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FF1600 CHAMPIONSHIP sponsored by Premier Financial Planning

white leads

Treble Tops for White in Souley Medina

Bath’s Oliver White underlined his claim to the 2021 Castle Combe Formula Ford Championship with a third straight victory at the May Day Madness event. Driving his Souley Motorsport Medina JL17K faultlessly, he outdragged pole sitter Felix Fisher (TM Racing Ray GR05) and the baying pack at the start and kept everything neat and consistent to take the chequered flag clear of Fisher and brilliant Class B [1990-’95 chassis] winner Nathan Ward (Golden Bull Swift SC92).

White thus leads double champion Luke Cooper (Swift SC18) by 12 points going into May 31’s Combe Challenge double-header, but Alex Walker (Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum) and Ben Mitchell (RHE/Wayne Poole Racing Van Diemen RF99) remain well in the hunt. In the classes it’s a slightly different story, because unlike Ward, who has earned a bonus point for fastest lap each time, White has yet to clock one. Walker bagged both at Easter and Fisher hooked it this time round.

On a bitterly cold morning better for engines than grip, Fisher snared pole position on 1m10.533s (94.42mph), from White (1:10.577) and Cooper (1:10.746), suggesting a close race. Fresh from racing a Lister-Jaguar sportscar at Donington, Historic FF1600 ace Mitchell (1:11.148) split double champions Cooper and Adam Higgins (Firman RF21) on 1:11.631 at the sharp end. Ward lined up sixth, four places clear of class rival Paul Barnes in a similar SC92, with the Rays of Kieran Attwood (GR07) and Tom Hawkins (GR11), plus Matt Hallam’s KMR Spectrum as a buffer.

Van Diemen RF88 pilots Richard Higgins and James Colborn were 0.481s apart atop Class C, with teenager Alex Walker and Shaun Macklin (SC92) separating them from quadruple Combe champ Bob Higgins in his venerable Macon 07. Walker had a fright when a turn buckle on a rear pushrod in his Spectrum snapped after two laps. “We’ve not had that happen before, but fortunately it happened at Bobbies,” said team chief Mills, who has run Michael Borland’s Australian-originated designs for many seasons.

Steve Bracegirdle (RF88), Tom Hawkins’ drag racer dad Bob (Ray GR08), Alan Slater (in one of late Devon fabricator Ken Nicholls’ Nike Mk4s), Alicia Hamlen (Ray GR09), the Swifts of Michael Phillips (FB87) and Paul Morcom (SC93) and Richard Earl whose classic Van Diemen RF85 in its Hesketh-striped livery made up another 22-car field.

P1 had appeared not to be particularly grippy in the dry, but as rain was now falling Fisher was unable to live with White at the lights. Felix is a doughty fellow, however, and employed years of Combe knowledge to jostled hard for second place. His quest was helped considerably by the combative Ward who kept pursuers Cooper and Adam Higgins more than occupied en route to a resounding third.

Mitchell - who had not previously driven a super-stiff modern FF in the wet, conditions in which he shone en route to 12th in last year’s Walter Hayes Trophy in Richard Hudson-Evans’ 49-year-old Merlyn Mk20 - rotated at the Esses, but recovered to finish sixth ahead of Walker. Hawkins Jr, Attwood, Class C victor Richard Higgins and Hallam also covered the winner’s distance.




Posted on Tuesday 11 May 2021

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