Written by David “Fasttoes” Williams – After a pair of Double Headers at Mallory Park during May, the Avon Tyres Northern & Super Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship makes its first visit of the season to its spiritual home of Oulton Park for 2 races the Saturday.

The season began on 1st May when Joey Foster took dominant victories from both opening rounds in Leicestershire behind the wheel of the very latest specification Firman chassis which ran in Class P.

The only time he was headed was when Jack Wolfenden beat him away from the line at the start of the opening encounter in his 2017 model Firman but Foster was ahead and in the clear by the time the field reached Shaws Hairpin.

Wolfenden then had to fend off the Ray of Ben Tinkler for the remainder of the 15 minutes. He was successful in this quest although there was just three-quarters of a second between them at the flag.

In the opening stages, the leading Super Classic entry – the Class D Hawke DL2B of Simon Hadfield – was mixing it with the 3 contemporary cars at the front of the field but he slipped back and was passed by Jordan Harrison who was behind the wheel of a Class C Lola T540E. Hadfield almost slipped to sixth at the line but he just held off Class A winner Chris Hodgen (Swift SC94F).

Juiceie Bruceie took Class B in his 1984 Reynard. All the Class winners did the double later in the day although race 2 was red-flagged after a couple of laps when Oliver Chapon’s PRS shed a wheel at Shaw’s Hairpin.

As Foster blasted away from the restart and disappeared into the distance, Wolfenden and Tinkler ran side by side around the first corner. Wolfenden was on the outside where there was less grip so Hadfield and Harrison zoomed by and pushed him down to fifth but this situation only lasted briefly.

By the end of lap 1, Wolfenden was back ahead of Harrison with Hodgen following him through and Jack was up to third the next time he passed the pits. He then quickly caught Tinkler but it was lap 6 before he was able to pass and claim his second runner-up finish of the day.

When the series returned to Mallory Park on 22nd May, Nigel Dolan’s Van Diemen JL012K was the only Class P entrant and duly took pole position however his fastest time was only a tenth of a second ahead of one of the most well-known drivers in club motorsport, Rick Morris, who was piloting a Royale RP29 from Class C.

Both occupants of the front row failed to get away cleanly at the start of race 1 and it was Stuart Kestenbaum who was the surprise leader at the first corner from fourth on the grid. For 2 laps his Class C Van Diemen RF79 charged round the track with Morris right on his gearbox but then proceedings were paused when the Safety Car was deployed to enable the marshals to recover a couple of immobile cars.

Dolan was down in fourth at the end of the opening lap but, with the help of the Safety Car and the demise of Chris Hodgen (Swift SC94F) who initially ran third, he was in position to sweep around the outside of Kestenbaum at Gerrards a couple of laps after the green flags came out.

This put Dolan in a race-winning position as everyone else battled amongst themselves with Morris taking Class C honours in second overall as the two Swift SC94s of Paul Mason and George McDonald battled for Class A spoils and the final place on the overall podium with the former getting the verdict by half a second. Nick Barnes won Class B after Juicieie Bruceie broke down on the warm-up lap and failed to come under starter’s orders.

Early leader, Kestenbaum, finished seventh overall and then suffered contact with another car on the opening lap of race 2 before retiring. This contest took place on a damp track following earlier rain showers.

Things didn’t go so well for Dolan this time around as he finished seventh overall. He hadn’t changed his set up from earlier in the day because he expected the track to dry more than it did. As a result, he had a twitchy car to deal with but at least he had no other competition in Class P. Morris fared little better being classified fifth. This meant a trio of Class A cars battled for the victory with McDonald coming out on top from James Tucker in his 1992 Van Diemen and Hodgen.

This time around, Leanne McShane (Van Diemen RF88) took Class B while Ian Fernihough was the only entry in Class D for both races with a Titan Mk6.

We look forward to more exciting racing at Oulton Park this weekend.
Dave Williams


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