Some strong grids, some excellent racing and a dry and bright weekend made the Historic Sports Car Club’s annual foray to Donington Park a great success over the weekend of June 8-9.

With four races for Formula Ford 1600, there was always going to be plenty of close action and the double headers for Classic Formula Ford and Historic Formula Ford did not disappoint.

In the SDC supported Classic Formula Ford Championship there were two wins for Benn Simms in his remarkable Jomo JMR7, despite a tremendous challenge by Callum Grant in particular. In the first race, Grant mounted a major challenge until a rare error at the chicane pitched his Merlyn Mk20 into a spin and allowed Simms to go clear. In his wake, Andy Gosling battled through into second and Grant was able to salvage third as he recovered from his spin.

At the end of the weekend, the second race was full of action and drama with up to five cars making a fantastic lead battle. Once again, Simms and Grant made the pace and there was nothing in it for much of the race. But when it mattered Simms was ahead by just 17 hundredths of a second in a fantastic finish.

Neil Hose topped a trying weekend to bring his Merlyn Mk20 into third from Chris Porritt after a late incident at Redgate delayed Rick Morris and eliminated Matthew Wrigley and Gosling.

Not to be outdone, the Barnett Racing Engines backed historic category also delivered some sensational racing and in the first race of the weekend it was young Spencer Shinner who underlined his rising star status by beating his rivals in a blanket finish.

The ever improving Christian Goller, Wrigley and Ross Drybrough were all within a second of Shinner over the line and for much of the race it had been Wrigley who really took the fight to the young Cornishmen. Wrigley got his reward in the second race on Sunday once Shinner dropped back a little in the leading pack. It was an inspired Cormac Flanagan who came up to battle with his good friend Drybrough over second and the Alexis finally grabbed the place after some wheel to wheel action.

The new HSCC Touring Car Legends series made an encouraging debut with a quality grid that was headed in both races by the flame throwing Nissan Skyline R32 of Ric Wood. In Saturday’s sprint race, Daniel Brown headed the chase of Wood in the family Ford Sierra RS500 but on Sunday Brown posted a late retirement in the car he shared with his father Sean when it cut out and refused to restart. Instead Mike Manning came through to second in his RS500 after a big effort to rebuild the car following an accident at Castle Combe.

A bumper grid of Historic and 70s Road Sports and Historic Touring Cars delivered a fabulous spectacle and victories for John Shaw’s Morgan Plus 8 and John Williams in his Porsche 911SC. They were the class of the field with Shaw topping the Historic division and Williams heading the 70s contenders. Best of the touring cars on Saturday was Neil Wood in his Ford Anglia and then at the end of Saturday afternoon Wood again topped the division as Williams got the better of Shaw in the overall contest.

The two Derek Bell Trophy races delivered a wonderful spectacle as mighty Formula 5000s and nimble Formula 2 and Atlantic cars went into battle. In the opener, Christian Pittard was able to make an escape in his Chevron B28 as Mark Charteris took a few laps to find a way around the Chevron B37 of Neil Glover who was battling a rare handling imbalance.

Once through into second Charteris and his March 782 rocketed away after Pittard and closed the Chevron down, but just didn’t have enough laps to make an attack and was half a second behind over the line. Paul Campfield challenged Glover for third and Mark Dwyer wrapped up the top five in his ex-Jody Scheckter Trojan T101.

In a re-started race on Sunday, with Pittard absent due to other commitments, Charteris got away clear from the start and was never troubled as Glover saw off Campfield and Robin Lackford came up to be the best of the Formula Atlantics in his GRD 272.

A tremendous Guards Trophy grid featured both quantity and quality although the race was curtailed a couple of laps early after a lot of oil was dropped from the Chevron B16 of Daniel Pickett.

Steve Nuttall made the early running in his Chevron B8 but over the race distance it was the Lenham P69 of Robert and Ben Tusting that came to the fore. Any chance for Nuttall to make a late challenge was lost to the red flag. David Forsbrey wrapped up the top three in his Chevron B8 while Nick Fennell and Michael O’Brien were class winners in Fennell’s Lotus 23B.

Historic Formula Ford 2000 honours were ultimately split between Graham Fennymore and Samuel Harrison as their title battle continued. Harrison had a disaster in qualifying when his engine let go on only his third lap. But a deal was quickly done with Benn Sims to fetch Benn’s rebuilt engine and it was fitted just in time for Harrison to join the grid. He battled up from fifth and dived ahead of Fennymore at Redgate, but it was a move that was later deemed inappropriate and Harrison collected a five-second penalty to put him back behind Fennymore in the amended results. Ben Glasswell and Ollie Roberts were next up once Jordan Harrison lost the rear wing from his Lola T580.

On Sunday, Harrison started down in 17th place due to his second fastest lap in qualifying but stormed through the field in spectacular style and was aided by an early safety car that bunched the pack up. Once released, Harrison went from fifth to second in short order, and then deposed Fennymore in the closing stages to complete a remarkable weekend. Glass well and Jordan Harrison wrapped up the top four.

Alex Morton was the class of the front engined Formula Junior pack and went well clear in his Condor S2 as Chris Astley led the pursuit in his Elva 100. Meanwhile in the rear engine race, which was interrupted by a safety car, Sam Wilson just had the upper hand over Clive Richards when it really mattered with Andrew Hibberd chasing hard in his Lotus 22.

Finally, the Griffith Haig Trophy season opened with a small but select grid of drum brake sports cars and in the first race it was Chris Keen who took control in his Kurtis 500S despite a determined Chase by Malcolm Harrison in his Cooper Bristol T25. Later in the day, Gareth Evans took over the Allied J2X raced by his father Simon in the opening race and was able to narrowly fend off Keen with a tyre-smoking display in the mighty Allard.