The Historic and Classic Formula Ford 1600 season is almost upon us. James Beckett’s new United Formula Ford championship and the BRSCC’s Northern and Superclassic series have already had their opening rounds, as well as the National championship.
All of these championships are open in some way to pre-1982 machinery, with pre-1972 cars being theoretically eligible for all of them. This begs the question: are there too many championships for older Formula Fords?
The idea for this article came soon after United Formula Ford was announced late last year, replacing the Heritage Formula Ford series which was primarily for pre-1993 cars. There was a degree of anger from some commenters, who saw the multi-class United championship as potentially diluting existing grids and weakening the existing historic series. A few others also expressed disappointment that a dedicated race series for pre-1993 cars was being superseded.
Enigma Motorsport boss and Historic competitor Linton Stutely has a good perspective on this issue, as he is running cars in both the HSCC Classic and United championships for different drivers this year.
“I don’t think there are too many series,” he said, adding that he does not think that the HSCC ones are in any danger.
“We aren’t interested in racing anyone other than the best drivers in their respective classes.
“We don’t turn up to get a trophy, we turn up to try to beat the best.
“And historics can’t compete with modern cars.”
HSCC Historic FF1600 championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson does understand some of the criticisms and makes a comparison with the HSCC’s successful Formula Ford 2000 championship, which regularly has over-subscribed grids.
“If you’ve got a Formula Ford 2000, where else can you run it? Monoposto?
“In our world, 1600s, you can run it in the HSCC championship, or you can run it in Classic Formula Ford as well. Or you could run it with James Beckett, or with the BRSCC in the Northern championship. You can do one-off races with it here and there, and you can do Monopostos. You can do anything with it.
“There’s a lot of choice for people, particularly with a historic car or a classic car.”
Numbers at the opening BRSCC and United meetings this weekend suggest that numbers of pre-’82 cars will be fairly low in both championships, but some commenters are still worried.
One way round this issue would be for Formula Ford championship co-ordinators to work together more, agreeing on a balanced calendar with the minimum of clashes, allowing entrants to make guest appearances at their local or favourite track without interfering with championship commitments. Those who would benefit most from this are drivers like United racewinner James Hadfield, who is normally working on customers’s cars during HSCC race weekends.
There is also a case for regional championships like BRSCC Northern, which cater to racers who prefer not to use their budget on extensive travel to southern England, or work long hours and find it hard to travel.
Pearson goes on to say that clubs like having Formula Ford at their meetings too.
“It’s the best racing.”