HIS­TORIC FF1600 RI­VALS BAT­TLE HARD

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

Two mem­o­rable His­toric FF1600 races high­lighted an oth­er­wise low-key sec­ond visit of the year to a dry but chilly Brands Hatch by the HSCC.

Rob Wain­wright and Cal­lum Grant, hav­ing taken a vic­tory each in Kent, will take their ti­tle duel to the sea­son fi­nale at Sil­ver­stone next month.

Seven times win­ner Grant (Mer­lyn) shad­owed Wain­wright’s Elden from the early stages of the first race, reg­u­larly show­ing that he could slip­stream into the lead be­tween Clear­ways and the fin­ish line even if the Elden was bet­ter on the brakes a few sec­onds later at Pad­dock.

If that was Grant’s in­tended strat­egy for the last lap, it was not to be. He braked a frac­tion too late at Gra­ham Hill Bend for the penul­ti­mate time, al­low­ing Benn Til­ley (Mer­lyn) to snatch sec­ond place on Cooper Straight. That set­tled the fin­ish­ing or­der, with less than 0.5s cov­er­ing the three cars at the flag. James Buck­ton (Elden), Mark Shaw (Mer­lyn), Benn Simms (Jomo) and Si­mon Toyne (Lola) were next, fin­ish­ing al­most as close to­gether as the top three.

Race two fol­lowed a sim­i­lar pat­tern, but this time Grant’s plans were suc­cess­ful while Til­ley, go­ing well af­ter a crash-in­ter­rupted sea­son, took sec­ond by half a length from Wain­wright in an­other blan­ket fin­ish. Buck­ton and Shaw went miss­ing on the last lap, leav­ing Simms and Toyne to fol­low the lead­ers home. Til­ley made an ob­vi­ous jump-start from the front row (“the lights seemed to stay on for ever,” he said) but es­caped sanc­tion by let­ting Wain­wright and Grant past.

Si­mon Jack­son (Chevron) won both Clas­sic F3 races, but never had a com­fort­able ad­van­tage with Pat Gorm­ley in the Safir giv­ing chase. Ian Pear­son’s class-win­ning Van Diemen was third both times af­ter Gaius Ghinn (Ralt) lost a chal­leng­ing sec­ond place with a cou­ple of spins in the first race. Ghinn was clas­si­fied sixth, and fin­ished fourth at the sec­ond at­tempt.

An­drew Park’s dom­i­na­tion of the His­toric FF2000 sea­son con­tin­ued with an­other dou­ble vic­tory. Race one looked like a strug­gle for Park, and it tran­spired af­ter­wards that he’d been forced to drive us­ing the en­gine’s on/ off switch af­ter the Rey­nard’s throt­tle stuck open. The race ended early when third man Gra­ham Ridg­way’s daugh­ter Jen­nifer (Royale) clashed with Greg Robert­son (Rey­nard) at Mclaren cor­ner.

Race two was a much more rou­tine af­fair for the leader with a 14s win­ning mar­gin. Tom White (Osella) was run­ner-up for the sec­ond time and Ridg­way in the Royale was pipped to third place by An­drew Storer (Rey­nard). Storer grabbed the podium spot at the fi­nal cor­ner af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a grassy mo­ment at Gra­ham Hill Bend early on.

Un­beaten all year, Mark Char­teris main­tained his 100 per cent Clas­sic Club­mans record, eas­ily beat­ing Spencer Mccarthy in both their races. The quick-start­ing Mike Lane and Alan Cook fol­lowed, and Clive Wood was a dou­ble class win­ner, all in Mal­lock vari­ants.

Rod Bir­ley (Ford Es­cort) won the first Quaife Sa­loon race af­ter the chas­ing Dale Gent (Subaru) re­tired with a de­tached in­ter­cooler pipe. Tony Skel­ton (Re­nault Clio) held sec­ond un­der heavy pres­sure un­til Mal­colm Wise in the Es­cort even­tu­ally found a gap and blasted past in the fi­nal yards. The BMWS of points leader Lau­rie Grant and Gra­ham Crowhurst were nearly a lap be­hind in fourth and fifth.

Gent started 17th in race two but caught and passed Bir­ley for the lead with laps to spare. Race one re­tire­ment Dan Cowan (Sierra) was a dis­tant third also from the back of the grid, and Wise fourth. Crowhurst and Andy Ban­ham (Subaru) com­pleted the top six, but Skel­ton was de­layed by a first lap ad­ven­ture, fin­ish­ing 16th. Grant was sev­enth, re­cov­er­ing from a spin at Gra­ham Hill Bend, and still won his class to keep the points tick­ing over.

A mis­fire plagued Chris Bas­sett’s Peu­geot, re­strict­ing him to third and 14th in two Tin Tops out­ings af­ter qual­i­fy­ing fastest. Two ex­cur­sions in race two while cop­ing with the en­gine prob­lem didn’t help his cause. Chris White­man and the much-im­proved Daniel Fisher took full ad­van­tage, oc­cu­py­ing the top two places in their Honda Civics. Daniel Adams’ Pro­ton was fourth be­hind the strug­gling Bas­sett and later took third, de­spite a col­li­sion with Gra­ham Richard­son’s Civic on the last lap. Ken An­gell (BMW), de­fend­ing cham­pion Mikey Day (Saxo) and Cliff Pellin (Fi­esta) were all dou­ble class win­ners.

The Cater­hams of Tony Ben­nett and Shaun El­well dom­i­nated both All­com­ers races, even though they opted to start at the back with an ad­di­tional 10s de­lay in race two.

First race third man Ian Bur­ford (Ginetta) rather wasted his in­her­ited pole po­si­tion by spin­ning twice in the sec­ond en­counter. He re­cov­ered to fin­ish fifth.

Bill Sol­lis (Mini Cooper S) had fun fight­ing with two Ford Mus­tangs, which were mys­te­ri­ously run­ning in the same class, but Sol­lis un­sur­pris­ingly couldn’t match the V8 cars’ power de­spite his best ef­forts on the cor­ners.

Wain­wright (l) lost out to Grant (r) in race two

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