FOSTER SECURES A DOUBLE AT NORTHERN & SUPER CLASSIC FORMULA FORD OPENER AT MALLORY PARK


Joey Foster began his 2021 season of racing in the best way possible as he drove to two flawless victories in the opening rounds of the Avon Tyres Northern & Super Classic Formula Ford Championship at Mallory Park on Saturday.

An excellent entry of 20 cars was expected to take to the grid for the first of four scheduled visits to the Leicestershire circuit as part of the Star of Mallory contest this year, however troubles for Nick Barnes forced him to miss the races, while defending Super Classic B class and overall champion Peter Daly was also unable to start from 7th on the grid in his Van Diemen RF88 thanks to a mechanical issue in qualifying. He would still compete in the second thanks to the use of Lorna Vickers’ identical chassis.

With 18 cars still ready to go, Joey Foster planted his Don Hardman-prepared 2021-spec Firman chassis on pole position for Race 1 with Jack Wolfenden alongside in his 2017 example run by Souley Motorsport. Ben Tinkler made a switch to contemporary machinery in the same Ray GR09 that Foster took to Formula Ford Festival victory in 2017, while top Super Classic car on the grid was renowned historic racer Simon Hadfield in his Hawke DL2B.

Incredibly, Wolfenden beat Foster away from the line and to the first corner while Hadfield got the better of Tinkler to hold 3rd place just behind them, but Foster was back in the lead by the time the cars reached Shaw’s Hairpin. Foster then set about building up his lead in the next few laps, leaving Wolfenden to deal with Tinkler who had repassed Hadfield and was now chasing the older Firman chassis for 2nd place. Hadfield, meanwhile, was now battling with the Lola T540E of Jordan Harrison for overall Super Classic honours whilst also keeping Chris Hodgen’s Swift and Nigel Dolan’s Van Diemen at bay.

Harrison passed Hadfield on Lap 5 heading into Gerards and was unable to shake the Hawke off his tail initially but then managed to create a gap as the race progressed into its second half. By this time Foster had a lead of 5 seconds over the dice for 2nd place between Wolfenden and Tinkler and wasn’t far away from catching backmarkers, something that looked poised to have an affect on the battle behind him. The traffic didn’t appear to have much of an affect on Wolfenden, however, as he maintained his position despite the extra work. There were no such problems for Foster either as he effortlessly dealt with the lapped cars and claimed a relatively straightforward victory. Wolfenden ended up 10 seconds back in 2nd place, managing to hold off Tinkler all race to beat him by three quarters of a second, while Jordan Harrison took 4th overall as first Super Classic car home and also a win in the Super Classic C class. Simon Hadfield’s impressive drive to 5th overall netted him Class D, but he survived a late lunge at the line from Chris Hodgen who picked up 6th and the Super Classic A class win. Super Classic B was win by the wonderfully named “Juiceie Bruceie”, who drove superbly to take his Van Diemen RF84 from the 19th spot on the grid to 9th overall and top of his class.

The second race’s first start only lasted two laps before it was forced to be red flagged after Oliver Chapman’s PRS lost a wheel at Shaw’s Hairpin and was left immobile as a result. After his car was recovered and the grid reformed, the race was restarted and this time Foster got a better jump than he had in the first while Tinkler managed to steal 2nd from Wolfenden heading into the first corner. This left Jack hung out to dry on the outside as both Hadfield and Harrison charged past to demote him to 5th in quick succession. Foster once again decided not to hang around this time and was already 1.5 seconds up the road at the end of the first lap, while Wolfenden had repassed Harrison and taken Hodgen’s Swift with him, before he also took Hadfield before the end of Lap 2 to move back up to 3rd and back onto Tinkler’s gearbox by Lap 4. Jack then managed to complete a move by the time the pair completed Lap 6.

Further back in the pack, Peter Daly had been forced to start from the pitlane due to more mechanical woes, but by Lap 5 had managed to climb back up to 13th place overall and 3rd in class behind Bruceie and Edwin Hannah, before finding himself enjoying a battle with the Mondiale M92S of Neil Hunt. Ahead of them and behind the leading trio was another intense scrap between Hadfield, Harrison and Hodgen, the three cars running nose to tail and enjoying some excellent scraps with Hodgen managing to get in front of the two classic chassis but unable to shake them off his tail. Harrison forced his way back into 4th overall on Lap 10 and Gerards with the three cars tightly packed together. Hodgen then lost time shortly after and had to settle for 7th overall.

A yellow flag was then thrown at Gerards after Colin Williams’ PRS lost a wheel of its own and rotated off the circuit and onto the grass, eradicating a passing place for all those still running the remaining 4 minutes. While Foster was untroubled by this and completed the double for the day with another win, this did hamper any chance of Tinkler taking 2nd from Wolfenden and the pair finished in the same order they had in Race 1, despite Ben coming close at the line. Harrison and Hadfield again won their classes respectively finishing 4th and 5th overall, while Hodgen did the same as he finished on Nigel Dolan’s gearbox and Juiceie Bruceie claimed Super Classic B honours once more.

The next rounds see the championship back at Mallory Park on May 22nd, where for just £445 you can both test and race your Formula Ford chassis at the circuit! All ages and models of Kent-engined chassis are welcome and there will be another portion of the £2,000 prize money pot available for class winners (number of starters per class permitting) as well as the random draw to win a voucher for a free test day at Mallory Park too. Don’t miss out!

Scott Woodwiss