Historic News

Mitchell leads a Merlyn foursome at Oulton

Ben Mitchell consolidated his lead of the HSCC Historic Formula Ford Championship, leading a procession of four Merlyn Mk20s home.

The Cotswold local was lucky to make the grid at all; a right-rear stub axle broke in qualifying and his father Westie had to go home and cannibalise his own Mk20 in order to repair it in time.

Mitchell slipped past polesitter Callum Grant at Old Hall and never let his lead go, but Grant made him work for it. The pair were never more than a car length apart with Grant attacking at every opportunity. Ultimately, he was unable to get a strong enough tow to pass Mitchell and had to settle for second.

Benjamin Tusting joined Mitchell and Grant in a lead battle when he passed Will Nuthall very early on. Towards the end of the race he was close to getting into a position to challenge Grant, but Grant was on a mission and would not be caught. This was Tusting’s best result of the season.

The three were almost side-by-side as they approached the finish line, but Mitchell pulled ahead, closely followed by Grant. All three had survived a scare on the penultimate lap when backmarker Paul Unsworth went off-track in his Palliser and rejoined across their path. Fortunately, all three dodged the recalcitrant car.

Rob Smith was the fourth Merlyn, some way behind. His chief adversary during the race was Nuthall, whom he overhauled at about half distance. He was the leading Over 50 class finisher. Tim Brise came close to challenging him for class honours and ran in sixth for much of the race, but he fell away towards the end and was ninth.

Nuthall could not keep up with his qualifying pace and was fifth, ahead of Brian Morris’s Lola T202 and Ted Pearson’s Merlyn. This was Pearson’s best finish too, despite a spin at Hislops.

Qualifying results

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 Ben Mitchell Merlyn 11 laps
2 Callum Grant Merlyn +0.064
3 Benjamin Tusting Merlyn +0.181
4 OF Rob Smith Merlyn +12.597
5 Will Nuthall Jamun +12.724
6 OF Brian Morris Lola +35.867
7 OF Ted Pearson Merlyn +44.201
8 OF Andy Wiggins Titan +52.967
9 OF Timothy Brise Merlyn +53.131
10 Daniel Pyett Titan +53.557
11 OF Alex Meek Merlyn +54.287
12 OF John Roberts Merlyn +1:03.401
13 OF Phil Nelson Hawke +1:14.865
14 OF Paul Unsworth Palliser +1 lap
15 OF John Evans Lotus +1 lap
16 OF John Emery Lola +1 lap
DNF Daniel Stanzl Elden
Fastest lap: Tusting, 1:51.494

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