Silverstone hosts the Walter Hayes Trophy this weekend, and while the cars racing in the main event are not all strictly historic, the engines powering them could be regard as so being the venerable 1600cc Ford ‘Kent’ engine that has provided the motivation for Formula Ford for so many seasons. Masterminded by James Beckett, the event tries to recreate the amazing Formula Ford Festivals of the heyday of 1600cc Formula Ford, and this weekend almost 80 cars are entered to battle through heats, semi-finals and then the finals to win the coveted title.
The Brands Hatch Festivals of their peak were one of the highlights of the British racing calendar, attracting FF1600 races from across the world every autumn. Fields of over 200 cars were not uncommon, with heats from early on Saturday morning and the final late on Sunday afternoon (complete with the low sun adding to the challenge for the drivers!).
The racing was always intense, not only for the lead but also back in the pack as there would be a cut-off point in each heat – so if only the first ten progressed then often that was the point in the race to be watching in the final few laps as drivers found to extend their weekend. While drivers such as Johnny Herbert, Mark Webber and Jenson Button all claimed the FFF title on their way to Formula One, it was also won by Formula Ford specialists such as the great Dave Coyne.
The British Formula Ford championship moved to the Zetec engine for 1993, the FFF running a Kent class in certain years, and recently has returned to the Kent engine for its overall competition, but the Walter Hayes has been the one to win for the FF1600 racers for many seasons. The field this year is strong, featuring names such as Joey Foster, a triple Walter Hayes winner and double FFF champion, and formula veterans such as Rick Morris, Roger Orgee and Derek Daly.
The field features a mix of young hotshoes, such as Castle Combe FF1600 champion Luke Cooper who had a superb winning streak for most of the season, Champion of Brands race winner Ollie White, and experienced racers such as a number of front-runners from the HSCC’s FF1600 series, including newly-crowned champion Cameron Jackson out in a Van Diemen RF07.
Racing starts at 11.45 on Saturday morning with heat one of the Walter Hayes Trophy, and the opening day’s events conclude with a stunt show and firework display at 18.00. Sunday starts promptly with the opening WHT race at 09.00, with the final set for 15.10. A variety of ‘all-comers’ support races fill the busy schedule.
Saturday 3rd November:
08:00 Gates open
09:00 – 09:10 WHT Heat 1 Qualifying
09:20 – 09:30 WHT Heat 2 Qualifying
09:40 – 09:50 WHT Heat 3 Qualifying
10:00 – 10:10 HSCC Open Wheel Allcomers Qualifying
10:20 – 10:30 WHT Heat 4 Qualifying
10:40 – 10:50 WHT Heat 5 Qualifying
11:00 – 11:10 HSCC Closed Wheel Allcomers Qualifying
11:20 – 11:30 WHT Heat 6 Qualifying
11:45 WHT Heat 1 – 8 laps Race 1
12:00 – 12:40 Lunch break
12:40 WHT Heat 2 – 8 laps Race 2
13:10 WHT Heat 3 – 8 laps Race 3
13:40 HSCC Open Wheel Allcomers – 20 laps or 25 mins Race 4
14:20 WHT Heat 4 – 8 laps Race 5
14:50 WHT Heat 5 – 8 laps Race 6
15:20 HSCC Closed Wheel Allcomers – 20 laps or 25 mins Race 7
16:00 WHT Heat 6 – 8 laps Race 8
18:00 Silverstone Stunt and Fireworks Show begins
19:00 Silverstone Stunt and Fireworks Show ends
20:00 Gates close
Sunday 4th November
08:00 Gates open
09:00 WHT Progression Race – 10 laps Race 9
09:25 – 09:40 Silverstone Allcomers Closed Wheel Qualifying
09:50 – 10:05 BWRDC Ladies Allcomers Closed Wheel Sealed Handicap Qualifying
10:20 Walter Hayes Last Chance – 10 laps Race 10
11:10 WHT Semi Final 1 – 12 laps Race 11
11:50 WHT Semi Final 2 – 12 laps Race 12
12:20 Silverstone Allcomers Closed Wheel – 20 laps or 25 mins Race 13
12:50 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 BWRDC Ladies Allcomers Closed Wheel Sealed Handicap – 20 laps or 25 mins Race 14
14:10 The Extra Go Trophy for Non Historic Formula Ford Consolation Race – 12 laps Race 15
14:40 Janet Cesar Historic Formula Ford Consolation Race – 12 laps
15:10 WHT Grand Final – 15 laps Race 16
18:00 Gates close