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Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Hot or not? Donington preview

The weather may be an uncertainty for the weekend: will it be hot or will it be as wet as Cadwell? We are certain, however, that there will be some Formula Ford action.

Historic Formula Ford starts the weekend, with Cadwell winners and title contenders Samuel Harrison and Tom McArthur both back in action. Both the Merlyn Mk20 of Harrison and McArthur’s Titan Mk4 are fast enough to win and McArthur will be wanting to put his Cadwell crash behind him.

Joining them at the front will be an old and a new face. Callum Grant had to sit out Cadwell as his Merlyn Mk20 had developed a crack in its chassis, but it will be ready to go by Saturday morning. Jamie Vinall-Meyer, who suprised some with his pace at Silverstone, will be out in the Jamun Mk3.

Damian Samuel-Camps will be making his debut as a team-mate to Grant in another Mk20. The nephew of Max Samuel-Camps has not raced before but has a good car underneath him.

Also under the Grant awning will be championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson in his Mk11/17. The continued absence of Brian Morris and his Lola will mean that the Over 50 contest will be between Pearson, Rob Smith’s Merlyn and Ross Drybrough’s March. It will probably be carried out well within the top ten. Cormac Flanagan’s Alexis will likely be among them.

Neil Fowler has a smaller stable of cars to look after this weekend, so we may see Jack Butterworth out again in his Lola, although he is not an official entry.

McArthur is bound to star again in Classic Formula Ford, driving Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, but with Jordan Harrison finally getting to grips with a wet setup on his Lola T540E, the weather will play less into his hands than it would have done at the start of the season.

Henry Chart is racing again and tends to enjoy a wet track in his Van Diemen RF81. Last year, he had a terrific scrap with Cam Jackson and he cannot be ruled out for a win. If Richard Tarling has worked out a strong setup for his overhauled Royale RP26, he will also be a danger to Harrison and McArthur.

Tarling’s Enigma team-mate Joe Ahrens will be looking to put his misfortune at Cadwell behind him, when a stub axle on his Van Diemen RF80 broke and sent him into a wall. Another driver hoping to bounce back from a Cadwell crash is Philip Senior, whose Royale RP24 appears to have been sorted following a practice accident.

Andy Gosling, on the other hand, ran well at Cadwell in his Van Diemen RF79 and will be confident coming into Donington.

Returning drivers include championship chairman Stuart Kestenbaum in his Van Diemen RF81 and Rudolf Ernst, who is driving a Titan alongside McArthur in Simon Hadfield’s team.

There is no prize for guessing that Benn Simms and Graham Fennymore will be at the front in Historic Formula Ford 2000. The two Reynard drivers have been in a class of their own all season and keep pushing each other to faster and faster times.

They will be joined by Andrew Park this time, in a 1981 Reynard. The multiple champion can never be disregarded as long as his car is not suffering from problems, which have been mysterious ones at times. Lee Bankhurst will be hot on his tail in his Royale RP30, having kept his hand in with a class win at least week’s Jochen Rindt Trophy.

Another Royale is likely to be near the front as Drew Cameron is back on track. He has had time to fix the problems that curtailed both of his races at Silverstone, where his RP27 was the quickest car in a straight line.

The absence of Jen and Graham Ridgway frees their usual mechanic Tom Smith up to race imself this weekend. He will be out in his unique Nomad Mk4, which has only been raced once in the past 42 years.

Ollie Roberts will be praying for rain, as he counts a wet Donington as his favourite track. The Reynard SF79 driver has been more reliably quick in recent weeks.

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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

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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.

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FF2000 HSCC

Can Simms keep up his momentum?

Benn Simms is still the favourite for Snetterton honours in Formula Ford 2000, despite the presence of fast newcomer Cam Jackson.

Simms’s Reynard SF77 was unbelievably quick in qualifying at Brands Hatch, all the while dealing with clutch issues on his car and a shoulder injury on himself. Without these, can he go even quicker?

Andrew Park went faster during the race himself, but the multiple champion has not entered this weekend. Simms doesn’t have his car to watch out for in his mirrors, but he does have the SF81 of Graham Fennymore bearing down on him. The 2021 champion was having slight trouble with a new clutch biting just that bit too hard at Brands, but it didn’t hold him back too much and is probably sorted now.

Jackson, driving Simon Ayliff’s Delta, is an unknown quantity in FF2000, but his pedigree in both FF1600 and Formula Junior suggests that it won’t be too long before he is right on the pace.

Drew Cameron was fourth at Brands and will be able to capitalise on any mistakes by the leaders. He has had some problems to overcome in testing, losing a carburettor float and damaging a rear wing, but these are far from insurmountable. Ollie Roberts has had time to deal with the car problems that affected his starting positions at Brands and his SF79 will be closer to the front.

Grids were sizeable at Brands, but some regulars will be making their 2022 debuts this year and will be a welcome addition to the grid. Graham and Jennifer Ridgway in their SF78s and Ben and Stephen Glasswell in their SF77 and SF79 respectively will fly the flag for inter-family competition, with Ben Glasswell likely to be near the business end of the grid. Andy and Adrian Langridge, both in SF78s, are yet another family pairing.

Peter Drennan is not coming to Snetterton, although he may well reappear later. Molly Dodd, fourth in last year’s championship, is also only doing a part-season this year.

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Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

New challengers and returning regulars for Historic Formula Ford

The first Historic Formula Ford races of the year will have few new faces, but some likely new combinations at the front and some familiar names on the grid.

Defending champion Cam Jackson, Silverstone winner Linton Stutely and 2021 championship contender Horatio Fitz-Simon have all decided to sit out the Snetterton races at least, meaning that the leading pack might look a little different this year.

Tom McArthur was up there with Jackson and Fitz-Simon for most of last year and he is having another go in 2022. The Cheshire-based FF1600 specialist will be taking on both the Historic and Classic championships in Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, a car he has driven before.

His most likely sparring partner at the front will be Samuel Harrison, now a Classic Team Merlyn driver in the Mk20 that Fitz-Simon used in 2021. Although still in his teens, Harrison showed increasing maturity towards the end of 2021 and got his CTM career off to a great start with a historic win at the Walter Hayes Trophy.

Callum Grant is only making a few appearances in 2022 but he will almost certainly add another Merlyn Mk20 to the mix at the front at Snetterton. He had a terrific scrap with McArthur at Oulton Park last year and a repeat of that would make a great curtain-opener for the season.

Over 50s frontrunner Rob Smith is racing again for the first time since Brands Hatch in 2020, having been caught out by travel restrictions due to mostly living in France. He was easily the quickest in the class until his enforced hiatus and his Merlyn Mk20 will be a welcome addition.

Keeping an eye on him, Over 50 champion Brian Morris will return in his Lola T200 and regular challenger Ross Drybrough is racing his March 709, as driven by Cam Jackson in 2020.

Morris, Matt Wrigley and Danny Stanzl were a common combination in the chasing pack last year, with Wrigley sometimes managing to break free in his Merlyn Mk11A/20. Stanzl, with a little more reliability, could be joining him this year.

Other returnees include Alexis driver Cormac Flanagan, who missed most of 2021 after crashing out at Snetterton. Flanagan has already made his return to the circuits, but Scott Rawlinson will be out this weekend in his Merlyn Mk11A for the first time since a big accident in practice at Cadwell.

Championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson has stood down from driving his Merlyn Mk11/17 this weekend in favour of son Tom.

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Classic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Classic Formula Ford preview: McArthur sets up Harrison showdown

The 2022 Classic Formula Ford season is just about to begin and there is a new name on the enry list. Tom McArthur, who pushed Cam Jackson so hard last year in Simon Hadfield’s Titan, is launching a combined Classic and Historic campaign in a Merlyn Mk20.

McArthur will be hoping to emulate Benn Tilley, who won the Classic championship in 2018 in the very same car, which is run by Hadfield and owned by his wife, Mandie.

This sets up the exciting prospect of a lead battle between defending champion Jordan Harrison and McArthur. Both are committed, uncompromising drivers, and two of the few Formula Ford competitors to have got the better of Cam Jackson.

Harrison has always had the speed to win in his green Lola T540E, but a more measured and tactical approach really paid off in 2021.

They are likely to be joined at the front by Richard Tarling, driving a Royale RP26 run by Enigma Motorsport. The 2017 Historic champion has always known when to use his aggressive side and when to go with the flow. He will be looking to make his mark again after an enforced lay-off due to complications arising from Covid.

Classic regular Ben Tinkler has finally decided against selling his Van Diemen RF80 and is another capable front-runner. We cannot rule out 2019 champion Rick Morris either, although he struggled with setup on his Royale RP29 all last year.

Running as a team-mate to his erstwhile driver coach Tarling this year, Joe Ahrens is out again in an Enigma-run Van Diemen RF80. He showed promise in his first year of racing and may be able to fly with the leading group in 2022. Jake Shortland, another younger driver, is also set to appear at Snetterton, having impressed at the circuit last year. He will be driving another Lola.

Not a new driver by any means, CFF President Stuart Kestenbaum will be debuting a new car, a Van Diemen RF81 that has been a “project” for a while.

Notable absentees include Henry Chart, who is doing a part-season this year due to other commitments, and 2020 champion Cam Jackson, who is taking a step back from full-time FF1600 this year.

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Features FF2000 HSCC

Champions assemble

The HSCC Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship gets going this weekend at Brands Hatch, with four champions in action.

The series is starting how it means to go on, with big grids and fierce competition at the front. Reigning champion Graham Fennymore will be out in his rapid Reynard SF81, with his predecessor Peter Drennan hoping that his Royale RP27 is as quick as the Reynard SF79 that took him to the 2020 crown.

Four-time series winner Andrew Park only did a part-season last year. Although he won once at Cadwell and usually had the pace, his SF81 misbehaved at least once. Having had time to work on the car, he should be back in the mix.

The final champion out to play is Mr 2014, Benn Simms, who was the early leader in 2021. His SF77 was normally the closest car to Fennymore’s whenever the two were on track together.

The 33-car field expected at the Indy circuit will be split into two groups for qualifying, with heats and a championship race each day. This format is an unforgiving one; any serious mistakes made during qualifying may have to be rectified on-track not just once, but twice over.

Of course, other drivers will be looking to muscle in at the front. Molly Dodd (Royale RP27) starred in a qualification race at Donington, only to lose places due to a faulty transponder. This format has worked for her before and she comes into 2022 a much more experienced driver.

Ian Pearson was third last year, with one win at a very slippery Mallory. His Royale RP30 was normally snapping at the heels of the leader and he should never be counted out.

Andrew Storer missed a lot of 2021 but did reach the podium last year at Brands, driving his famous Pukka Pies SF79. He cannot be disregarded either, especially with Stephen Glasswell (SF79) and Graham Ridgway’s SF78 not being present.

Each season brings a few new driver and car combinations and 2022 is no different. Ollie Roberts is hoping to be competitive from the off in his new SF79, despite not having raced for a while. 2021 Class B champion Fraser Collins will also be debuting a new car, a Class A Royale RP30.

The weather will also be a factor this weekend, with changeable conditions perhaps favouring the more experienced competitors.

(Image courtesy of Richard Towler)

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Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford

All aboard the Magic Roundabout…

Formula Ford goes to Mallory Park

All three HSCC Formula Ford series are set to visit Mallory Park for the firt time in several seasons this weekend.

Competing with the Goodwood Revival, grid numbers are slightly down for the meeting, but this just means that some surprises might be on the cards.

Cam Jackson is in action at Goodwood so will be missing once more, so Tom McArthur will be aiming to add a maximum figure to his points tally, keeping him within striking distance of Jackson in the championship. The Titan driver is familiar with the Leicestershire demi-oval and will be confident from the beginning.

Classic Team Merlyn’s Horatio Fitz-Simon is ahead of McArthur in the standings and is also getting faster as the season goes on. He will be looking to score his first win of the year.

Samuel Harrison cannot be discounted. The young Elden driver is trailing in the championship battle, but he has been testing at Mallory and is under far less pressure than Fitz-Simon or McArthur. Danny Stanzl (Elden Mk8) and Merlyn driver Matt Wrigley will be ready to scoop up any points on offer and have a chance of a podium.

The Classic Formula Ford grid is minus Jackson, but his chief rival Henry Chart has also elected to miss the Mallory races. This leaves room for Jordan Harrison to consolidate his position at the top of the points table, following his double win at Oulton Park. Second-placed Rick Morris will be hoping to put tyre troubles behind him and put his Royale on the podium.

Newcomer Joe Ahrens fought hard at Oulton and also has the speed to challenge for podium positions. Samuel Harrison is another driver in with a chance.

Stuart Kestenbaum is making his return to the championship with a rejuvenated car. His experience at Mallory means that he is likely to be a factor.

Formula Ford 2000 is also without a couple of its main players, with championship leader Graham Fennymore and previous champion Andrew Park opting out. Benn Simms will be hoping for a trouble-free run in his Reynard SF77, which has suffered a number of problems this year. With a fully-functional car, he will be the favourite, but nothing is certain.

He is likely to be pushed all the way by Invitation class driver Murray Shepherd in a Van Diemen RF82. Shepherd is the runaway leader of the Classic FF2000 championship and a highly-accomplished racer in different series.

Shepherd is ineligible to score points and so will not affect the championship, but Molly Dodd can. The Spalding-based newcomer has got faster and faster, and would have won a qualification race at Brands had she not be penalised for not having a working transponder.

Ian Pearson sits ahead of Dodd in the points table and is someone else to watch out for. He has scored four second places so far, behind the absent Fennymore each time.

Image copyright Richard Towler

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Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC round up

Gold Cup is go…

Racing action is set to get under way at Oulton Park tomorrow afternoon, as Historic and Classic Formula Ford and Formula Ford 2000 take to the track.

Qualifying for Historic Formula Ford and the Paul Simms Trophy has already taken place, with Tom McArthur on pole in Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4. McArthur at the front is not unusual, but the top places on the grid have a rather different look. Multiple champion Cam Jackson is sitting out this round, meaning that another new winner for this season is possible.

Horatio Fitz-Simon, driving for Classic Team Merlyn, put in a late burst of speed on a crowded track to set second-fastest time, ahead of the Merlyn of Callum Grant. Grant, returning to the championship after a break, led the session early on.

Samuel Harrison was another late surger, saving his fastest lap for last and putting his Elden Mk8 in fourth. Brian Morris (Lola T202) will line up next, having been impressive for the whole session. Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn will start from sixth, pushed out of the top five by Harrison.

Danny Stanzl was a steady top-ten presence and will start seventh in his Elden, ahead of Paul Unsworth’s Lola, Tim Brise in a Merlyn and Kevin Stanzl in a Crossle, who bumped James Russell (Merlyn Mk20) out of the top ten as Russell sat in the pits. Championship chairman Ted Pearson is making his return to the series in his Merlyn and will start from twelfth.

Jackson is also missing from the Classic grid. The two races are likely to become a battle between Henry Chart in his ex-Tim Harvey Van Diemen and Jordan Harrison, driving a Lola T540E. Both drivers have recorded wins during the season and as long as the weather is dry, both will be very quick. 2019 champion Rick Morris cannot be counted out either, although he has been struggling with tyres and set-up on his Royale RP29 this season. His Don Hardman Racing team-mate Stuart Kestenbaum will not be on-track.

Joseph Ahrens will be looking to improve on his previous performances. Newcomer Ahrens has shown top-five pace in Richard Tarling’s Van Diemen and will be in with a chance.

The first Classic race will share a grid with Heritage Formula Ford. McArthur will be racing in a 2017 Medina.

Formula Ford 2000 will also feature a wide-open top end. Benn Simms is back in action in his Reynard SF77 after taking a break to move house and sort out a blown engine. Championship leader Graham Fennymore will not be letting him get away and Andrew Park will also be keen to challenge; two 1981 Reynards will be in the mix with Simms’s yellow car. Races this year have mostly been dominated by Simms or Fennymore, but a three-way lead scrap is a clear possibility.

Molly Dodd (Royale RP27) will be out to make up for losing her win at Brands Hatch due to a transponder problem. The Spalding teenager might not be quite on the pace of Simms and Fennymore yet, but a top-five finish is a distinct possibility.

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Classic Formula Ford Features FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Brands Hatch Superprix: ones to watch

The HSCC visits Brands Hatch from tomorrow, with all of its Formula Ford series in action over a long weekend. Expectations are high after the superb showing at Donington; who is likely to shine, who’s new and who might cause an upset?

Historic Formula Ford 2000 gets underway tomorrow (Friday) with two heats and a final on the Indy circuit. Graham Fennymore will be hoping to capitalise on the absence of Benn Simms, whose car developed serious problems at Donington, and multi-champion Andrew Park. Ian Pearson was in the mix at Donington and his Royale RP30 is in the opposite qualifying group to Fennymore’s Reynard SF81.

A decent contingent of Van Diemen RF82s will join the Classic F3s, with championship leader Murray Shepherd the likely victor.

FF2000 also gets a run on the Grand Prix circuit on Saturday, adding an extra challenge and an unknown factor for some of the new drivers on the grid.

Classic Formula Ford will be sharing a grid with Historic Formula 3. Cam Jackson has elected not to enter this time, so Henry Chart and Jordan Harrison are likely to resume their battle at the front. Former champion Ben Tinkler will return to to Classic championship for the first time in a while, driving a Van Diemen RF80, and cannot be ruled out as someone who will cause an upset at the business end.

Ross Drybrough is making a rare Classic appearance in his March 709, as raced in Historic by Cam Jackson in 2020 and Max Bartell at the start of this year.

Jackson will be taking his place in Historic Formula Ford as well as sharing a Lenham GT with father Simon in the Guards Trophy. Fireworks are guaranteed as Tom McArthur has decided to join in, following his victory at Donington. Linton Stutely continues to be absent and Callum Grant is sitting this one out, but Horatio Fitz-Simon will be at the front, waiting to pick up as many points as possible and get in position should the leaders get it all wrong. Will Nuthall has entered his Jamun T2 and he may also be quick; the Jamun has proved an effective weapon at Brands in the hands of Richard Tarling..

The Over 50 class has a new challenger with the welcome return of Ted Pearson to the driving seat. Championship chairman Pearson sat 2020 out due to major surgery, but now his son Tom has a rival for their Merlyn Mk11/17.