Historic Formula Ford HSCC News

Damian Samuel-Camps makes his debut

The Historic Formula Ford championship gained another driver in Damian Samuel-Camps at Donington, adding to the grid’s sizeable Merlyn contingent.

Samuel-Camps raced with Nigel Grant’s team in a neat powder-blue Merlyn Mk20 and surprised some with his qualifying pace, not least of all himself. He was eleventh on the grid from 22 starters.

“I don’t know what happened there,” he said on Saturday after Race 1.

“I was just saying to some of the other drivers, obviously because my lines are pretty appalling, you take very different lines in the wet and that just seemed to work!”

The race itself was described by Samuel-Camps as a “baptism of fire”, although with the amount of rain on the track, it was really more like a standard water baptism.

“I just tried to drive within myself and stay on the black stuff and it seems to have worked.”

The sodden first race was actually 53-year-old Samuel-Camps’s first ever race, despite having motorsport in the family in the form of uncle Max Samuel-Camps, who was watching. A tough first event was just the preparation he needed.

“I’ve got rid of the demons now. I know what to expect, which is pretty much carnage at the first corner. I need to keep out of trouble, sharpen the elbows a bit and just enjoy it.”

He was 13th and 15th at Donington and we will next see him out at Oulton Park.

(Image courtesy of Paul Allen)

Historic Formula Ford HSCC News

Butterworth makes his Formula Ford debut

Jack Butterworth is a familiar face in the HSCC Formula Ford paddock, but he waited until this weekend to make his first appearance in a single-seater.

The Neil Fowler Motorsport mechanic took advantage of a rare slow weekend with his employer to go racing himself, as Cam Jackson’s car is still out of action and most of the other team regulars were at Jubilee celebrations with family.

He qualified his Lola T2009 in eleventh place and had a steady, confident race to finish tenth. Cadwell Park is a challenging circuit on which to begin a Formula Ford career, but he proved himself more than up to the job.

Butterworth did not appear on the entry lists originally, having taken the car to Cadwell for Friday testing before making a decision.

“We were happy with the afternoon session, so we thought we’d stick a late entry in,” he explained on Saturday.

He is quick to point out that this was not actually his racing debut; he has done an hour-long stint in a Citroen C1 in the BARC Citroen C1 endurance series previously. This is his first race in a single-seater and his first in his own car.

Despite being somewhat in at the deep end, it was an enjoyable experience.

“I loved it. I had a smile ear to ear while I was driving it!

“The C1 was good fun, but this is something else.”

The Lola itself has been a work in progress for two and a half years.

“I imported it from America and built it in Nigel Grant’s garage with him, then started working for Neil and it went to Neil’s.”

The car’s previous racing history is unknown, with the only clues being that the owner Butterworth bought it from was from Tennessee.

He hopes to bring the car out again this season, but Fowler’s busy schedule means that Butterworth is usually busy on race weekends.

(Image copyright DW Motorsport Photography)

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)

Classic Formula Ford HSCC News

What do you get when you cross a Crossle with a Royale?

Richard Tarling was not in his usual Royale RP26 at Silverstone this weekend, although the car looked similar from the outside.

He had noticed that there was something not right with the car during Friday testing and set about rectifying the problem with Enigma boss Linton Stutely, but a more drastic solution was needed than first thought, with the sister car of Steve Deeks plus some extra parts being called into action.

“We’re not 100% sure, but we think the chassis is broken somewhere,” says Tarling about his original car.

“When the car’s loaded up in the longer corners, it feels like the back end of the car’s not connected to the front.

“It was then affecting the engine, basically binding up the cranks which then makes it slow. And it can damage the engine badly, so we didn’t really want to take the risk.”

At first, a fix was tried on the Royale.

“We tried to weld some bars into the engine bay but really, it all needs to come apart and start again.”

Luckily, Steve Deeks, also making some appearances for Enigma this year, was also doing some testing in his Crossle 25F.

“Steve’s car was here,” says Tarling. “I drove it for a couple of laps at the end of the day just to see what it was like. The engine in it is a bit unknown, so we decided to put Linton’s engine [from his Historic Royale RP3] in it, and drive that.”

Neither Deeks not Stutely had planned to compete that weekend, which cleared a way for Tarling to take his place on the grid, but there were other smaller issues which nevertheless needed sorting, once the Royale’s bodywork had been tweaked to fit and added.

“I’m driving on a cushion, in Steve’s seat,” admits Tarling, who is smaller than Deeks. A lurking Deeks asked that the comments that followed were not published.

“We finished it at three o’clock in the morning, or we didn’t finish it really, but got it together at three in the morning.”

A few gremlins still needed to be defeated on Saturday morning, as there were problems with timing.

“We had some issues in qualifying. I’m surprised we were as high up as we were.”

After qualifying seventh, Tarling was fifth in both races.

(Image copyright HSCC)

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)

FF2000 HSCC News

To be continued…

Today’s first round of the HSCC Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship is yet to be decided.

Two red flags meant that the remainder of the race was postponed until tomorrow morning. The original plan was for the five-minute sprint to run at the end of the day, but a further stoppage after a crash during the ’70s Roadsports race meant that there was no time and fading light.

Benn Simms was leading in his Reynard SF77 from the SF81s of Andrew Park and Graham Fennymore, but a full restart will wipe out any advantage he had built up. Drew Cameron (Royale RP27) will also be hoping to make up another place or two and push one of the champions off the podium.

A full report will follow tomorrow.

Features FF2000 HSCC News

Meet Ollie Roberts

There’s a new face on this year’s Historic Formula Ford 2000 grid, and he’s waited a long time for the opportunity.

Ollie Roberts will be taking to the track in a Reynard SF79 run by Souley Motorsport, almost 15 years after he last raced at the 2007 Walter Hayes Trophy.

Following a real hero drive in the Walter Hayes – he came through every consolation race to reach the final after breaking down in his heat – a sponsorship deal to run in Formula 3 and Radicals fell through and that phase of his motorsport career ended.

Lockdown was one of the catalysts for getting back into a car.

“I was having a conversation with loads of old racing mates over lockdown,” he explains.

“They’d all said, when are we going to see you back in a car? And then my parents in law, when I spoke to them about it, they said the same thing. So I started looking.”

The next step was to acquire a car and he was drawn to FF2000.

“It seemed like the best category to go into, other than 1600s, without treading on old ground.

“I was looking at the value of the cars and they were very reasonably priced.

“It’s a very busy formula with very good grids in a really pretty car.”

The Reynard itself was formerly owned by Matt Wrigley and the two made a deal after the car was advertised online. With a car in his garage, it was now time to find someone to run it. Enter Brian Soule, more often found in the FF1600 paddock.

“The engineer at the time for the team I was racing with (Kevin Mills Racing in 2007) has his own team now. I rang him and said ‘if I bought a race car would you run me?’ and he was like, ‘absolutely'”.

Roberts will be supporting himself this year, having used his time away from the track to develop a career and make his own money. He sees this as a positive thing, having “whole-heartedly” been a spectator for so long.

“This will be the first season that I really get to enjoy it.”

He is not rash enough to think he is a championship contender in his first year, especially not in such a competitive series.

“I think I would like to get a couple of top-threes, if not a win.

“There are some good guys in there. You’ve got the current champion Graham Fennymore, Andrew Park, Benn Simms – it’s a strong grid, and they’re big grids. The bigger the mistake, the larger the overtaking manoeuvre you’ve got to make.”

He rates his chances highest at Donington and Silverstone National.

“Silverstone National is just a great track, because it’s short and fast. I would have said Snetterton, but Snett’s changed since I last did it.

“The thing with Donington is, I don’t think I’ve ever been there dry. That’s why I’m so confident round Donington.”

Since our conversation, Roberts has finally fitted a seat and undertaken testing. This was the first time he drove the car, in preparation for the first round at Brands Hatch on Saturday. He will be out in Group B.

(Image courtesy of Ollie Roberts)

Historic Formula Ford HSCC News Uncategorized

Classic Team Merlyn names championship contender

Classic Team Merlyn has announced all three of its regular drivers for the 2022 Historic Formula Ford Championship.

The Towcester-based team won the 2020 championship with Pierre Livingston and took the 2021 title all the way to the line with Horatio Fitz-Simon. Former Caterham racer Mark Carter and South African Alan Schmidt will continue to drive two of the CTM Merlyn Mk20s, while Samuel Harrison will reprise his Walter Hayes Trophy role in the car previously raced by Fitz-Simon.

Harrison, who won the Pre-’82 final at the 2021 WHT on his first time out in the car, will be one of the favourites for the 2022 crown. He raced an Elden Mk8 prepared by Mk8 Motorsport in 2021 and was fifth in the championship, with a best finish of second at Cadwell. The Lincolnshire track is a favourite and he came close to a debut win in the Classic championship there in 2020.

The pressure of being in arguably the best car in the championship does not faze A Level student Harrison.

“I’m looking forward to more close racing again this year,” he said.

“I feel well prepared for the season.”

Carter will also be looking to build on his 2021 season, which included top-ten finishes at Mallory and Silverstone towards the end of the season.

Schmidt snuck into the top ten at Mallory and will be keen to repeat this in the no. 97 machine.

Image copyright Samuel Harrison

Classic Formula Ford HSCC News Uncategorized

Tarling to bring original Royale to Classic grid

Richard Tarling will race Alan Cornock’s Royale RP26 in this year’s Classic Formula Ford championship, as part of a three-car Enigma team.

Tarling, the 2017 Historic Formula Ford champion, has secured backing for a full season from SDC Builders, which originally sponsored a Royale in 1980, when it was driven by David Wheeler. Tarling’s car will run in old-school SDC blue and white as a tribute to that Royale. 2022 is also the 50th anniversary of SDC.

The deal came together about six weeks ago and was one of the inspirations behind Enigma boss Linton Stutely’s decision to buy the RP26 raced as a Kenny Aitchison tribute car by Warren Hughes at the 2021 Walter Hayes Trophy. The Aitchison car will be run on an “arrive and drive” basis, with a schedule to be confirmed. Tarling will race alongside the Crossle of Steve Deeks and Joe Ahrens in the Van Diemen he raced last year.

“I’ve known Alan Cornock for nearly 30 years – how many years ago is 1995? 27? I’m pretty sure we bought our first car off Alan 27 years ago,” says Tarling.

“It’s Alan’s car. He set the deal up, because was Royale from nearly the beginning. He’s good friends with David Wheeler and the guys from SDC. They’re supporting Alan and me and the car for a whole year, which is good.”

“I would hope, good,” says Tarling of his chances in the Classic championship, although he has yet to drive the car. “Everyone says it’s a good car, so we’ll wait and see. It depends who else is in the championship.”

He hopes that the influx of Royale and Enigma-related entries into this year’s Classic championship makes for a good field.

“Hopefully this will drag more people into it. Hopefully it will make the whole thing stronger. It shows people have confidence in the championship.

“I want it to be competitive and lots of people doing it. I don’t want to be just running around on my own.”

When asked, this is what he had to say about his new team-mates.

“Joe (Ahrens) should get quicker and quicker. He should be pushing us, if not right at the beginning, then certainly after a couple of rounds.

“Steve (Deeks) would freely admit that he’s got quite a lot to learn for his comeback.”

The first round of the championship is at Snetterton on the 23rd of April.

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC News

Load up for another Vintage Formula Ford season

Trailers and transporters at the ready: provisional calendars have been announced for all three of the HSCC’s Formula Ford championships, beginning on April 2nd at Brands Hatch.

Sterling work from all championship co-ordinators means that most meetings will feature all three series, although there are a few guest spots with others.

April 2nd/3rd Brands Hatch Indy (Historic Formula Ford 2000)

April 23rd/24th Snetterton (Historic Formula Ford, Classic Formula Ford, Historic FF2000)

May 14th/15th Silverstone GP (Historic FF1600, Classic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

June 4th/5th Cadwell Park (Historic FF1600, Classic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

June 18th/19th Donington (Historic FF1600, Classic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

July 9th/10th Brands Hatch (Historic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

6th August Oulton Park (Historic FF1600)

13th August Oulton Park (Classic FF1600)

3th/4th September Croft (Historic FF1600, Classic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

15th/16th October Silverstone (Historic FF1600, Classic FF1600, Historic FF2000)

(Image by Rachel: it’s George Ditchfield’s tipper transporter with added sofa cushions. Until quite recently it had a sink on the back for washing your hands too.)