The Avon Tyres Northern & Super Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship made its only visit of the season to Anglesey Circuit on the weekend of 10th/11th July. For the first time in 2021, track time was shared with cars from the National series.

As was the case a month earlier at Oulton Park, during qualifying Jack Wolfenden and his Firman RFR17 had far more speed than all the other of his regional rivals. Indeed, such was his pace, only 4 of those on the National campaign were ahead of him on the timesheets.

Wolfenden was running in Class P (Post98) where his only opponent was Neil McArthur who was having his first race in his Van Diemen LA10 for 12 months.

The fastest Super Classic car in qualifying was the Class B Swift FB89 of Nick Barnes who was delighted with his performance.

In the opening contest on Saturday, Wolfenden ran in close company with the front-runners from the National series and finished less than a second behind Alex Walker who was third on the road. When the stewards applied a 10 secs penalty to Walker’s race time for a jumped start, Wolfenden was promoted to the final step of the overall podium.

The combined grid of cars from both of the BRSCC’s Avon Tyres-sponsored Formula Ford 1600 Championships was so big that most of the Northern & Super Classic runners lined up around the Bus Stop and beyond. For Nick Barnes, this meant he was right in the middle of the final corner and this compromised his start allowing John Murphy’s Class A Van Diemen RF90 to get ahead from the row behind.

Barnes filled Murphy’s mirrors until his engine developed a slight misfire and he lost 4 places although, crucially, he just managed to keep ahead of his main rival in the Class B points standings, Juiceie Bruceie.

With what later emerged as a detached spark plug cap on cylinder 2 hampering Barnes, the second Super Classic car to take the flag was Mark de Rozarieux’s Van Diemen RF88 which this weekend was being driven by Garath Buckingham who, remarkably, won Class B in his first ever motor race!

The next man home was Neil McArthur who pipped Paul Mason by half a second. Mason was a little frustrated to be lapping slower than he had done in testing on Friday, he felt the tyres that he hoped would last both races were already starting to lose their edge.

This was infact a 3 car battle with Jonathan Barnes completing the trio. He regretted allowing McArthur to pass him on the opening lap as he believed he was faster.

It was great to see Stuart Dix out on track this weekend. He was the only entrant in Class D with his Cooper Chinook and thoroughly enjoyed all the paddock banter after a tough couple of years. A big crash at Spa ended his 2019 season before having to deal with a serious medical issue during 2020.

Another driver who was attempting to maximise the usage of his tyres was Paul Barnes who had a set from last year’s Walter Hayes Trophy on his Class A 1992 Swift which were providing less front end grip than he wished. He took the flag behind Dix but ahead of Richard Ketterman (Class B Reynard FF86) and Paul Tucker (Class A Swift SC92).

In race 2, Northern & Super Classic winner Jack Wolfenden couldn’t quite make the overall podium as Alex Walker avoided any penalties to take third and Jamie Sharp benefitted from starting further up the grid this time to finish fourth. Nonetheless, fifth was still a superb result for Wolfenden against such top class opposition.

Even better, with Nigel Dolan – who was leading Class P after the preceding meeting at Oulton Park – absent from Anglesey, Wolfenden moved to the top of that category’s points standings.

As was the case in the previous day’s race, John Murphy was the leader of the Super Classics in Sunday’s encounter – by 5 secs at the end of the penultimate tour – but there was a cruel twist on the final lap when his Van Diemen ground to a halt exiting The Banking.

This meant Garath Buckingham was the first Super Classic driver home in only his second ever motor race. He had been beaten away from the grid by Neil McArthur although he came close to running into the back of the Class P man the first time the field tackled Rocket.

Meanwhile, with his engine now firing on all cylinders, Nick Barnes was charging up the order. With Jonathan Barnes having a nightmare first couple of corners, Nick was one of many who passed him before he latched on to the back of Paul Mason exiting The Banking who he passed on the exit.

Juiceie Bruceie was right behind Nick Barnes as he made these moves and now drew alongside. Things got really busy with a whole bunch of cars approaching Church, one of which was a National runner, Carter Williams, who had started from the back row of the grid. Unfortunately, he came off worse and ended up on the grass when his right front and the trailing inches of Nick Barnes’ left rear made contact.

Nick continued unscathed and made further progress, passing Paul Mason and Garath Buckingham at School on consecutive laps so that he was now running as the second Super Classic car and would have inherited the lead when John Murphy retired but he hit mechanical trouble himself – this time it was the cap on the spark plug for cylinder 1 that caused a misfire and forced him to pit.

Thus, it was Buckingham who took Super Classic and Class B honours – he even passed the Class P car of Neil McArthur when the latter ran wide at the Bus Stop.

Following Murphy’s demise, Paul Mason took Class A. Juiceie Bruceie was the next car home ahead of Paul Barnes who held off his namesake and Souley Motorsport team mate Jonathan Barnes. This battle came to a climax when Jonathan got alongside at the Rocket complex and the pair ran neck and neck to Peel where Jonathan hooked his rear wheel over a kerb. Soil erosion beyond the kerb meant there was quite a drop which caused him to lose control and end up on the infield causing him to lose places to Paul Tucker, Richard Ketterman and Stuart Dix.

Nick Barnes re-joined after his pitstop and completed the finishers.

Battle will recommence at Mallory Park on 1st August when the Northern & Super Classic Championship will return to standalone races.

Dave Williams


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