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Racing at Donington Park - the Historic Sports-Car Club Meeting

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 June 2017

Charles Allison (32) heads for Guards Trophy victory

Charles Allison (32) heads for Guards Trophy victory

geoff ford

There was a massive 55 car entry for the opening round of the Historic Formula Ford season at Donington Park, celebrating 50 years of the world’s most successful junior single-seater series

After a qualifying heat, a full grid of 32 cars set off for the Historic FFord final. Polesitter Michael O’Brien (Merlyn Mk 20) held the inside line, as they took the first turn three-abreast, before establishing a narrow lead. Double champion Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk 20A) settled in fourth in the early stages before moving up and mounting his attack. Further back Ashbourne’s Nick Pancisi lost one place to finish 19th in his Titan Mk5 while fellow Ashburnian Matthew Wrigley (Merlyn 11/20A) made a great start from 21st to join a gaggle challenging for 11th place before being classified 14th. Heading into the closing laps it was neck and neck as Grant took a narrow lead but was unable to shake O’Brien off his tail. O’Brien nosed past as the pair headed down the Craner Curves for the final time but Grant had better acceleration out of the final chicane and won by just 0.057 seconds.

In the Derek Bell Trophy race, the ex-Rolf Stommelen March 721 of Derby’s David Shaw was close behind Jamie Bradshaw’s F5000 March 73A and Mark Dwyer’s March 742 when the safety car was deployed. Bradshaw and Dwyer raced past, as the safety car joined the circuit, to catch the tail of the field. They were then allowed through to the front of the field for the restart, now a lap ahead of the field, including Shaw in third place. Bradshaw took the flag but David Shaw was rightly upset by events. Bradshaw and Dwyer were subsequently excluded, handing victory for the opening round to David Shaw. Gaius Ghinn took the Classic F3 class win in his Ralt RT3.

Nick Pancisi was back on track for the Guards Trophy race, sharing his Lotus Elan with Swadlincote’s Rob Wainwright. The Chevron B8s of Charles Allison and Yoxall’s Hugh and Mark Colman diced for the lead before Hugh Colman spun out whilst leading. Allison was the first of the leaders to pit as Phillip Nelson’s Chevron and Michael Hibberd’s Lotus 23 continued at the head of the field while Rob Wainwright was up to fourth place before handing over to Pancisi. Once the pitstops were completed Allison fought his way past Nelson and then Andrew Hibberd (in for his father) to take victory by one second. Classified 14th overall, Pancisi and Wainwright took class honours by 0.247 seconds from the Elan of Andrew Garside.

Richard Plant was on hand to see his son William continue the family history of success in the Historic Road Sports event at Donington. He had a comfortable win in his father’s Morgan Plus 8 after nearest challenger John Davidson spun at the chicane. Jack Drury’s Ford Falcon took the Historic Touring Cars win five seconds ahead of a trio of Lotus Cortinas, Ben Winrow and Paul Pheysey filling the podium positions. Andrew Park (Reynard SF81) converted his pole position in the Historic FFord 2000 into a race win while Charles Barter claimed the 70s Road Sports race in his Datsun 240Z.

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