk11A. Freddie Lillingston-Price, another young driver in a Mk11, had to retire after contact with Rawlinson, losing a nosecone.

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.

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur wins in Historic photo finish

Tom McArthur pipped Samuel Harrison on the line for a second Historic Formula Ford victory of the weekend.

McArthur, who had jumped straight out of a Merlyn Mk20 in Classic FF1600 into the Titan he uses for Historics, weathered a strong challenge from Classic Team Merlyn driver Harrison, who was leading into the final lap. A precision move into the final metres of the race secured the win, although both the timing screens and the commentary team were initially unsure who had won. McArthur was declared the victor by 0.041s shortly afterwards.

He had led for most of the 20-minute race, initially carving out a gap, but Harrison gradually crept up behind him with a series of fastest laps, leading briefly at about three-quarters distance before making another move on the penultimate lap.

Harrison had passed Callum Grant’s Merlyn early in the first lap. Grant had qualified second but was struggling with understeer and let Harrison past. He held on to third, although he was on his own for most of the race.

The usual chasing pack of Matt Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20), Danny Stanzl’s Elden and Brian Morris in a Lola looked different. Wrigley broke away fairly early after a fast start and ran his own solo race in fourth. The others, joined by Rob Smith in his Merlyn and Tim Brise’s similar car, met different fates. Morris hit a kerb on the Bentley Straight and retired with a broken upright on lap three, leaving Stanzl and Smith to it. Smith’s car then snapped a rear stub axle and he coasted off onto the grass just before Palmer, leaving Stanzl alone in fifth. Brise was sixth and leading Over 50 driver, after a few skirmishes with Ross Drybrough in his March. Drybrough was seventh, with Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14), the Crossle 16F of Kevin Stanzl and Tom Pearson in a Merlyn Mk11/17 following behind at intervals to complete the top ten. Pearson did well to recover from an off just after Riches, in which Brise was also caught.

Oliver Chapman limped to the end after spinning his Lola T200, while Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn and Louis Hanjoul’s Elden never really got going.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur wins magic first race

Tom McArthur is Historic Formula Ford’s first winner of the year, after an entertaining and exuberant first race.

He started from pole in Simon Hadfield’s Titan and was always a strong candidate for the win, but not before he had been part of a thrilling slipstreaming battle with the Merlyn Mk20s of Callum Grant and Samuel Harrison.

Second-placed Grant came the closest to stealing the win from McArthur. In the closing laps, he had made a series of overtaking moves on the Titan at Coram, with McArthur powering away from the starting line and retaking. This could easily have brought a win for Grant, as McArthur was waiting until after the line to make his move. Only a concerted change of plan pushed him ahead, and then only by 0.063s. The two leaders were watching one other as they took the flag and waving at each other in good-natured rivalry.

Harrison had dropped away from the two leaders, despite having been part of the slipstreaming moves at the front until a problem with a rear wheel curtailed his speed. He got a slow start but was soon leading for the first of several stints at the top.

A second tussle over fourth place had raged all race between Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn Mk11A/20, Danny Stanzl in his Elden and Lola T200 drivers Brian Morris and Simon Toyne. Wrigley snuck past Stanzl on the final lap for fourth, the two of them having deposed a charging Toyne earlier on. Toyne was sixth, ahead of Morris who was the leading Over 50 driver.

Oliver Chapman was the other end of a Lola T200 queue, albeit some way behind in eighth. Another good scrap for Over 50s runner-up status then ensued between the Merlyn Mk20s of Rob Smith and Tim Brise, with Brise just getting the upper hand at the right time.

The whole grid was getting involved in friendly rivalries. Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14) prevailed over Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn in 15th place, behind Ross Drybrough’s March 709 and James Russell ‘s Merlyn in 11th and 12th. Tom Pearson (Merlyn Mk11A/17) and Paul Unsworth (Lola T200) were another close pair in 13th and 14th.

Full results at TSL Timing

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