HIGHLIGHTS: HISTORIC RACING RESOUNDING ECHOES FROM
Paul Lawrence runs the rule over that best historic motorsport of the last 12 months
The HSCC’S Historic Formula Ford Championship easily made the top 12 last season and there are no apologies for including it again as the category heads towards its 50th anniversary year in 2017.
If anything, the racing was even better and the grids were even bigger in 2016. With as many as 50 cars entered for some events, timetables had to be juggled to give the Formula Fords more track time and they consistently delivered.
What made the season really special was the level of sporting camaraderie at the head of the action. The leading contenders raced wheel-to-wheel and then got to the podium and shared hugs and handshakes in a display of how sportsmanship should be in historic racing.
In the final reckoning, Callum Grant beat Rob Wainwright and Benn Simms to repeat his 2012 title, but there were many races won and lost by a fraction of a second. Grant won nine of the 15 rounds, Wainwright won three and Simms won at Oulton Park while former F3000 racer Mark Shaw and returning 2013 champion Sam Mitchell, in a part season, each won once.
NEW ZEALAND SILVER FERN RALLY
The best gravel stages in the world, outstanding scenery and friendly locals add up to make the New Zealand Silver Fern Rally the gold standard event in historic stage rallying. Welshman Meirion Evans put in an epic performance to win this week-long classic at the first attempt.
After a couple of seasons fighting at the head of the BHRC, Evans’ own driving took a back seat for much of 2016. A business expansion and work on building Ford Escorts for customers left little time for competing, so he hatched a plan to do a season of rallying in a week in November. With 1000 stage miles, the New Zealand event is closer to three seasons of UK forest events.
However, preparations for the event did not go well. With a fresh historic-spec Escort built, tested and shipped, Evans headed for the Isle of Man in September with a modified Escort. That outing was quick while it lasted, but it ended with a big accident into the Manx scenery and Meirion faced surgery on a damaged collarbone.
This Welshman, of course, is made of tough stuff and, not only did he make it to New Zealand, but he won the historic rally with a superbly judged performance.
Subaru Impreza Ford Fiesta R5 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Mitsubishi Lancer E10 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Mitsubishi Lancer E9 Subaru Impreza
Transport Section – Similar to Neutral Sections but time can be regained. Time Control – A check where a time is recorded by a marshal on the competitor’s time card. It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that the time is recorded correctly. Whites – Unsurfaced tracks, coloured white on an OS Map. Wrong slot – You’ve gone the wrong way.