What a scorcher this turned out to be, in more than one sense. Our “weekend” started on Friday with a quick trip to Brands to see if we could run in our rebuilt engine. We managed a grand total of nine laps thanks to a huge number of stoppages mainly caused by Toyota MR2 drivers. Our engine suffered a cracked block at Snetterton, which meant it had to go back to Harvey for refettling. We also had to repair the rear suspension arm, which was damaged when a bolt came loose. So there had been plenty of work to do.
Because of the lack of “running in”, Rod decided to enter the sports/saloon races on Saturday. With several BARC HQ championships present it meant that the practice sessions would be run to the full 15 minutes. Rod stayed out for the full time and achieved the third quickest time behind John Cross (Focus V8) and Bob Rice (Caterham), the rest of the grid being made up of BMWs including John Willcocks in a nice M3. From the start John Cross used his V8 power to good effect to take an early lead whilst Rod nipped past the Caterham. On the second lap John came out of North Bend a little wide and our black Escort was through in a flash. John did retaliate, getting very close at Paddock Bend (see photo on “ten-tenths”) until his gearbox jammed in third. This allowed Bob Rice to take the runner up spot with John having to settle for third from Willcocks.
On the last couple of laps Rod noticed the ignition light had come on, so we set about changing the alternator. This does take a while on our car, so we missed the second race. John Cross broke his diff on the warm up lap and John Willcocks sat it out as well, which left an easy run for the Caterham.
With enthusiastic help from various people such as Bill Richards, Andy Pipe, Andy Woods-Dean we fitted the new part only to find the problem was not cured. Various wires and tests were carried out to no avail so we came home to charge up a couple of batteries. On Sunday Graham (the Guru) Bahr who convinced us that nothing was wrong joined us. Indeed when the engine was started the light went out. Strange, but true. As is now common at Lydden we had too many cars for one grid so A, B and I (saloons) went out first. Fortunately Rod set a good time straight away, as on lap 3 a boost pipe came off. At least this was an easy fix although we couldn’t get out for the rest of the session. The result was that we were second behind David Oates, who achieved his first pole position since joining the DT&R championship.
The second row contained an on form Peter Wilkinson and Nick Williamson followed by birthday boy Bill Richards in his Metro Cosworth. Nigel Craig headed class B, from Graham Bahr, John Willcocks and Steve Weatherley. Tony Gorman brought out a very smart BMW M3 E36 whilst Andy Wickens debuted his class B Ford Sapphire Cosworth. The first six minutes race saw Rod snatch the lead straight away from David at the rolling start. In fact all the four-wheel drive cars “mugged” the white Tigra but all four cars were very close with Bill hanging on as well. In class B Nigel had Graham Bahr snapping at his heels, whilst a little further back a good three way dice had developed between the two M3 variants and Steve Weatherley. David Smart was being chased by Ray Adams, with Peter Reeve making up places after a practice problem.
With Rod edging out a slight gap all eyes focused on the second place battle. The red Mitsubishi looked like it would pass the white Escort but Nick resisted all the pressure. David also looked for a gap but could not match the turbo cars grunt and he also had to worry about a certain blue Metro. At the chequered flag the positions remained the same, although only two seconds covered the runner up scrap. Craig held off Bahr for class B honours, whilst Willcocks got the next place from Weatherley and Gorman. The rest are listed on the results page with Martin Dower taking the invitation class saloons, in his standard Easytrack BMW. Some of these BMWs did seven races over the weekend!!!