2nd - 3rd September 2023 - Croft
Croft in Autumn for the Nostalgia Meeting
Report by Alan Jones
TEN OUT TEN - HARRISON WINS CHAMPIONSHIP
As the grim British summer ended amid showers and cold, the HSCC Historic Formula 3 Championship headed North to the warm welcome of Croft in Autumn for the Nostalgia Meeting on the 2nd and 3rd of September.
This airfield circuit produces one of the best race meetings of the year. Classic car displays, with car parades on the Sunday. A section for Steam and the Traction engines, with the sounds of the carousel. A canon booms from the militaria area whilst the spectator banks are filled with families who come not just for the pageantry and the music but for the racing too. On Sunday as the sideshows cleared there were still plenty of people seated watching the remaining races.
Unfortunately the garage planning went awry and the 15 car entry was scattered across the site, once the dust settled everyone appeared to enjoy their racing.
Samuel Harrison headed the entry in the yellow Ian Walker Racing Brabham. For this meeting Dad Tim was to be in charge of the spanners, whilst the SpeedSport team prepared for Goodwood. This time of year is manically busy for Historic Motor Racing.
We had one representative from the Timms family, Jason in his Brabham BT21, with Andrew Tart fielding three cars, his own Merlyn Mk9 and the Chevron B17 of Josh Sharp and the B15 of Simon Haughton. Ross Drybrough was the latest addition to the Historic Formula 3 Championship, the Motor Racing Partnership Merlyn Mk14 raced by Patrick Champin in 1969. Ross a regular competitor in the Historic Formula Ford Championship was still adapting to the different performance of his F3 car.
The car many will remember as very successful in the hands of David Methley. Ross had done a lot of work following his purchase of the car from Jonathan Hughes. Including putting the car back into its original shade of orange.
The Historic Formula 3 cars were one of the last to qualify coming onto the circuit just after noon on Saturday. Samuel Harrison has been in a class of his own this year, topping the timing sheets almost 4 seconds clear of his nearest rival. However the contest for second place was a lot closer, with 8 hundredths of a second covering Jason Timms, from Andy Jarvis in the March 703 and Ross Drybrough. A further 7 tenths back was Richard Wise in his immaculate Tecno, ahead of Josh Sharp's B17 who in turn was only one tenth ahead of Simon Armer in his March 703. Completing the top ten were Leif Bosson in his Brabham BT28, Andrew Tart and Martin Whitlock, Brabham BT21. The remaining order being Keith Messer in the Vesey, which had given him some troubles prior to entering the assembly area, Mark Linstone (Brabham BT21), Simon Haughton (Chevron B15) and Simon Etherington (Brabham BT15). Dan Eagling reporting that Simon had really clicked with the circuit producing one of his best performances. Andrew Thorpe in his Lotus 31 was the only sidedraught car with Jon Waggitt ably assisting, a very welcome sight following his scare in the Shelsley Walsh paddock.
Simon Haughton withdrew from this first race when he reported feeling unwell. The 14 cars entered Clerveux for the first time with Jason Timms leading. Samuel outbraked Jason into the Esses, to continue untroubled for his ninth consecutive win. Behind Samuel a four car chain developed headed by Jason Timms, followed by Andy Jarvis, Ross Drybrough and Simon Armer who had passed both Richard Wise and Josh Sharp. Simon had created a gap back to Josh of just over a second who had Richard Wise trailing him. Coming into Tower on lap 2, Richard Wise made contact with the rear of Josh Sharp’s Chevron, this launched Richard over Josh resulting in the retirement of both cars. Thankfully with neither driver suffering injury. The race continued without a safety car intervention.
On lap 4 Andy Jarvis slipped ahead of Jason Timms, only for Jason to reclaim the position on the following lap. Ross continued to follow the two closely with Simon Armer dropping back slightly from the battle. The Jarvis March having the advantage on the tight sections whilst Timms could pull away on the straights as the shape of the Brabham gave him better straight line speed. It was real cat and mouse battle.
Ross Drybrough’s race would come to an end at the chicane on lap 8 when he managed to take a little too much kerb. The result being he ripped the wishbone mounting out of the chassis. After a bumpy ride across the grass Ross came to a halt.
Samuel continued his race lapping everyone down to 4th place. Jason Timms finally easing way from Andy Jarvis with Simon Armer coming through in 4th place. Andrew Tart had to hold off a strong attack from Leif Bosson at the line to finish 0.152secs ahead. Mark Linstone was the last retirement of the day. He found he had undergeared the Brabham for the circuit and was revving the engine too highly eventually breaking a rocker.
The remaining finishers were Keith Messer in the Vesey from Simon Etherington and Martin Whitlock.
The second of the two races saw a depleted grid of 12 cars following the attrition of Race 1. Simon Haughton feeling better started from the back of the grid. For Samuel Harrison it was 10 out of 10. Another faultless performance giving him the points total to be the 2023 Champion. In the young man’s wake battle again resumed between Jason Timms, Andy Jarvis and Simon Armer. This time the contest between Timms and Jarvis was a lot closer, but Andy was unable to place himself in a
clear position to gain an advantage onto the finishing line straight For a small field they did provide an entertaining race.
Simon Etherington made a rapid start sticking with Keith Messer over the first lap, with Simon Haughton from the back close on his tail. Mark Linstone retired at the end of the first lap.
On lap 2 both Simon Haughton and Simon Etherington had passed Keith Messer. Although on the next lap, Etherington had been shuffled to the back of the pack behind Haugton, Messer, and Martin Whitlock. At the end of Lap 4. Simon Haugton retired to the pits with Martin Whitlock moving into 7th place at the end lap 6 when Keith Messer pulled into the pits.
On lap 7 Andrew Tart who had been shadowing Leif Bosson for 5th place took back the place. Extending his advantage to just
over a second. But the Swede was not done. Leif regrouped narrowing the gap down to 0.2 second to take back 5th slot in a dramatic dash to the line when Andrew missed a gear. Simon Etherington also saved his overtaking for the final lap, passing Martin Whitlock to finish 7th.
The Championship has two more races to go to conclude the 2023 season with 2024 being the 60th anniversary of the One-Litre Formula 3. The Association has some big plans, so we hope there are plenty of cars coming to Silverstone in October for the anniversary prelude.