HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship Castle Combe 04/10/14 report

After the exciting opening race for the Monoposto series, next up on track was the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 series, who lined up for the first of their double header races to round out their season. The title was still up for grabs amongst three drivers and it was the 2nd man in the points, Ben Tusting, who claimed pole from title leader Ben Simms. The title outsider Andrew Park line up 3rd with frequent race winner and local favourite Nelson Rowe completing row 2 in 4th.

At the start of their opening 15 minute stanza it was 3rd man Andrew Park who shot into an early lead and at the end of lap 1 it was Park and Nelson Rowe who were making a small break at the front from the Ben Simms and Tom Smith, up from 5th, behind them. A lap later and Park began opening a gap to Rowe in 2nd also as Park looked very strong in the opening minutes. Things were going slightly pear shaped for title leader Ben Simms as he lost 3rd on lap 2 to Tom Smith, with the outside bet for the title Andrew Park streaking away up front.

By lap 3 the top four of Park, Rowe, Smith and Simms were now well clear of the rest of the field, which was bad news for the pole man and 2nd in the point Ben Tusting, who seemed to be struggling with the much drier conditions now compared with the extremely wet track they faced for the earlier qualifying session. A lap later and Simms re-took 3rd from Smith, with the top 4 now evenly spacing themselves out at the front.

From here it seemed Andrew Park was destined for a lights to flag comfortable victory, however he suffered a difficult moment on lap 10 as bad traffic for him halved his gap to Rowe to 2.4 seconds, however after this minor blip it was plain sailing for the final two laps for leader Andrew Park, who claimed a dominant victory to boost his title chances going into the final race of the season. Nelson Rowe came home 2nd whilst title leader Benn Simms claimed the final podium place. Tom Smith was 4th whilst pole man Ben Tusting and Andrew Storer completed the top 6 respectively, in a great opening race for the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship as the title was set to be decided in the final race of their season later on in the afternoon.

Much later on in the afternoon the HSCC Formula Ford 2000 series ventured out on track again for their final race of the season, with an earlier accident in the resident Castle Combe Saloons series relegating this race from 15 to 12 minutes because of the previous long stoppage. With dropped scores the title was realistically between title leader Benn Simms and race 1 victor Andrew Park. The grid was based on second fastest qualifying times and therefore it was again Ben Tusting who claimed pole, with title contender Andrew Park alongside him on the front row. Nelson Rowe and title leader Benn Simms completed row 2. From the start again Andrew Park made a great getaway to lead as Benn Simms was right in his wheel tracks off the line.

The opening lap was tight as the field were very close with one another from the start, and the first to make a mistake was local man Nelson Rowe, who ran wide at Bobbies on the opening lap and dropped from 3rd to 7th in a matter of meters. His recovery was swift however as he made up a number of places in the ensuing laps to rise to 4th by lap 4. Both pole man Tusting and Rowe were now closing back up to the leaders. Rowe was on the move again on lap 6 as he passed Tusting for 3rd at Folly, and was soon challenging Park for the lead later on in the lap. The battle for the leader was now between title contenders Benn Simms and Andrew Park with local man Nelson Rowe the interloper in 3rd.

The two title rivals Simms and Park were constantly changing positions, with Rowe now getting in on the act as he passed Park for 2nd at Quarry on lap 8, as he then passed Simms for the lead at the Esses a lap later. This move was then followed by a brilliantly opportunistic move by Park as he passed Simms for 2nd around the outside at Old Paddock, which is a move rarely tried by drivers let alone a move that is completed. From here the status quo remained as ex Historic Formula Ford champion Nelson Rowe claimed victory at his local circuit, with the two title contender Andrew Park and Benn Simms completing the podium.

Pole man Ben Tusting was 4th whilst Tom Smith and Graham Fennymore completed the top 6 respectively. After frantic calculation both from the championship coordinator and the two circuit commentators it was announced that after dropped scores Benn Simms was the champion by 4 points from Andrew Park. Both were in good spirits after the race when being interviewed, which shows the camaraderie amongst the drivers in this thriving HSCC Formula Ford 2000 Championship. This series provided two great races at the Championship Finals race day here at Castle Combe, and I hope the Formula Ford 2000 community is welcomed back to Castle Combe next year. For more information on the series please visit the link below.

http://www.hscc.org.uk/championships

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