Defending HSCC Historic Formula Ford champion Richard Tarling and championship leader Ben Mitchell scored one win apiece over the weekend at Brands Hatch.
Mitchell has increased his lead over Cameron Jackson at the top of the points table but Tarling, who missed the last round at Silverstone, has demonstrated that he is never to be written off.
The first race was a classic Tarling showing. The Jamun T2 driver spent most of the race waiting in third place behind Jackson and Mitchell, who frequently traded the lead.
During the last third of the race, the lead battle got more intense and in the words of Mitchell, the front two were “playing chicken at Dingle Dell”.
When they took each other off the track, Tarling saw his moment to strike for the win. He admitted that luck had played a part, but it was an intelligent drive nonetheless.
Both Jackson and Mitchell quickly rejoined in second and Mitchell third. Callum Grant was fourth in his orange Merlyn Mk20, despite problems with engine overheating throughout the race. Ed Thurston finished fifth from eighth on the grid, ahead of Maxim Bartell and Sam Mitchell.
The two Mitchell brothers had had a scary moment earlier in the race; Sam was following Ben and had to take evasive action when Ben missed a gear and slowed suddenly. He lost a couple of places.
The second race was a three-way battle between Ben Mitchell, Tarling and Jackson. Jackson passed Tarling almost immediately after the start and was pulling away by the time he got to Surtees, but a mistake straight after sent him off the track and down to seventh. He admits that he got excited and tried to go round the outside of Tarling.
Mitchell took the lead from Tarling shortly after that and eventually pulled away. Jackson set about making up his lost places and drove vaggressively to achieve his aim. He finished second, just 1.9 seconds behind Mitchell.
Grant was briefly in the mix for the win too. He led at one point but his car was still overheating, despite a new radiator. He battled hard against Tarling for much of the race, but the duo lost their one-two status when Mitchell and Jackson performed a joint slipstreaming move at Paddock Hill Bend, demoting them to third and fourth.
Sam Mitchell was fifth, having joined onto the back of the leading group after Jackson’s off.
Tiff Needell won both Radio Caroline Over 50s awards, finishing tenth and ninth in a Lotus 69F. The veteran racer and TV personality modestly claimed before the race that his intention was just to get to the finish. This was his last race outing of the year.
1 Richard Tarling (Jamun T2) 13 laps
2 Cameron Jackson (Lola T200) +2.448
3 Ben Mitchell (Merlyn Mk20) +3.829
4 Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk20A) +7.889
5 Ed Thurston (Elden Mk8) +14.761
6 Maxim Bartell (Merlyn Mk20A) +25.151
7 Sam Mitchell (Merlyn Mk20) +28.369
8 Matthew Wrigley (Lotus 59/69) +30.875
9 Will Nuthall (Jamun T2) +31.934
10 Tiff Needell (Lotus 69F) +32.032
Pole: B Mitchell, 1:38.542
Fastest lap: B Mitchell, 1:38.232
1 B Mitchell 13 laps
2 Jackson +1.935
3 Tarling +2.365
4 Grant +3.847
5 S Mitchell +5.468
6 Bartell +13.147
7 Thurston +13.163
8 Nuthall +22.034
9 Needell +28.722
10 Daniel Stanzl (Elden Mk8) +29.339
FL: Jackson, 1:38.627