Cameron Jackson came out on top of a season-long battle with Ben Mitchell to win this year’s HSCC Historic Formula Ford championship, and he’s already back on circuit testing old and new cars.
This year was his first full season in FF1600, after a part-season in 2017 driving his Lola T200. He did, however, have the technical support of Neil Fowler, who won the 2001 Walter Hayes Trophy in the same car.
“Neil and all the guys at Neil Fowler Motorsport put in a lot. And we’ve got the car exactly where we wanted it,” says Jackson.
“I think it speaks volumes for Neil Fowler that we’ve not actually had a single reliability problem. Through testing, qualifying, racing, we’ve never had the car stop out on track. I think that is some sort of record.”
Jackson was not the only driver who was extremely consistent in 2018. Mitchell’s Merlyn Mk20 was never far behind and the title fight went to the penultimate race at Silverstone.
“When you look at the tables, and it’s me and Ben’s wins and second places, just back and forth, it was like sparring.
“He never missed a trick really, other than spinning off at Brands Hatch. He had perfect reliability and finish record. So that’s what we were up against, this consistently scoring points.”
The intensity of a full championship was something new for Jackson, especially one that was fought so closely.
“When I was racing last year, I just did the odd race here and there. It was more just for fun. I’ve never been in a full championship campaign before. It definitely changes things when it means more, more’s on the line.”
Having conquered Historic FF1600, Jackson now has eyes on the BRSCC Avon Tyres National championship. He originally planned to enter the WHT in a Van Diemen RF07, but the car was not quite ready in time and he has put off its debut until 2019. Earlier this week he tested the car at Donington Park.
“We didn’t feel prepared enough and we didn’t want to run the risk of looking silly, so we decided to carry on developing the car, probably get out with it at a few races next year, in the National championship.
“But not doing a full campaign or anything. More preparation for the end of year events like the WHT and the Festival. I’m quite excited about that, I think that that’ll be good fun.”
Driving a car that’s 37 years younger has not culled Jackson’s enthusiasm for historic racing. He still owns a Brabham BT2 Formula Junior, which he raced this year, and remains part of his future racing plans.
“I’ve had some fantastic results in the Junior this year as well, and we’ve won a lot of races, set new lap records, and been involved in some great events like the Silverstone Classic, coming back through the grid from last position to finish on the podium.”
The Junior was Jackson’s ticket to his first Goodwood Revival as a driver, an experience he wants to repeat.
“I just had the best time ever. I’ve got to be at that event every year. I feel like I should have been born in that era. It was just great fun. Somehow I’ve got to work out how I can be out at Goodwood next year.”
Jackson is quite unusual in that he is crossing over from historic to modern FF1600, but it’s something he thinks should happen more often.
“It’d be nice if some of the National drivers did some guest races in historics. If someone like Joey Foster enters a race, I’ll enter that race, definitely.”
Image courtesy of http://www.martincooperphoto.co.uk