Frenetic Mazda and Formula Ford battles on weekend of national action

Mazda MX-5s and Formula Fords headlined last weekend's national action at Silverstone, while the Vintage Sports Car Club held a meeting at Cadwell Park

Frenetic Mazda and Formula Ford battles on weekend of national action

After a long search for his maiden victory, Steve Foden finally ended the drought with a brace of wins during an action-packed round of the Mazda MX-5 Championship on the Silverstone National layout.

Foden spun down the order in the first encounter in damp conditions, as Fraser Fenwick took the honours after a thrilling six-car lead battle. Following his hat-trick of wins at the opening event, Jack Brewer led early on from Fenwick, who had his AB Motorsport team-mate Oliver Allwood for company behind.

Brewer then ran deep into Maggotts and dropped to fourth, but soon recovered to contest the lead with Fenwick, the pair swapping places several times. But, on the final lap, Brewer was spun around from behind by Allwood and dropped to seventh, allowing Fenwick a clear run to the flag.

Brian Trott moved ahead of Fenwick at the beginning of race two, with a rain shower before the start making the track treacherous. Brewer dropped out of contention after spinning on the exit of Luffield and collecting Zak Oates, and early drama also dropped Fenwick down the order, as a four-way fight developed at the front.

Trott traded the lead with team-mates Allwood and Matt Pollard, as Foden stormed from 19th on the grid to join the battle. Foden then worked his way past the AB Motorsport trio into first, while Trott dropped to fourth after trying to retake Foden into Brooklands. Pollard spun exiting Copse on the final lap, also compromising Allwood in the process, with Foden pulling clear to take an elusive win ahead of Trott.

Despite leading the early stages of race three, Foden slipped to third after being passed by Trott and Allwood at Luffield. Allwood then took to the front one lap later after going three-wide with Trott and Foden on the pitstraight. The trio went side-by-side again next time by, with Foden sweeping around the outside into Copse to regain the advantage, which he retained to the finish. Allwood beat three cars across the line to take second ahead of Trott, who took his third podium finish of the weekend.

National Formula Ford, Silverstone 2021

National Formula Ford, Silverstone 2021

National Formula Ford produced similarly frenetic racing, with Max Esterson taking his first two wins in the series, despite coming to blows with chief title rival Alex Walker in race two. Three-time Walter Hayes Trophy winner Joey Foster led the early stages of race one in his Firman after setting a blistering pace in qualifying. But he couldn’t break clear on a circuit notorious for slipstreaming, with recent David Leslie Trophy winner Chris Middlehurst climbing from fourth on the grid to head a five-way lead battle.

Points leader Walker moved into second, ahead of Esterson, as Foster scrapped for fourth with Formula Ford Festival winner Rory Smith. Foster then started to move forwards again, passing Esterson before lining up a move for second on Middlehurst, who had lost the lead to Walker.

But Esterson spun Foster around at Maggotts after trying to retake third, with Smith also losing ground after taking evasive action. Having come out of the collision unscathed, Esterson passed both Middlehurst and Walker in the space of two corners to take the lead with three laps to go and eventually the win, the trio covered by 0.6 seconds at the line.

The earlier incident earned Esterson a five-place grid penalty for race two, allowing Middlehurst to start from pole on a slippery track. But it was rookie Thomas Mills who surprised early on by leading for Kevin Mills Racing, as team-mate Walker pressured Middlehurst for second. A mistake dropped Mills behind Middlehurst briefly, before he retook the place, with Walker following through into second. The lead trio were joined in the closing stages by the recovering Esterson and Foster, the latter having started from 10th.

After passing Middlehurst, Esterson tried to take second from Walker on the Wellington Straight, but hit the back of his rival in dramatic fashion. This sent Walker out of control into Middlehurst at Brooklands before making secondary contact with Esterson, who was spun around. Walker retired with broken suspension, while Middlehurst rejoined the lead battle, having remarkably emerged undamaged.

Mills’ hopes of a maiden win were dashed on the penultimate lap after running wide at Brooklands, allowing the experienced Middlehurst and Foster through. Mills tried to fight back on the final tour, but had to settle for third, with Middlehurst holding off a charging Foster by 0.086s to take his second win of the season.

Fun Cup, Silverstone 2021

Fun Cup, Silverstone 2021

Low Dempsey Racing’s Esterson passed polesitting team-mate Colin Queen off the line in the reversed-grid finale and built a commanding two-second advantage over Middlehurst, before a big crash for KMR driver Lucas Romanek at Luffield brought an early end to proceedings. Walker recovered from the back of the grid to finish eighth, but it was not enough to prevent Esterson from taking the lead of the championship.

Honours were shared across three close races in the Mazda MX-5 Supercup, with reigning champion Samuel Smith taking his first win of the season in the opening encounter. Patrick Fletcher came out on top in a battle with Smith to take his third victory of the campaign in race two, which was interrupted by a late safety car period.

Jack Harding took advantage of starting from reversed-grid pole to win race three, beating Smith by less than a second after on-the-road runner-up Adam Bessell was disqualified for overtaking under yellow flags.

Despite starting from the back as a result of their opening round success, the UVio/Hofmann’s Lotus crew was victorious once again in the four-hour Fun Cup race. It took just 20 laps for Fabio Randaccio to climb through the field to the front, but contact with another car necessitated an unscheduled stop to fix a bodywork issue, dropping them over 30s behind reigning champion Team Olympian. But an engine issue put Olympian out at the halfway stage, handing Randaccio and Scott Fitzgerald control of the race and eventual victory.

Cadwell Park VSCC 2021

Cadwell Park VSCC 2021

Photo by: Ollie Read

Cadwell Park VSCC: Gillies continues his ERA of Shuttleworth Trophy victories

A fine day of racing at Cadwell Park from the Vintage Sports-Car Club was topped by another Shuttleworth Trophy victory for Mark Gillies, who was sublime in his handling of ERA R3A. After a year’s COVID-19-enforced absence, the VSCC’s annual visit to Lincolnshire drew a fine entry and a healthy crowd – and the racing lived up to expectations.

A quarter of a century after he first won the Shuttleworth Trophy, Gillies was back to dominate the Pre-’61 Racing Car event in R3A. He was able to edge clear in the early laps as the rest of the field battled in his wake.

A damp and slippery qualifying session was not what Fred Harper wanted in the Kurtis Indy Roadster, but the dry race allowed him to unleash the monster around the twists and turns of Cadwell to work up the order and take second place over James Baxter’s Riley ERA. Alex Ames was a double winner at the wheel of the Halusa family-owned Bugatti T35C.

The famous ex-works car from 1927 romped away in the Williams Trophy for Pre-’35 Grand Prix cars as a bumper field of Bugattis assembled thanks to the efforts of Tim Dutton. Ed Williams spoiled chances of a Bugatti clean sweep of the podium by grabbing second in his Frazer Nash from Duncan Pittaway’s T35, though there was barely half a second in it at the flag after a great contest.

Ames was back out at the end of the afternoon for the Allcomers racing car encounter, and took his second victory once Ian Baxter had a bizarre delay in his Alta. Seeing a black-and-orange flag on the startline, which appeared to show his race number, Baxter pitted to find out what the problem was. Unfortunately, the flag was not meant for him, and Baxter rejoined after a lengthy delay. He battled back up to fourth by setting easily the fastest lap of the race, but Ames was too far clear for Baxter to regain his lead.

Cadwell Park VSCC 2021

Cadwell Park VSCC 2021

Photo by: Ollie Read

The Frazer Nash/GN race was another highlight and fittingly went to marque expert Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in his Super Sport. He coped with a chain drama that left only two gears to top a bumper field and finish four seconds ahead of young Ben Maeers in the mighty Parker GN. Maeers and Tom Waterfield had battled hard for second, and only later in the race did Maeers edge out a couple of lengths’ advantage.

Garry Whyte was remembered in an all-Riley race that went, for the second time, to John Reeve in his Brooklands, while Harry Painter (PA) was the best of the Triple M Pre-War MG field.

The closest finish of the day opened the racing in the Geoghegan Trophy for standard and modified pre-war sports. Jonathan Sharp (Riley) and Simon Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash) battled for the whole race and traded the lead many times. It all came down to the final sprint out of Barn to the flag, and Sharp somehow nosed ahead by 0.02s after a glorious contest.

The Melville Trophy for VSCC Specials was almost as good, as Dougal Cawley in GN Piglet battled race-long with Rob Cobden’s Riley Falcon Special. It was nip and tuck as they dived through late-race traffic, but Cawley got to the line ahead by little more than 0.5s.

Track Attack, Oulton Park 2021

Track Attack, Oulton Park 2021

Photo by: Mick Walker

Oulton Park BRSCC: Doubles all round with unstoppable five

Dominant performances were on show at Oulton Park, with five double victories across the five series in action at the British Racing & Sports Car Club meeting.

The two Track Attack rounds were the least predictable. Chris Southcott posted what looked like an easy first-race win in his Peugeot 205, one of the older cars on the grid, but he was helped by polesitter Steve Simpson’s 206 being boxed in cheekily at the start between Southcott and the Renault Clio of Nick Gwinnett, who attacked from fourth. Simpson dropped all the way down to 11th place at Old Hall, but he was soon back on the hunt and up to fifth after the first lap.

He recovered to second after a lengthy scrap with Mike Nash’s SEAT Supercopa, which was third ahead of Gwinnett and the VW Golf of Simon Tomlinson.

Simpson was determined not to let Southcott get away in the second race and kept on the 205’s tail, although he was unable to make a passing move stick. Nash briefly challenged him for second before finishing a distant third.

Both CityCar Cup races were won convincingly by Nic Grindrod, who successfully distanced his Citroen C1 from the rest of the field while they fought among themselves. A four-car pack vied for second place, with Richard Bliss (Toyota Aygo) nudging ahead of the C1s of Ross Makar, Andrew Dyer and Duncan Stone. Stone was demoted to fifth from third for a track-limits violation. Dyer, Makar and Bliss finished in that order from a three-way photo finish for second in race two, almost 10 seconds behind Grindrod. Stone had problems and could only manage 15th.

Fiesta Championship, Oulton Park 2021

Fiesta Championship, Oulton Park 2021

Photo by: Mick Walker

Luke Pinder picked up two strong wins in the Fiesta Championship, despite having been away from motorsport for the best part of a year. He was followed by Zachary Lucas and David Nye in the opener. Lucas was down on speed in race two, so it was Rob Smith who was runner-up, having attacked Pinder and briefly held first place early on. Spencer Stevenson overhauled Nye for third in the closing laps.

The first Fiesta Junior race was shaping up to be a two-car contest between Jenson Brickley and Sid Smith until Smith slid off into the barriers at Cascades on the second lap, triggering a lengthy safety car period. Deagen Fairclough was second in the brief sprint that ensued. George Davis ran as high as third, but dropped to seventh due to crash damage. Albert Webster also dropped out of contention, letting Jake Maynard through to take third.

Smith and Davis were back out for race two, with Smith on pole. He was quickly reeled in by Brickley and dropped out of the podium spots, while Alex Ley came out on top of a three-car tussle for second, ahead of Fairclough. This was a vindication for Brickley, who had challenged for wins at Croft and been taken off the track.

Jack Wolfenden was streets ahead of the Northern Formula Ford field in his Firman RFR17. Eschewing the National Formula Ford round at Silverstone for something closer to home, he was around 14s ahead of his nearest rival – Neil Patten’s Van Diemen RF89 – in both races. Patten was pleased with his results, having not raced for a while.

Reports by Steve Whitfield, Paul Lawrence and Rachel Harris-Gardiner. Photography by Mick Walker and Ollie Read. Want more reports from the world of national motorsport? Subscribe today and never miss your weekly fix of motorsport with Autosport magazine

CityCar Cup, Oulton Park 2021

CityCar Cup, Oulton Park 2021

Photo by: Mick Walker

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