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.
Ross Drybrough fired up his turquoise March 709 towards the end of 2021, but not before it had made its way through a couple of other drivers’ hands first.
The March is perhaps one of the most travelled and shared cars in Formula Ford, at least in recent years. Like the Traveling Pants shared by five girls in a 2005 film, it has worked for several different drivers.
Drybrough made his return in it at Silverstone after missing most of the season with a serious hand injury sustained at Brands Hatch, an incident that put his usual smart Merlyn Mk20 out of action. Prior to that, he had loaned it to Max Bartell for the first two rounds of the 2021 championship, giving him two top-ten finishes at Snetterton. The pair made a deal that they would share Bartell’s Elva in the Guards Trophy in return, which they did at the International Trophy in May.
The car’s recent past also encompasses a season with multiple Historic Formula Ford champion Cam Jackson in 2020, who described it as a car that “drives itself” telling Vintage Formula Ford:
“It’s just one of those cars where it feels too easy.
“Essentially, it’s a really tidy, fun car to drive. Really responsive.”
Most old racing cars have a story or two attached, but there’s only a little digging to do to find the 709’s. It came from Canada and was bought on Drybrough’s behalf by a friend of his from dental school, Tony Cove.
Cove was instrumental in getting his friend started in motorsport, taking him to a meeting during a visit to Canada in 2014. He had only ever done karting and track days previously.
“I thought, ‘I can do that.'” says Drybrough. “The next thing I know, I’m looking at Merlyns.”
“I rebuilt it myself,” he says of the March. “The engine was illegal so we left it in Canada and I just got a rolling chassis and gearbox.
“Tony came across and raced it in the Silverstone Finals in 2018, and then he came and raced it again at the Gold Cup in 2019”
Anything rebuilt has its share of problems and it was when Drybrough first raced the car itself that they arose.
“I raced it at Cadwell and an oil line came off, and everyone spun off on my oil,” he admits.
“I put the car straight in the trailer and buggered off before anything else happened.”
One of the advantages of loaning it to Jackson was that he and car preparer Neil Fowler were able to work on it and develop it into a competitive prospect. When Jackson approached Drybrough about it at the end of 2019, this was one of the reasons he agreed.
There have been some questions around eligibility, as the car’s previous owner Richard Forrest had been running it with 712 bodywork. However, extensive records from its build in 1970 onwards, including the original Bill of Sale for the car, show the paper trail of additions over the years. Incidentally, the March cost £1530 new, and a set of gear ratios was £49.
The 709 did not set the Formula Ford world alight in period, but Drybrough appreciates its curiosity value, describing it as “a bit of an oddball” that stands out from the ubiquitous Merlyn Mk20s and Elden Mk8s. I first spoke to him before his Brands accident and he talked about how it was good to have a spare car, should his Merlyn be out of action, which proved prescient.
Cove is planning a return to the UK to race the March again, as his own story repeats with his son now studying dentistry in the UK. Where the Travelling March ends up next and who it will be travelling with is yet to be seen.
(Images courtesy of HSCC, Cam Jackson and Paul Lawrence)
Cam Jackson is set to race a Van Diemen RF90 first used by Neil Cunningham at this weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy.
2021 HSCC Historic Formula Ford champion Jackson will be entered for both the Trophy itself and the Janet Cesar Trophy for pre-’93 cars.
The car is owned by Dave Morgan and was instrumental in multi-champion Cunningham’s early success, taking him to fifth place in the 1991 Formula Ford Great Britain championship with Morgan’s Central Racing Services team. It was also the last car that he drove competitively before his death from motor neurone disease in 2016; he made a guest appearance in the Formula Ford SuperSeries at Donington in 2011.
Jackson commented that this is “about the only era of Formula Ford I haven’t raced,” having won both Historic and Classic titles and also raced more modern machinery at the WHT itself. His only experience in a 1990s car is some testing in the Lanan 1904 belonging to his father Simon, who will also be in action in the Janet Cesar Trophy.
The Lanan will not be the only car Jackson potentially races against which he has driven. The Van Diemen RF80 he drove in Classic Formula Ford last year will be out again, this time in the hands of sportscar ace Kelvin Burt. Formula 1 and Indycar driver Roberto Moreno drove the car at the Formula Ford Festival.
Cam Jackson talks tyres, speed and his Formula Ford plans for 2021
2021 Classic Formula Ford champion Cam Jackson showed at Snetterton that he was still the driver to beat. He may have lost his HSCC Historic FF1600 crown to Pierre Livingston in 2020, but he was back on top straight away with four Formula Ford wins, plus another his his Brabham Formula Junior.
His phenomenal qualifying pace at Snetterton – a second and a half quicker than his nearest rival, Tom McArthur – raised a few eyebrows. With the new, more durable Avon compound being introduced this year, was he taking a chance on last year’s fast, but quick-to-degrade rubber?
“No, we’re running the new tyre which is supposed to be harder, but the car felt great straight away on that tyre,” he explained.
“I mean, I got a massive tow, but the car in clear air will do a very low 4, maybe even a 3. I’ve always said, this car, the chassis is incredible, and it suits me so much.”
Jackson suggested at the end of last year that he was probably not going to commit to a full championship, but has his early success changed this plan? Although a relative newcomer to the Classic series, the last time he ran a part-season in Historic was 2017.
“I don’t know if I’m going to,” says Jackson. “I just thought I’d do the first round because I’ve got the time to do it. It might change later in the year.
“I might not do Classic all the way through, because it’s quite hectic and it’s a lot of running on the car.” (He is racing the same Winkelmann in both championships.)
The reason for this reduction in schedule is that Lincoln native Jackson is relocating to London this year with his family.
“Bit of a work thing, family thing, school thing,” he explains.
“This summer is going to be frantic.”
Anyone hoping to capitalise on his absence will have to wait for at least a while. He is going to enter the Silverstone rounds in May as he is racing in the Guards Trophy with father Simon, driving a Lenham GT.