Fennymore sneaks past Simms

A win for Graham Fennymore doesn’t seem too surprising this year, but today he managed to surprise Benn Simms.

On the hunt for second in the championship, Simms got a phenomenal start in his Reynard SF77, attacking Fennymore’s SF81 almost off the line and quickly pushing ahead. He held his lead even after a restart, and although Fennymore did try to attack, Simms clearly had the upper hand.

This continued until the last half of the final lap, when Fennymore drew level with the yellow car and finally passed it on the pit straight, just 0.083s ahead.

Simms was happy with second, as this meant a championship second ahead of Ian Pearson, who was third and first Royale finisher. Pearson had been conducting his own race-within-a-race with Marc Mercer’s SF79, finally taking back the place where he started and also seeing off Andrew Storer, who had got in front. Storer was on a mission in his SF79, dispatching Molly Dodd (Royale RP27) early on in a bid to draw level with the leaders.

In the end, Storer was a good way behind Mercer and sixth-placed Dan Eagling, in yet another SF79, was a little further back. He had kept clear of the race-long tussle between Adrian Reynard (Reynard SF78), Dodd and Stephen Glasswell’s SF79. Reynard managed to break free in the closing laps, although Dodd was completely unbothered by his reputation and gave him a run for his money. Reynard was seventh, Dodd eighth and Glasswell ninth.

Tom Smith was tenth, driving Graham Ridgway’s SF78. He had been due to start the race third, but was having trouble with gear selection and pulled off into the pits on the formation lap. He had to weather two pitlane starts, but still made his way into the top ten.

The red flag came out after a collision at Brooklands between Jen Ridgway’s Parmalat-liveried SF78 and Nick Haryett’s 1979 Reynard. Haryett got off the driest line on the track, clashed wheels with Ridgway and went up on two wheels before clattering towards the barriers. Ridgway’s car suffered broken uprights but was able to be towed away. Neither was able to restart.

Class B leader Fraser Collins also had to start at the back in his Lola due to not finishing Race 1. He made his way up to 18th, but was pipped by a place to class victory by Dave Margetts, who was 17th in his Dulon.

Classic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Chart the winner in a classy end to the Classic season

Henry Chart has won the final race of the Classic Formula Ford season, following an old-school towing contest at the front with Jordan Harrison and Ben Tinkler.

This is Van Diemen RF81 driver Chart’s second win of the season. Jordan Harrison had already claimed the championship but was still pushing hard in his Lola T540E, giving away the win by the tiniest of margins. They even touched slightly at one point, but lost no real ground.

In the end, it was Chart’s later braking in the final corners that won him the race. He and Harrison were side by side coming into Luffield, but Chart dared to wait that millisecond longer. Harrison chased him down the straight but ran out of room by less than a tenth of a second.

Tinkler, driving a 1980 Van Diemen, was with the duo for much of the race and led several laps, taking advantage of the spinning PRS of Mike Saunders to attack. A spin of his own at Brooklands trying to pass Chart a little later left him in fourth place with too much work to do.

Harrison and Chart continued to trade the lead, with Rick Morris’s Royale RP29 now part of their leading group. Tinkler tried his hardest to get on the back of Morris, but was too far away. Morris in turn harangued Chart at one point when he was behind Harrison, but could not make a move stick. He was third, with Tinkler behind in fourth.

A big gap followed, the Joe Ahrens in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80. Ahrens had been quicker than he was on Saturday and kept on the tail of the leading group for the first few laps, but most of his race was spent in a lonely fifth. Paul Britten had started off behind him, but his PRS developed problems very early and he pulled into the pits. Class B driver Chris Porritt made up a few places to finish sixth in his Lola; someone else who did not have anyone to race with for most of the 15 minutes.

Alan Fincham was seventh in another RF80, then a terrific scrap for eighth ensued. Mark Harrison’s Royale RP21 was the victor, closely followed by Peter Hannam in a Nike, who had in turn got the better of Lola driver Mike Bainbridge. Newcomer Philip Senior, driving a distinctive bright green Royale RP21, was the final part of the group.

Another rear-end battle was won by Richard Yeomans, who had sorted out his car’s holed radiator in time for the start. He was twelfth, ahead of his usual rival, Ben Hadfield in a Van Diemen.

Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Jackson crowned champion despite disqualification

Stutely declared the winner

Cam Jackson has won his third HSCC Formula Ford title, in spite of the weekend’s third race ending in disqualification. Both Jackson and second-placed Horatio Fitz-Simon were excluded for overtaking under yellow flags after a twitchy, tense encounter on a damp track.

The win was handed to third-placed Linton Stutely, driving a Royale RP3.

Saturday’s sunshine had given way to more typical grey drizzle which did not lend itself to the sort of flowing, tow-heavy racing we have been treated to this weekend. Jackson, who started second in his Winkelmann by virtue of setting the second-fastest lap in Race 2, got round the outside of polesitter Horatio Fitz-Simon’s Merlyn Mk20 at Brooklands before slipping inside at Luffield and leaving Fitz-Simon behind.

The Anglo-Californian did try to keep with the Lincolnshire driver, but backmarkers and a series of yellow flags mitigated against a full-blown attack. Fitz-Simon then had the attentions of Linton Stutely to deal with, as yellow flags were out at Luffield to retreive Ross Drybrough’s broken-down March, bunching up the front of the field. Stutely did briefly pass him at Luffield, only to be repassed and then sent into a spin by some contact, just before a yellow flag zone. Stutely was able to carry on in third, albeit with a big gap to Fitz-Simon. At the time, he was completely unaware that he had done enough to win.

Tom McArthur, one of yesterday’s winners and a leading player in the weekend’s drama, had something of a nightmare in Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4. He started third and managed to shrug off Samuel Harrison’s Elden off the line, having been passed by the Yorkshire teenager, but he dropped to sixth after a spin at Copse and was left playing catch-up. He did manage to get back into fourth ahead of Harrison, but another spin late on allowed Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn and then Harrison to slip past.

Wrigley was fourth after a confident, if lonely at times, race, although he enjoyed some decent sparring with Harrison and McArthur. He got the better of Harrison in the end and he ended up fifth, a couple of seconds ahead of McArthur.

Danny Stanzl was next in his red Elden, despite having had an extravagant spin early on and losing places to Brian Morris (Lola). Morris, already Over 50 champion with nothing more to prove, lost out to fellow Lola T202 driver Chris Porritt and a returning Cormac Flanagan, in his Alexis. Flanagan was ninth, Porritt tenth and Morris eleventh, behind Over 50 winner Tim Brise (Merlyn Mk20) in eighth again.

Danny Stanzl’s father Kevin was less fortunate; his expired Crossle was thea cause of one of the yellow flags that meant half of the track was under caution at one point.

No-one else was exluded from the results, meaning that everyone gained two places. Wrigley was awarded second place and Harrison third.

Fitz-Simon and McArthur had been tied on points for second place behind Jackson coming into the final race. Jackson had to record a DNF to lose the championship, but only if either McArthur or Fitz-Simon won. As Fitz-Simon, along with Jackson, was judged to have overtaken struggling Zoe Newall in her Palliser under yellows, he was dropped to third in the championship, behind McArthur.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image copyright Linton Stutely

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Fitz-Simon wins first Historic Formula Ford race

Championship contender Horatio Fitz-Simon has won his first race in the Historic championship, keeping his championship hopes alive.

It was another exciting match-up that could have gone any of three ways, but Fitz-Simon had put his Merlyn Mk20 in the right place for a skin-of-its-teeth final lap with less than a second on the clock. He crossed the line just a tenth ahead of Cam Jackson’s Winkelmann, with the Titan of Tom McArthur less than a tenth behind.

McArthur had come back from a spin to win the first race and Jackson nearly did the same in Race 2, sliding fairly late on and slipping to fifth, then putting himself back into contention with only a few laps to go. The leading trio traded first place throughout, with Linton Stutely’s Royale snapping at their heels the whole time and Samuel Harrison (Elden Mk8) not far behind for most of the 15 minutes. Stutely was promoted to third after Jackson’s mishap and kept within touching distance, but could not quite pass, although he did make a serious attack on McArthur late on.

McArthur and Fitz-Simon did touch, with Fitz-Simon losing a nosecone fighting for a corner. He was not too affected by this and neither was McArthur, who carried on as before.

Simon Toyne was sixth, quite a long way behind Stutely and Harrison but in a safe position ahead of Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn Mk11A/17. Tim Brise was a strong Over 50s winner in his Merlyn, not only winning the class but taking back a place from Danny Stanzl’s Elden. Stanzl was ninth and Brian Morris (Lola T202) tenth. Stanzl achieved his goal of finishing ahead of his father; Kevin Stanzl (Crossle) was twelfth, behind Ross Drybrough’s March 703.

Ted Pearson’s Merlyn did not feel right after its Race 1 prang, so he came into the pits on lap 2. Chris Porritt had started at the back alongside him in his Lola and got as far as 19th.

Full results at TSL Timing


Another win for Fennymore and a step towards second for Simms

Graham Fennymore weathered the challenges of Benn Simms to hold on to another Formula Ford 2000 win.

Reynard SF81 driver Fennymore has already won the 2021 championship but second place is still up for grabs. Simms, in his 1977 Reynard, was determined to claim it for himself but was not content to aim for second. He was followed on track by Ian Pearson in a Royale RP30, who also has a chance.

Fennymore knew he had to get a good start and his only priority was to stay ahead, which he managed despite two chancy attacks by Simms on the first lap. Simms in turn had passed Tom Smith’s SF78 at the earliest opportunity from third on the grid. Smith retained third, relegating Pearson to fourth. He did get within range of Simms at one point and the two nearly touched, but Simms was unaffected.

A safety car period bunched the field up and gave Simms a couple more chances to take a bite out of Fennymore’s lead, but Fennymore held firm. The caution was triggered by Paul Allen (Delta T78) and Anthony Thompson (Reynard SF79) colliding at Brooklands and Allen’s car becoming stranded. Others spun out of the way of the incident but were able to carry on. Marshals were already trying to retrieve Fraser Collins’s Lola T580 from Becketts, where a radiator hose problem had caused it to overheat.

Greg Robertson’s Marc Mercer’s SF79s held their starting positions behind Pearson to finish fifth and sixth. Molly Dodd (Royale RP27) was the chief beneficiary of the Allen/Thompson issue, but she also made a good job of warding off Andrew Storer in the Pukka Pies SF79 to finish seventh. Storer was eighth, ahead of Stephen Glasswell and Bernie Braden, also in SF79s. Jennifer Ridgway looked to be pulling off at one point, but her SF78 kept going in eleventh.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

McArthur fights back in four-way Silverstone thriller

Tom McArthur has won the first Historic Formula Ford race of the weekend, coming back after a spin at Brooklands to overhaul Cam Jackson, Horatio Fitz-Simon and Linton Stutely.

The race could easily have gone any of those four ways, although after the mid-race incident, it looked as if four had become three. Titan driver McArthur’s determined chasing-down of the three leaders paid off on the last lap.

This would have been enough of a story as it was, but there was additional drama everywhere you looked. The leading group conducted classic fast-paced slipstreaming contest, with each of the four combatants having at least one turn on the front. The white Titan, Jackson’s black Winkelmann and the slate-blue Merlyn Mk20 driven by Fitz-Simon were the main protagonists, with the lead changing at least once a lap. Stutely became a factor quickly and led briefly before Jackson and Fitz-Simon passed him on either side. He was fourth.

Samuel Harrison held on to the front group for most of the race and ran as high as third in his Elden, but he was dropped eventually and had to settle for fifth. Simon Toyne was a fairly lonely sixth in an orange Lola T200, ahead of Merlyn driver Matthew Wrigley, who managed to break away from the next group. Tim Brise, in another Merlyn, won the Over 50s class, having built up a small lead over father and son duo, Danny (Elden Mk8) Stanzl and Kevin Stanzl in a Crossle.

Ross Drybrough held off Brian Morris in his March to finish eleventh. Morris, the Over 50 class leader, could only get as far as twelfth.

A last-lap tangle claimed both Chris Porritt’s Lola and Ted Pearson, whose Merlyn suffered a damaged steering arm.

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison sails through the backmarkers to win

Jordan Harrison has secured another Classic Formula Ford win at Silverstone, fending off both his rivals and backmarkers.

Harrison, in his green Lola T540E, was clearly the quickest on the Silverstone National circuit, but it was only in the latter stages of the race that he put any distance between himself and his chief challengers, Henry Chart (Van Diemen RF81) and Ben Tinkler in a 1980 Van Diemen.

Tinkler was combative from the start and climbed to second off the line, but Chart was not giving up easily and kept second place for a good chunk of the 15-minute event. As Harrison managed to get a jump on the rest of the field, Tinkler also reeled in Chart and quickly built up a small lead.

Chart was no slouch and even led very briefly early on, passing Harrison at Brooklands, but Harrison took back his place shortly afterwards. Chart repeatedly harried first Harrison, then Tinkler, but was unable to get a purchase.

Fourth place went to Rick Morris in his Royale RP29, who had been scrapping with Class B driver Simon Toyne for most of the race. Toyne started with the upper hand and did maintain it for a while, but the wily Morris was able to pass him and keep him at bay. Paul Britten followed the pair home in a PRS 81F, having closed the gap to Toyne gradually in the closing laps.

Britten was safely clear of seventh-placed Joe Ahrens, who was struggling with his Van Diemen RF80 and had trouble keeping his revs in the right region. He in turn was considerably ahead of Mark Harrison (Royale RP21). Harrison had been enjoying a robust spat with Lola driver Chris Porritt, but came off best in eighth place. Peter Hannam’s Nike was behind them in tenth.

The yellow flags were out at Brooklands in the opening laps as Richard Yeomans’s Crossle had stopped on-track, having had a collision with the Royale of Philip Senior and come off worse. The Crossle was moved fairly quickly and the race continued with no more interruptions.

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Suprises at Silverstone

Qualifying for the Silverstone Finals has thrown up a few new combinations and set us up for some exciting and close races.

Horatio Fitz-Simon will start from pole in Historic Formula Ford, having set the pace with a highly impressive time of 1.02.997s. The Classic Team Merlyn driver was late getting onto the grid, having not heard his final call, and came straight from earning another pole position in Historic Formula Junior. This was his first real run in a Junior and he is full of confidence.

Cam Jackson’s Winkelmann was only a third of a second behind, with the Titan of Tom McArthur only 0.2s further back. The nature of the National circuit means that competition will be very close and pole position will be difficult to hold.

Another surprise came in the shape of late entry Linton Stutely, driving his Royale RP3 to fifth place, just over a second away from pole. In between him and McArthur was Samuel Harrison’s Elden.

Tim Brise led the Over 50s qualifying charge and will start from seventh in his Merlyn, behind Simon Toyne’s Lola.

Ross Drybrough, still undergoing extensive physio on his injured hand, put his Merlyn in tenth place. Another welcome returnee is Cormac Flanagan, having repaired his Alexis after its first-round shunt.

Champion-elect Jordan Harrison’s Lola on pole was no surprise for Classic Formula Ford, but a late entry from Ben Tinkler split up the expected favourites. Tinkler, in a Van Diemen RF80, was only 0.166s slower than Harrison, despite a spin mid-session. Henry Chart’s RF81 was almost collected, but both carried on and set incredibly similar times. The front three will be extremely close and it will all come down to who breaks the tow first, as long as the start is good and clean.

Class B driver Toyne is making another guest appearance and will start fourth in his Lola, only a couple of hundredths ahead of Rick Morris, who was struggling with understeer. Together with Paul Britten’s PRS, the front six cars are covered by about three-quarters of a second.

Joe Ahrens will start seventh in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen RF80, still less than a second away from second place. Philip Senior’s Royale RP24 is next, followed by series regulars Richard Yeomans (Crossle) and Ben Hadfield (Van Diemen) in ninth and tenth, having qualified well.

Stuart Kestenbaum will be absent after crashing his Van Diemen in practice on Friday.

There were fewer surprises in Formula Ford 2000 qualifying, but a close contest is still assured, with 32 starters and the front seven cars within a second of one another. Graham Fennymore will lead the pack away once more in his Reynard SF81, ahead of Tom Smith, who is not in his rare Nomad FF2000 car but a more standard Reynard SF78.

Benn Simms will line up third and will be hoping to get a decent slipstream off the leaders. Leading Royale driver Ian Pearson was only a whisker off Simms’s time in fourth; Simms will be looking in his mirrors as well as ahead of him.

The SF79s of Greg Robertson and Marc Mercer are in fifth and sixth, then Adrian Reynard’s SF78 and two more SF79s, driven by Andrew Storer and Dan Eagling. Paul Allen is back out in his Delta and will start tenth, ahead of Molly Dodd’s Royale.

Ben Glasswell has had to pull out due to illness. Dad Stephen will start 12th in a Reynard SF79.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Silverstone showdown…

The HSCC Finals are just about to begin at Silverstone. All three Ford-based championships come to a close over the weekend. There are still wins and titles on offer, plus chances to make a reputation at the HSCC’s home circuit.

In Formula Ford 2000, Graham Fennymore has already wrapped up the championship, but he will be wanting to add some more wins to his tally.

Although no-one can catch Fennymore for the title, the field is still highly competitive, with 34 cars registered. Benn Simms will be Fennymore’s chief rival. Having suffered a blown engine and other problems with his yellow Reynard SF77, he will aim to end the season showing what he and the car can do.

Previous champion Andrew Park has only been a part-time presence this year and misses this round, but Royale driver Ian Pearson is there and is sure to be in the mix, alongside Molly Dodd in another Royale.

Jordan Harrison is already Classic Formula Ford Class A champion and as Cam Jackson has not entered the Classic race, he is the favourite for the overall title. His closest rival on the leaderboard is Rick Morris, who does not have the advantage of DNFs to drop from his score but who can be relied upon to be fiercely competitive.

Throughout the season, Henry Chart has been at the front of the pack, battling with both Jackson and Harrison. He has missed the last three races after incurring serious car problems at Oulton Park, losing ground to Morris, but he will be a serious challenger on-track. All three front-runners have combative driving styles and there is a chance of fireworks.

Classic FF1600 stalwart Stuart Kestenbaum is out in his Van Diemen RF79 and could overhaul Chart for third in the championship if the chance arises.

This leaves Historic Formula Ford, where the championship door is still open, with three drivers in with a chance of stepping through it.

The three contenders are, predictably, Jackson, Tom McArthur and Horatio Fitz-Simon. There are also three races over the weekend, making up for the abandoned one at Brands Hatch, meaning that consistency will be important.

Jackson is driving the Winkelmann that took him to the 2019 championship and he usually goes well on the tow-heavy Silverstone National circuit. McArthur, in Simon Hadfield’s Titan, is 27 points behind with 75 available and comes into the Finals with four back-to-back wins. He is also the only driver to defeat Jackson in a fair fight, at Donington this year.

Fitz-Simon is only six points behind Jackson in the standings and had got quicker as the season progressed, but he has not yet managed a win. He burst onto the Historic scene at Silverstone National in 2019, finishing third in the Historic final, and is comfortable around the National layout. He was also in the Classic Team Merlyn Mk20, the same car he will use tomorrow. His strong battling streak should serve him well.

The Over 50 class championship will probably go to Brian Morris, but Kevin Stanzl caught up with two good scores at Mallory. We will also see the return of Ross Drybrough in his March 709. Drybrough has an outside chance of an Over 50 win, but whichever way it goes, his appearance will be a triumphant return after his nasty hand injury at Brands Hatch.

Image courtesy of Dan Bichener