HIGH­LIGHTS: HISTORIC RAC­ING RE­SOUND­ING ECHOES FROM

Paul Lawrence runs the rule over that best historic mo­tor­sport of the last 12 months

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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.

CAR

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.

Evans won the Sil­ver Fern on his de­but Clas­sics have moved over to Tar­mac events

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