Results > June 26th - 27th 2021 - Donington Park National
Two wins for Andrew Hibberd
Historic Formula 3 Races
DONINGTON PARK, HSCC, JUNE 26-27
Chequered Flag to chequered flag for Hibberd
Driving his ex-Chris Irwin Chequered Flag Brabham BT18 welcome returnee Andrew Hibberd won both 1000cc Historic F3 races at Donington Park on June 26-27. Only after scintillating battles with Chevron drivers Jeremey Timms (ex-works/Reine Wisell B15) and recent Cadwell Park winner Benn Simms in Jim Blockley’s ex-Ken Sedgley B17, and a great recovery drive, did he land double gold.
Much midnight oil had been burned in fabrication shops at opposite ends of the country in the three weeks since Cadwell’s Justin Haler Trophy event. Dean Forward Motorsport in Huddersfield had repaired Barry Sewell’s ex-Derek Bell Lotus 41, while down in Gloucestershire Jeremy Bennett at Nemesis had straightened out the Timms Chevron as best he could without time for a total rejig. “It’s almost square,” said Jeremey, with a raft of compensatory suspension settings built in.
To help event logistics, we qualified with the Classic [Pre-1982] Formula Ford field, which was not ideal, prior to racing separately. Hibberd and Simms topped the overall order having found sufficient space with 37 cars on track - of which 19 F3 ‘screamers,’ narrowly the majority, sang soprano lines - for late charges. Andrew laid down a 1m16.075s (93.65mph) best, with local ace Benn a scant 0.064s slower on 1:16.139.
Former champion Jon Milicevic was out for the first time since 2019’s Silverstone finale and was bang on the pace with a 1:16.741. Sadly he felt his engine tighten after nine laps, thus the Fosters Booth garagiste headed home with the intention ofbeing back at Brands Hatch in a fortnight’s time. Timms was thus shuffled up onto P3, encouraged by his 1:17.476, more than half a second quicker than another former champ Simon Armer in the ex-Tom Walkinshaw Petonyer Aviation March 703.
Armer’s 1:18.102 headed Brabham BT21 drivers Steve Seaman on 1:18.876 and Jason Timms on 1:19.296, with Peter Hamilton (Tecno) and Mike Scott (ex-Erkki Salminen Brabham BT28) filling the next staggered row on 1:19.730 and 1:20.082 respectively. Paul Waine - in the ‘baby Ferrari 312’ de Sanctis - Mark Linstone (BT21) and Keith Messer (ex-Peter Colbourne Vesey VF3) were also in the 20s. Keith rued not having time to address an engine issue, but out-qualified Sewell and team-mates Andrew Tart (ex-John Fenning Merlyn Mk9) and 1960s’ F3 racer Mike Walker (ex-Mike Knight BT21), in the 1:21 bracket.
Gil Duffy (BT21B) and Paul Booth (ex-Tetsu ikuzawa BT21), Simon Etherington in his ex-Manfred Mohr Brabham BT15 and Welshman Tony Wallen (ex-Carlos Pace Lotus 59A) completed the 18 starters for Saturday’s race on a pleasantly warm afternoon. Unfortunately there were problems with grid placement and when Messer was directed back by marshals his modified gearbox did not relinquish reverse gear as he discovered when the red lights went out.
Hibberd led from the start, his white and black Brabham chased by Simms’s yellow Chevron and the Timms cousins in their red cars. Jeremy went second on lap two, but going onto lap four the top three headed towards Redgate almost abreast. Simms, on the inside line, held his nerve and shot past both rivals in one fell swoop to lead.
Armer was now fourth, ahead of Jason Timms, whose engine was beginning to show signs of fading. Waine was up to sixth, with Seaman, Linstone and Hamilton squabbling over seventh and Scott, Tart and Sewell similarly engaged behind them. Veterans Walker and Messer were duelling over 13th and 14th.
When Hibberd spun exiting the chicane on lap six Simms returned to the front, pursued by Jeremy. Andrew lost two places and five seconds but if anything the drama made him more determined. He almost halved the deficit next time round with a sensational 1:15.727 (94.08mph) lap which stood as the race’s best.
Simms fending Timms off enabled Hibberd - fastest through the Craner Curves speed trap at 118.3mph - to close in. The trio reunited on lap 8, then Andrew wriggled back into the lead. By then piston failure had stopped Jason Timms, and Simms headed forlornly pitward with a broken distributor. Later Waine’s engine died, with a hole burned clean through number 3 piston. Both he and Jason T were sidelined for the weekend.
Hibberd and the remaining Timms continued their dice, trading the lead until the finish, when Jeremy’s last-ditch effort resulted in him spearing through the gravel. He kept second, almost 10 seconds behind, a long way clear of Armer and Seaman who had lost Hamilton, whose excellent progress was annulled when the Tecno gyrated.
Linstone, Tart, Sewell and Scott were having a whale of a time disputing sixth meanwhile. It was advantage Linstone until he locked-up entering McLeans at the cost of a couple of places. Tart grabbed the initiative and the spot, Linstone, Sewell and Scott crossing the line within three seconds.
Messer, the last unlapped runner, never recovered his equilibrium. Walker, Hamilton, Booth, Etherington, Duffy and Wallen completed the finishers.
The 16 fit cars turned out for Sunday’s sequel, its grid seeded by fastest laps on Saturday. Simms and Hibberd again made the running, alternating the lead with Jeremey Timms in close company. Benn went round the outside of Andrew at Redgate on lap 11, but by the end of it Hibberd and Timms were out front and Simms retired to save his engine. Benn was reprieved, however, for next time round red flags flew with Booth off and the result was wound back a lap, classifying him third, having crossed the timing line in the pit lane.
Armer, Scott and Linstone took the minor places - Mike and Mark having lapped more than half a second quicker than they had the previous day - with Tart, Hamilton and Sewell enjoying a good dice behind them. Messer, Duffy and Walker went the full distance too, a lap clear of Etherington and Wallen.
Simms’ consolation was fastest lap at 1:15.963 (93.79mph). With Milicevic determined to be back by Brands Hatch and Michael O’Brien eagerly looking forward to debuting a Brabham in restoration at SpeedSport’s Silverstone workshop it’s set to get tougher at the top. Frustratingly though, ongoing COVID-19 logistics currently preclude most of our continental friends from re-entering the fray for the full European flavour 1000cc F3 was renowned for as a contemporary category, and we still enjoy.