The end-of-year classics once again attracted big names, but the national and regional series in Formula Ford in its various forms also had strong grids this year. Here’s what happened across the world
Having raced in Formula Ford since his single-seater debut in 2016, Jordan Dempsey finally won the BRSCC National FF1600 title this year. The 2018 Chinese Formula 4 champion and former Formula Regional Asian Championship racer joined Kevin Mills Racing – who he dominated the 2019 Walter Hayes Trophy with – to claim the title with two races to spare.
The season began at Silverstone, unusually on the International layout, and Dempsey claimed pole in a “hectic” qualifying session. He converted it into victory in a dramatic opening race, and doubled up in a similarly action-packed race two.
At Knockhill he also earned pole, but this time he didn’t win. Ammonite Motorsport’s Colin Queen hassled him through race one until making a last-lap pass to win the David Leslie Trophy, then in race two they collided. That promoted B-M Racing’s Jamie Sharp into the lead, but contact with Oldfield Motorsport’s Lucas Romanek then sent him spinning and Romanek won.
Down in 15th place, SC Motorsport’s Drew Stewart was the surprise claimant of the points for Scottish FFord in race one as the top finisher entered to score. Graham Brunton Racing’s Michael Gray claimed maximum points for 10th place in race two.
The two championships ran together again at Croft (in North Yorkshire), where Romanek claimed pole. He led the first race until another collision with Sharp sent him into a scary barrel roll and then the barriers, where his car caught fire.
Thankfully he escaped with just a hurt hand and as the race was red flagged the result was taken back a lap. Romanek wasn’t running at the time of the red flags so couldn’t be classified as winner, so victory went to Sharp. But an investigation of the crash led to Sharp being disqualified, which was appealed, and six hours on the final result showed Dempsey as winner.
That put Dempsey on pole for race two, which he won, then Queen came through to win the reversed-grid race three with a last-lap dive on Sharp.
Gray was one of four drivers eligible for Scottish points and moved into the championship lead by topping that quartet with eighth, ninth and 11th place finishes.
National FF1600 then headed to Wales. Sharp pipped Dempsey to pole at Anglesey, and Romanek joined their victory battle in race one. After multiple passes, it went Romanek’s way with a final lap move. Sharp struck back to win race two, then Romanek won again in the reversed-grid race.
Queen claimed the championship lead that weekend, but Dempsey moved back ahead by Snetterton by almost taking a triple win. He dominated qualifying and race one, resisted a race-long Romanek challenge in race two and a final corner mistake meant his rival beat him by just 0.028 seconds in race three.
It was a not too dissimilar weekend on Brands Hatch’s Indy layout, with Dempsey unrivalled in qualifying, winning two races then being the reversed-grid race runner-up. This time he finished behind Ammonite’s Shawn Rashid.
The title looked set to go to Dempsey before the cars even turned up to Donington Park for the final round, and the 22-year-old Irishman delivered in a dramatic fashion. He beat Queen to pole by 0.1s, but damaged his car in an incident with returning KMR team-mate Michael Eastwell, then led race one until an off. After that he ran wide, later pitted and ended up finishing 34th, and Queen took the points for victory as Team Dolan’s race winner Niall Murray wasn’t entered to score.
Dempsey still emerged from the race as champion, and the next day Queen secured the runner-up spot by coming out on top in a battle for race two victory with Murray and Rashid, and finishing second to other team-mate Andre Lafond in race three.
A lack of interest meant all of Scottish FFord’s rounds at Knockhill were cancelled after the trip to Croft, and meant Gray [pictured above] was crowned champion. The other national championship in Britain this year was United FFord, which combined all of the Champion of Brands races and other James Beckett-organised events to make a series that raced across England.
It began in chaotic style at Donington. James Hadfield took pole for the series’ inaugural pole, but lost the lead to Matt Rivett before a half-hour red flag stoppage. The race restarted for one lap before a safety car period, which Rivett overtook at the restart before retiring with no power less than a minute later. Chris Acton then led, but Hadfield passed to win.
Fluid on track shortened race two, which Hadfield won on the road having led, gone off the track then regained his lost places all while behind the safety car. The result went back a lap due to red flags, meaning Rivett won from 14th on the grid.
Ammonite joined round two on Silverstone’s National layout, and Lafond edged Queen to pole by 0.019s. The races were just as close, as Queen beat Romanek by 0.044s and 0.051s in the two races, the first victory earning him the Jim Walsh Trophy.
Dolan’s Morgan Quinn led home team-mate Ben Cochran to win both Cadwell Park races, with Rivett running third in race two until “the stub axle sheared in the front left allowing the wheel to [come off] into the spectator area, very lucky no one hurt and that it didn’t happen at a high-speed area”.
Queen and Romanek resumed battle at Snetterton. Romanek won the first bout, and they swapped places a couple of times in the second bout before an incident put both out. A safety car period and red flags followed, and Lafond won.
The next three rounds were all CoB events, and Dempsey dominated the first to win the Peter Rogers Trophy.
B-M’s Rory Smith did the double in the next one. He took pole but dropped to at the start of race one before a roll for FF1600 debutant Drew Cameron led to it being stopped. Smith mastered the restarted encounter to win.
Championship leader Queen missed the final round, which attracted 2021 National FF1600 title contender Alex Walker back to the category. Walker held off Romanek to win his first race back, but he had a 10s penalty due to his clutch going early at the start so was dropped to third.
In the finale, the Martin Down Trophy, Romanek just held off Walker to win. He missed out on the title though by one point to Quinn, who finished second and third.
After almost a decade racing in the series, TM Racing’s Felix Fisher finally won the Castle Combe FF1600 title in 2022 after a season-long battle with Luke Cooper.
Over the Irish Sea, Team DDR’s David McCullough claimed a third Northern Irish FF1600 title and won the Martin Donnelly Trophy for a fourth time by 1.258s over brother Ivor.
The winged F2000 Championship Series has a mix of Ford and Mazda engines, and varying popularity. This year’s season opener at Carolina Motorsports Park attracted just six cars. Austin Hill won race one by 41.856s, and race two by 5.896s.
The grid more than doubled in size at Mid-Ohio, where Michael Varacins won race one. Hill ended up on pole for race two by 4.920s when qualifying was red-flagged, but it was Canadian rookie JC Trahan who won the race.
There was half the number of entries again for Barber Motorsports Park. Trahan edged Ayrton Houk to win race one, and the positions were reversed for race two.
Nathan Byrd beat Hill to race one pole at Pittsburgh by 0.575s, but they were only split by 0.196s in the fight for victory. Amazingly Greg Peluso and Mike Pepitone finished joint eighth after a video review and timing analysis determined they finished the race with an identical time when measured down to a thousandth of a second. Trahan dominated qualifying for race two, and duly won.
He achieved the double at Autobahn Country Club, winning race two by 37.549s. Next up was Summit Point, where several F1000 cars joined the battles at the front. Tim Minor was the top F2000 runner in race one down in fifth, and was fourth in race two.
Title rivals Trahan and Hill shared the front on the return to Pittsburgh for the final round, and Trahan turned that pole into a comfortable win. He then took pole again for the very last race, and secured the title with a huge 33.108s win.
Over in the west of the USA, Troy Shooter claimed the Pacific F2000 title with three race wins, while in the SCCA National Runoff, Nolan Allaer was the Formula Continental winner.
The F1600 Championship Series lacks the second ‘F’ because it uses Honda rather than Ford engines, but is in effect the USA’s answer to National FF1600. This year 17-year-old Thomas Schrage was champion with nine wins, and he also won the Team USA Scholarship to race in the UK where he claimed a Castle Combe series pole and came fourth in the FFord Festival.
Ayrton Houk was runner-up to him in America, and won five races. He will step up to F2000 in 2023. Jonathan Kotyk won the Formula F race in the National Runoffs.
The Ontario-based Toyo Tires F1600, another Honda-powered series, went to Britain West Motorsport’s Jake Cowden in 2022.
Cowden did so well he won the Team Canada Scholarship, having also come second in the Quebec-based Formula Tour 1600. In that time, he was denied a double win in dramatic circumstances at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal following a penalty, and won all three races at GP de Trois-Rivieres.
Team USA scholar William Ferguson was runner-up in Ontario, and he came to the fore in Cowden’s absense during round two at Mosport, taking pole and winning all three races.
Cowden returned for round three at the same track, but it was GB4 race-winner Megan Gilkes who would take pole and win race three, while Connor Clubine won race one.
At the lengthy Calabogie Motorsports Park, Cowden took pole but lost race one to Ferguson by 0.2s, with Connor Wagland and Clubine also within a second of victory. Ferguson beat Cowden in race two, but the latter was back on top in race three.
A return to Mosport had a different outcome, with Clubine taking pole by 1.229s over Ferguson and Cowden 0.107s further back in fourth. He came through to win though, with he and Ferguson passing Clubine on the last lap.
In race two he took it from Clubine on the penultimate lap, and Clubine only held on to second place over Ferguson by 0.001s. Cowden made it three from three the next day.
Clubine took pole by 0.077s at the final round, also at Mosport, and this time he was able to hold off Cowden to win, albeit helped by a red flag finish after five laps.
Ferguson retired in race two, which Cowden won by almost 10s over Clubine, and then finished just 0.159s behind victor Cowden in the season-ending race. Had Ferguson got by, it would have been him who was champion rather than Cowden.
Valentino Astuti won the Australian FFord title, but had points leader James Piszcyk not skipped the final round to do a British F4 test then the title could have been his.
Jordan Sinni was the early championship leader as he claimed pole then finished first and second in the first two points-scoring races of the year at Sandown Raceway. The very first race was considered non-championship encounter for the top Duratec class due to the majority of the race running behind the safety car. Richard Davison, in 22nd place, was the top driver in the class for those using older Kent engines.
Sinni’s points-earning win was taken by half a second, with Astuti retiring on lap two. In race three, Cody Donald won.
Astuti showed his title credentials at Phillip Island, taking pole by 0.0121s and winning race one by 0.1714s. He battled hard with Piszcyk to win the next two races, and victory in race three came by 0.0048s.
The camoeing Tim Blanchard, an occassional Australian Supercars racer, was the star of the Winton Motor Raceway round as he romped to pole and three wins, then Piszcyk did the triple at Sydney Motorsport Park.
After going to Morgan Park Raceway, the penultimate round was held at The Bend Motorsport Park. Winston Smith took pole before the weather took a turn for the worse, with strong gales hitting race one which was won by Piszcyk.
The wind picked up to reported speeds of 46mph for race two, and Smith held off Astuti for his first win. A penalty for overtaking under yellow flags dropped Piszcyk from fourth to 14th, and his points gap was diminished to 11 points in race three as he finished 12th while Astuti beat Smith to win.
Piszcyk’s absence from the Sydney finale turned the title fight into a Astuti versus Cameron McLeod affair, with Astusti assuming the points lead by finishing third in race one behind Ryder Quinn and Zak Lobko. McLeod had a qualifying incident that copped him a penalty and he had to work his way up from 16th to fifth, a position taken by just 0.0303s.
It was the same podium trio in race two, then Astuti wrapped up the title in the finale with victory. Quinn had led the way until a racing incident dropped him down the order, with Lobko and then Astuti moving ahead. McLeod meanwhile made another charge up to fifth, which wasn’t enough to beat Piszcyk to second in the points. Mitch Gatenby was also crowned champion in the Kent class during the weekend.
Davison was Kent champion in the Victorian state series, with Matt Hillyer comfortably winning the Duratec class.
Piszcyk still put a title to his name by winning the New South Wales championship, with Dan Holihan the Kent champion.
In Western Australia, Elliott Cleary was crowned Gold Star champion with a sweep of end-of-season wins, while motorsport journalist Andrew van Leeuwen took the Silver Star title.
The New Zealand FFord championship was slimmed down to two rounds, one on the North Island at Taupo in March and another on the South Island at Ruapuna in May.
Liam Sceats dominated the opener, wining all four races and the Ron Frost Memorial Trophy, but at round two he only got one podium and lost the title in a final race showdown against Alex Crosbie who said he “didn’t expect to be competing” for the crown.
Zac Christensen won three of that weekend’s races, including the Morrie Smith Memorial Trophy, to cap off a strong start to the year on the track as he won the 2021-22 South Island FFord title. He won four races over the course of the six-round season, with title rival Matthew Hamilton winning five races. Crosbie finished third in the standings, and youngster Louis Sharp was an impressive fifth despite missing two rounds. He won five races before moving to British Formula 4.
On the North Island, Bree Morris claimed a historic title in the most dramatic fashion. After four rounds, Hayden Bakkerus led by 117 points, and with just three races at Taupo to go. But Morris was amazingly able to cut the gap.
Sceats took pole at Taupo, ahead of Seb Manson and Morris, and he took a controlling win in race one while intense action took place behind. Morris was third, and her title chances were boosted when Bakkerus retired with an engine fire.
After switching to a different car, Bakkerus had issues again in race two and Morris closed in more with third place behind Sceats and Manson again. The same result in the double-points final race was enough to draw Morris level on points with Bakkerus, who finished sixth, and so the title was determined on victory countback in Morris’s favour.
FF1800 runner Maxime Lebreton comfortably won the first two Trophee FFord Kent & Zetec races of the year at Magny-Cours, but only two Zetec drivers turned up to Ledenon and FF1600 racer Hugo Carini was triumphant twice.
Eric Heudicourt and Lebreton put Zetec back ahead at Dijon, then all but one of those entries skipped the next round at Val de Vienne. FF1600 drivers therefore returned to the fore, and the wins where shared between series long-timer Gislain Genecand and Carini. It was a similar story at the tricky Charade circuit, where Arnaud Dousse went from third to first on lap one of the opening race and just held off Carini to win, with Carini passing him to win race two.
That all but secured him the FF1600 title ahead of the final round at Albi, where Lebreton wrapped up his FF1800 crown by winning the first race. Matthieu Midy won the season finale, as the LMP2-aspiring Carini became a two-time FFord champion. Many of the drivers also did the Historic French GP at Paul Ricard, where Dousse just held on to win both FF1600 races.
Heudicourt also raced in the Germany-based FFord Racing series, coming third in the Zetec standings behind Pascal Monbaron and Henry Clausnitzer. Monbaron was seventh in the FF1600 classification too, which Klaus-Dieter Haeckel won.
The vaguely named Single Seater Series shared its FFord grids with winged cars in 2021, then adopted a full Formula Libre format for 2022. The FFord entry diminished somewhat, with Pedro Rodrigues and Rui Silva winning the Zetec class at Estoril. Fernando Mayer Gaspar won both Algarve races by other half a minute, and was just as dominant on the return to Estoril.
Vasco Sampaio was the top FF1600 driver there, and on the final round at the same track he claimed FFord victory by nearly 10s over his father Vitor who topped the FF1800 class. Andre Pardal won the last race of the year, and second place for Silva secured him the class title over Rodrigues.
Nobody was expecting brothers Gerard and Antwan Geldenhuys to be the stars of the South African F1600 opener at Killarney, but they managed to upset the expected order from the off.
Gerard claimed pole for the first race of 2022, and turned it into victory ahead of his brother as both earned their first podium finishes. That win didn’t look secure even with the qualifying performance, and title favourite Josh le Roux got into the lead early on. He led until a clash with GB4-bound Jarrod Waberski, leading to the Geldenhuys brothers returning to the top two spots. Le Roux found race two redemption with a lights-to-flag drive ahead of Antwan Geldenhuys.
At Zwartkops there was the same race winners, with pole this time going to le Roux. He had Geldenhuys’ challenge covered in race one, but his rival got a faster start in race two and was able to take the lead. While Geldenhuys went on to take a second win ahead of Alex Vos, le Roux had an off and finished seventh.
Vos had a breakthrough weekend at Aldo Scribante, edging le Roux to pole by 0.003s and then holding him for his maiden win. Le Roux beat rival Geldenhuys to win race two and take the points lead.
Le Roux earned pole by just 0.034s at Red Star Raceway, this time ahead of Gerard Geldenhuys. But when his car was found to be underweight, le Roux was required to start both races from the back.
Antwan Geldenhuys got involved in an opening lap clash in race one and it left his brother in the lead ahead of Vos. He finished 11th, his brother controlled the pace to take his first win, and le Roux charged up to third.
It took less fighting for Geldenhuys to get the lead in race two and claim a double win, with Vos in second place again. This time le Roux got up to fourth, but crucially got ahead of Antwan Geldenhuys. The perfect score meant it was actually the other Geldenhuys who was now his closest title rival.
Former Formula 1 venue East London held round five, and there was another super close qualifying session with Le Roux edging Antwan Geldenhuys, and the condense nature of the field continued into the race where there was not enough room for everyone to fight for position. Gerhard Geldenhuys and le Roux both had lap one incidents, although the former still emerged as leader, while his brother copped a 30s penalty for jumping the start. He made it up to third though before a collision with the two ahead, handing rookie Troy Dolinschek a surprise lead.
The race was then stopped due to a crash for Ewan Holtzhausen, who rolled several times and was hospitalised with injuries. On the restart it was hectic again, with Vos spinning and Gerard Geldenhuys winning ahead of Dolinschek.
Le Roux snatched the lead at the start of race two and held it until the chequered flag, ensuring he retained his points lead.
Dolinschek and Gerard Geldenhuys squabbled race-long for second place, with multiple overtakes and it eventually being settled in Dolinschek’s favour with a last lap move.
Le Roux was on pole again when the series returned to Killarney, although it was Dolinschek who looked fastest before a driveline issue struck. Race one comfortably went le Roux’s way, while Dolinschek secured second with a multi-car pass.
Dolinschek was hungry for victory, and it came in race two. Le Roux and Gerard Geldenhuys had a few moments of contact early on, but were unrivalled up front until the second half when Dolinschek came through to take the lead.
Four points seperated le Roux and Geldenhuys going into the Zwartkops finale, with Dolinschek now a title outsider.
Le Roux won the first fight, edging Dolinschek to pole by 0.15s and with Geldenhuys down in fifth place on the grid. Nobody was taking risks, and so le Roux then eased to his sixth win of 2022 ahead of Dolinschek and Geldenhuys.
It was the opposite in the title-deciding race, as le Roux and Dolinschek crashed at the start. Geldenhuys got into the lead ahead of his brother, with le Roux in third while Dolinschek span down the order. Although Geldenhuys then took victory, he couldn’t prevent le Roux from becoming champion as he finished second once Antwan Geldenhuys was penalised for jumping the start. The penalised Geldenhuys also lost third in the standings to Dolinschek.