The unstoppable and glorious Walter Hayes Trophy aside, James Beckett’s recent Formula Ford 1600 initiatives have had a mixed reception and sometimes felt like answers to questions no one was asking.
That is emphatically not the case with Heritage FFord, the ‘homelessness’ of the much loved and still numerous early 1990s cars having vexed FF1600 paddock veterans.
It’s also appropriate that Beckett is the one stepping in here, given he was a major factor in ensuring Kent FFord’s heart kept beating while in Zetec/Duratec/Ecoboost’s short-lived shadow.
Beckett’s FF1600 ideas are invariably evocative. No FFord enthusiast could resent efforts to revive the Champion of Brands or Star of Mallory, or to get contemporary FF1600 to Cadwell Park, Formula 3 support bills or the Silverstone GP track.
But there were too many single-figure grids and cancelled events, and there would’ve been more without the FF1600 fraternity’s deep affection for Beckett convincing teams to squeeze his races into their programmes as gestures of support.
Although Beckett will need to fit into MSVR’s dates, creating a calendar that means teams don’t have to choose between Heritage FFord and the BRSCC series must be a priority, as will ensuring formats and entry fees are equally attractive as other FF1600 championships’.
In its golden era FFord’s structure was always more octupus than pyramid – a multiplicity of rival national series, regional championships and categories for different ages of cars. That diversity and flexibility was why it thrived.
That spirit can be part of FF1600’s current renaissance too, and Heritage FFord should fit that jigsaw snugly.