Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

McArthur and Fitz-Simon put pressure on Jackson as McArthur wins again

Tom McArthur picked up two more wins at Mallory Park this weekend, with Horatio Fitz-Simon as runner-up both times.

Both were capitalising on the absence of Cam Jackson, in action at Goodwood. Fitz-Simon still has a chance of winning the championship following his points haul and McArthur’s relative dominance showed that he is still unwilling to let Jackson have the championship his own way.

McArthur, driving Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4, had the advantage of being at his team’s home circuit and was impressive from the start, although he was chased all the way through qualifying and Race 1 by Classic Team Merlyn’s Fitz-Simon, who had never raced on the track before.

The Anglo-Californian Merlyn driver was in hot pursuit of McArthur throughout and was always within touching distance, but McArthur was able to hold him off, if only by a tenth or two. He had an easier ride in Race 2 as Fitz-Simon was hampered by lapped cars and giving away half a second on lap times. He trailed McArthur by almost ten seconds, although still picking up a valuable haul of points.

Race 1 looked like it was going to be another podium for Samuel Harrison in his Elden Mk8, doing both Formula Ford series this weekend, but he was pipped on the final lap by Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn Mk11A/20 by about a tenth. The pair were locked in battle with Mark Bates, driving Robin Haslam’s Alexis Mk15 for Shaws Motorsport. Bates was fifth in Race 1, just 0.199s behind third-placed Wrigley.

Harrison held on for third in Race 2, despite an oil cooler fracturing towards the end. This time he has a clear lead over Bates, who was fourth, and fifth-placed Wrigley, another 4.9s down the road.

Danny Stanzl (Elden Mk8) was not quite able to keep with his normal sparring partner, Wrigley, and had to settle for a pair of sixth places. His other usual close rival, Brian Morris, was not racing and this handed the first Over 50s win to Danny’s father, Kevin Stanzl, in a Crossle 16F. He was followed quite closely by fellow Over 50 driver Paul Unsworth’s Lola and their finishing positions were reversed in Race 2.

Classic Team Merlyn’s Mark Carter scored his first top ten in Race 1, followed by George Ditchfield’s yellow Elden. The pair repeated this feat in Race 2.

Newcomers Nikki Cottrill (Lotus 61M) and Palliser driver Zoe Newall were on track once more, with Newall the quicker of the two.

Full results at TSL Timing

(Image courtesy of Richard Towler)

Historic Formula Ford HSCC Opinion Uncategorized

When is a race not a race?

Readers of Vintage Formula Ford were expecting a first Historic race report from Brands Hatch on Saturday. The reason for that is that there was no race result to report.

First of all, we must acknowledge that an accident at Druids between Ross Drybrough’s Merlyn and Simon Toyne’s Lola resulted in Drybrough’s car turning over and Drybrough himself suffering a severe hand injury. Vintage Formula Ford wishes him a speedy recovery.

Normally, in the case of a red flag like the one which followed Drybrough’s accident, the race can be restarted. However, this red flag was the second one; the race had already been stopped after three laps to allow for the retrieval of Paul Unsworth’s Lola T200 from the gravel. Less than two laps were completed after the restart, meaning an insufficient amount of the 20-minute planned race length had elapsed for a result to be declared. Time pressures ruled out a second restart.

There are plans for another race to be scheduled later in the year to replace the voided one at Brands. Once it was known that Drybrough had got out of his upturned car by himself and that his injuries were not life-threatening, a certain amount of understandable disappointment came to the surface. After all, entry fees had been paid and some competitors had travelled considerable distances.

The issue of restarts and when to use the safety car is informed by several factors, including time pressures, weather, levels of marshal support and the severity of the incident.

The time issue is compounded by compulsory noise curfews at many circuits. This can be the result of land close to circuits being sold off cheaply due to noise concerns. The land is then built on and some residents then complain to the council about being able to hear engines. This is not a problem confined to motorsport; music venues have also suffered badly and even primary schools receive these sorts of complaint. It would help if noise nuisance claims were not taken seriously where a sports or entertainment venue already existed before land was developed, but this is a legislative issue and not easily solved quickly.

Marshal numbers are also an ongoing concern throughout motorsport. Sometimes this is due to multiple events on the same weekend, which cannot always be helped. Recruiting new marshals, especially younger ones, is important if problems like those at Brands are to be avoided in future. There are always hundreds of young people wanting to get more involved in motorsport and MSUK would do well to ask them what the barriers are to them taking up marshalling. Perhaps offering them a discount on license application or devising other competition-related perks for young fans and wannabe drivers who offer their services as marshals would help.

Weather is always a factor, but that of course cannot be helped.

(Image copyright HSCC)

Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Historic race decided by last-lap mishap

Cam Jackson narrowly beat Tom McArthur to the first Historic Formula Ford race victory at Donington after a final-lap coming-together between the two.

Jackson, in the Winkelmann, and McArthur, who is driving Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4 this season, had been locked in a classic Formula Ford game of chase from the very start. Jackson went slightly wide on his first pass through Redgate and McArthur capitalised, which began a series of passes and counter-passes on all parts of the circuit. Jackson had the upper hand, albeit not by much, when a safety car period put their battle on hold. The last-lap dash that ensued should have ended in a thrilling photo finish, but Jackson hit a kerb between Mcleans and Coppice, knocking his car out of gear and slowing momentarily. The chasing car of McArthur mounted the Winkelmann and flew over it before landing on its wheels. McArthur was able to finish the race in fifth, despite damage to the Titan. Jackson’s carburettor was also squashed flat during the incident, which meant a lengthy debate with the Clerk before results were issued.

Callum Grant was second in his Merlyn Mk20, having held third for much of the race and made a couple of attempts for the lead from McArthur and Jackson. His principal rival was Classic Team Merlyn driver Horatio Fitz-Simon, who passed him on several occasions but was unable to make it stick for more than a few corners. He was third.

Samuel Harrison’s Elden had been part of their chasing group and had made some promising attacks on Fitz-Simon and once on Grant, but a broken upright on lap nine put him out of the race just before Hollywood. Harrison’s departure was quickly followed by the safety car period; Matthew Sturmer (Macon MR8) and Mark Carter (Merlyn Mk20) collided at Redgate and had to be lifted free of the gravel.

Matt Wrigley just got past the ailing McArthur in his Merlyn for fourth place.

The Over 50 class was won by Brian Morris in his Lola T202 and he was sixth overall, finishing on top of a scrapping three-car pack with Danny Stanzl’s Elden and Ross Drybrough’s Merlyn. Drybrough was passed by Kevin Stanzl’s Crossle 16F in the closing stages, finishing ninth. Stanzl junior was seventh and his father eighth. Chris Porritt was not far behind Drybrough in his Merlyn and was tenth.

The new Newcomer class was won by Zoe Newall, who was 18th in a Palliser WDF2, ahead of Nikki Cottrill’s Lotus 61M.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Richard Towler

FF2000 HSCC Uncategorized

And the rest: Snetterton roundup

Two further Formula Ford championships were in action at Snetterton’s HSCC meeting this weekend.

The URS Classic Formula Ford 2000 series for later FF2000 cars runs alongside the URS Classic Formula 3 championship. 2019 Locost champion Murray Shepherd was the winner of both races. Driving a Van Diemen RF82 belonging to Tony Hancock, he was head and shoulders above his nearest rival Erik Pagano and was two seconds a lap quicker at his fastest. The gap between the pair, who came to blows on-track at Donington, expanded to almost three seconds in Race 2.

Although not quite within Vintage Formula Ford’s timeframe, the Zig Zag Lighting Heritage Formula Ford series hosted some older cars, including the PRS of Oliver Chapman, who had also raced in Classic Formula Ford the day before. The modern Ray of Max Esterson took both victories, with commentator Ben Edwards’s Van Diemen RF92 the first of the Heritage cars home.

Image copyright HSCC/Paul Lawrence

FF2000 HSCC Uncategorized

Simms shows how it’s done

Benn Simms was the runaway winner of the first round of HSCC Formula Ford 2000, beating his nearest rival by over 18s.

Simms, driving his Reynard SF77, was almost five seconds up after a single lap and was never challenged after the first corner. He had qualified two seconds quicker than his nearest rival, Graham Fennymore in a Reynard RF81, and it was Fennymore and the rest of the pack who were left to provide the action while Simms screeched away into the distance.

Greg Robertson’s 1979 Reynard held second place for much of the race and Robertson even managed to keep Simms in sight for a couple of laps. However, he was picked off in the closing laps by Fennymore, who made up for a slightly slow start.

Andrew Storer was fourth in another SF79, having fought off his car’s creator Adrian Reynard, himself driving an SF79. The SF79 chain continued with Stephen Glasswell in sixth. Glasswell had held firm after a mistake by Brian Morris (Reynard SF79) at Murrays dropped him down the order and Jon Finch (SF79) retired on the penultimate lap.

Morris recovered to finish tenth, behind Adrian Langridge in a Crossle 41F, Steve Collier’s Royale RP27 and Jennifer Ridgway in her Brabham-inspired Reynard SF78.

It was a race with several casualties and some of the most robust on-track scraps were at the back of the main pack. Seven cars failed to take the chequered flag, including the Royale RP27 of debutante Molly Dodd.

Full results available at TSL Timing.

Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis