The 2024 racing season from the Historic Sports Car Club got off to a fine start at Snetterton (April 20-21). Notable winners included Benn Simms who took a famous double in the SDC Classic Formula Ford Championship with his elderly but effective Jomo JMR7.

On a dry but cold weekend, a full 20-race programme ran very smoothly with representative grids, including welcome guest races from the Darlington and District Motor Club Sports/Saloon Championship and the Monoposto Championship.

Having recently sold his Formula Ford 2000 Reynard, Simms is focusing his effort for 2024 on the Jomo Formula Ford and he used the car’s slippery shape in the windy conditions of qualifying to put it on pole ahead of the later cars. The opening race had an early safety car and then a red flag but through it all Simms steered a calm and steady course to edge away from the battling pack behind him.

Simon Toyne wriggled his Lola T200 through to second place after the restart but had Andy Gosling’s Van Diemen and Rick Morris in the Royale RP29 on his tail. They were both fortunate to still be running, as Gosling had spun into the Esses in the first part and Morris had to take to the grass to avoid contact. Chris Porritt brought his Titan Mk6 up to complete the top five after Mike Gardner retired with damage to his Crossle 32F.

On Sunday, Simms did it all over again to wrap up a fine weekend. Gosling ran a clear second with Morris third while bouncing back after retiring from the opening race was Gislain Genecand who claimed fourth in his Crossle 16F. Simms was delighted with the result but acknowledged that he may not have things as easy next time out.

Toyne was also a key player in the opening Barnett Racing Engines Historic Formula Ford race later on Saturday afternoon and was able to stretch clear for a commanding win in the rapid Lola. His escape was made easier as a glorious four-way battle raged for second place.

Young Spencer Shinner, series newcomer Neil Hose, Cormac Flanagan and Ross Drybrough were all in the thick of the action in a wonderful battle, which was only resolved late in the day when Hose had a quick spin at Russell and Shinner edged a few yards clear of battling friends and rivals Flanagan and Drybrough.

With Toyne, as usual, not racing on Sunday Hose was able to score a deserved victory on his first weekend in the championship, but only by a tiny margin over Shinner at the flag.

A bumper grid of 70s and Historic Road Sports delivered a great spectacle on each day and Saturday’s race was one of the best of the weekend. The Morgan Plus 8s of Simon King and Richard Plant went head-to-head and it was an absorbing contest as they battled through late race traffic. King just made it to the line as Plant tried to out-gun him on the run from the final corner and they were close to side-by-side over the line. It was decided in King’s favour by a scant 15 hundredths of a second after more than 20 minutes of flat out battling.

Antony Ross, best of the 70s pack, was chasing hard in his TVR 3000M at the flag and was ideally placed to move ahead on Sunday when the two Historic Road Sports Morgans were absent.

Ross won the second race with a handy margin over Historic contender Frazer Gibney (Lotus Elan) and John Williams from the 70s pack in his Porsche 911SC. A little further back, Howard Payne was delighted to chalk up two finishes in his Lotus Europa after a troubled season in 2023.

Honours were shared among the Historic Formula Ford 2000 contenders with Samuel Harrison scoring an impressive victory on Saturday in the car on loan from Adrian Reynard. Harrison held the gap to defending champion Graham Fennymore at around a second and a half at the flag, with Ben Glasswell just heading Jordan Harrison for third.

However, on Sunday, it was Fennymore who took control despite the close attention of Glasswell. Harrison picked up a damaged radiator and was forced to retire so some way back from the leaders, Andrew Storer claimed the final podium position ahead of Adrian Reynard himself.

Only racing on Saturday were the Historic Formula Junior Championship contenders, and it was Nick Fennell who took charge in his Lotus 27 for a convincing victory. Andrew Hibberd in his Lotus 20 spent the early laps running in close formation with his father Michael in their Lotus 22, with Nic Carlton-Smith joining in with his newly rebuilt Lotus 20. Eventually, Andrew H edged away for a clear second and Carlton-Smith bagged third from Hibberd senior who just fended off the impressive Pierre Guichard in the Lynx T3 at the flag.

The Chase Equipment Historic Modsports and Special Saloons pack looked really good and with more cars to come the series continues to build momentum. Joe Ward wheeled out the magnificent ‘Baby Bertha’ Vauxhall Firenza to score a double win. In the first race on Sunday it was Ray Rowan who led the chase in his Sunbeam Stiletto with Tony Davis (Vauxhall Firenza) and Myles Castaldini (Davrian Mk8) battling for third.

Later the day Ward did it again and with Rowan retiring the Stiletto it was Davis, who came through for second from Andrew Willis in the mighty Ford V8-powered Austin A30. Sadly, the Triumph TR7 V8 Le Mans project of Kevin Jones hit more dramas and only completed a lap or two of qualifying.

Running for 50 minutes on Sunday afternoon was the opening round of the Guards Trophy and it was Scottish Borders driver Dan Balfour who took a commanding win after going solo in his Chevron B8. Balfour won by just over a minute from the Lenham P69 of Robert and Ben Tusting and they, in turn, had to work hard as less than two seconds covered second to fourth place cars at the flag. Westie and Sam Mitchell chased hard in their Chevron B8 and had David Forsbrey in his B8 running them very close.

It was even closer in the GT category as the Lotus Elan 26Rs of Bruce White and Nick Powell finished just 56 thousandths of a second apart after an absorbing contest. It was another great battle during a full weekend on the 200 circuit at Snetterton.