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FF1600 CHAMPIONSHIP sponsored by Premier Financial Planning

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Fisher breaks White’s monopoly at last 

Felix Fisher never gives up in his quest to join brother Josh as a champion on Castle Combe’s Formula Ford roll of honour. Having opened his seasonal tally with second place last time out, the TM Racing Ray GR05driver once again demonstrated his determination by defeating the previously unbeaten Oliver White from pole position in the first leg of May 31’s double-header.

White, who finished a scant 0.711 second behind Fisher in the opener, reversed the order in its even tighter sequel, pipping Felix by 0.393s as the a second blanketed the top four to the approval of spectators, back at the venue for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were partially lifted. With four wins from five now on his 2021 slate in his Souley Motorsport-run Medina JL17K, White had burst through the 100 points barrier to reinforce his title claim.

In Class B Nathan Ward bounced back from a puncture in race one, in which he lost out to Paul Barnes in a similar Swift, to win later in the day. Returnee David Cobbold starred in Class C, twice finishing eighth overall in outpacing points leader Richard Higgins (RF88). Richard’s father Bob - the four-time champion having logged another birthday on his lap chart before the event - made the Historic class his own in his Macon MR7, resetting the lap record first time out.

Fisher snared pole position on a quick morning, his best lap of 1m10.282s (94.76mph)  just 0.316s shy of Michael Moyers’ 1:09.866 record. With double champ Luke Cooper (Swift SC18), That White, Ben Mitchell (in Richard Hudson-Evans’ Wayne Poole-run Van Diemen RF99), American Carter Williams (Van Diemen JL13) and another previous double titlist Adam Higgins (Firman RFR21AH) were also in the ‘10s’ augured well for a fine afternoon’s racing.

A Ray posse comprising Tom Hawkins (GR11), Kieren Attwood (GR07) and Chris Acton (GR08) led the chase, with Pat Blakeney going well in 10th with his Van Diemen MS13. Ward on 1:11.820 and Barnes headed Class B for 1990-’95 chassis, separated by Matt Hallam (Spectrum 011c). Meanwhile Van Diemen trio Richard Higgins, Cobbold and James Colborn were tightly packed in Class C, for ’85-’89 machinery. Joining them in the ‘13s’ were Sam Street and Shaun Macklin in Swift SC92s.

The opening race was a cracker in which Fisher led away with Mitchell, Cooper, White and Hawkins on his tail. Cooper and Mitchell traded places a couple of times before Ben’s nosecone was snagged and White took up the cudgels in second. Even he couldn’t unseat Fisher, but was content to finish a solid second, with fastest lap of 1:10.594. Felix was relieved. “It’s been a long time coming but in a most competitive grid it’s hard work to lead with those guys on your tail,” he said.

White, the exuberant Cooper and Mitchell slipstreamed Fisher over the line, chased by Adam Higgins in the slinky grey RFR and Williams. Acton, the outstanding Cobbold, with rival Richard Higgins in tow, and Hallam completed the top 10. Ward salvaged second in class behind Barnes after a brush with another car. Bob Higgins in the third Riadro entry dominated the division for earlier cars, pursued by Alan Slater in his Nike Mk4, built by ace fabricator Ken Nicholls in Holsworthy, North Devon.

Race two, for which the grid was determined by second quickest lap times, saw the leaders brave it out three wide into Quarry on lap one. Mitchell boldly deposed Fisher to lead, and held sway as White and Cooper ramped up the pressure, making it a quartet for the lead, with Adam Higgins and Williams swapping places in their wake. It all went wrong for Mitchell when he spun exiting the Esses and walloped the wall backwards. Fortunately he was unhurt, but with the immobile machine in a tricky position a safety car was deployed with White, Fisher Cooper, Williams, Higgins A. and Acton in its wake.

When the flashing lights went out there was no overtaking to the timing line, thus they finished in that order, with Atwood and class victors Cobbold and Ward, then Hallam, Higgins R. and Blakeney next in the queue. “I thought we would get one more lap but [with them so close] it was good to see the chequered flag,” said White. He now leads the championship with 112 points to Cooper’s 93. Mitchell is third on 67, ahead of Ward on 64 and Fisher charging up on the rails with 63.

 

MARCUS PYE

   

Posted on Monday 14 June 2021
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