Another fast circuit,
which probably contributed to a few drivers giving it a miss.
Although some did make a valiant effort, such as Andy Wickens who
nearly got his new Sapphire ready and Russell Bradley, who almost
fixed his VW Golf from its fiery incident at Brands. In the end 26
cars made the qualifying session, and this time we were not the
first onto the circuit.
Instead we were
session three, and almost immediately it started we were back in the
pits checking wheel nuts and a rising temperature gauge. With this
in mind Rod settled for one quick lap, then see what was going on.
However, MST had a problem, or rather no times were appearing on the
timing screens. The net result was that no one really knew how they
had done. In fact it took them over two hours to issue a grid sheet.
Surprise, surprise we were not on pole, that honour went to Kris
Waite, who finally got his new mount running properly. Kris was
delighted with his effort, which was 0.287 seconds better than ours.
Lining up third would
be Nick Williamson. More tweaks to his Escort means that he is
closing on that front row slot, his time being 0.7 seconds behind
Rod. Next to Nick was his familiar adversary David Oates. David
collected the Quaife “best prepared car” award this week, so his
team were very pleased. On row three we saw the leading class C
runner, namely Richard Gane, followed by Peter Taylor and his smart
Sierra Cosworth. The two turbo cars of Ray Barrow and Graham Bahr
occupied row four, followed by the two leading class E protagonists,
namely Jason Watkins and Richard Brent. The rest of the varied grid
is as per the results page, but it was good to see Mark Hosken and
David Smart returning to the championship.
After a heavy shower,
the rapidly drying track made us all choose dry weather tyres. The
exception being poor Ashley Hargreaves who was busily trying to
rebuild his engine in the paddock. He had managed to find some new
bearings, but time was not on his side. So the rest of us set off on
the rolling start. The lights were held red until everyone was on
the Senna straight, but Kris timed it well and just held the lead
into Riches Corner. Rod slotted into second with Nick hanging on in
third. David Oates was maintaining fourth but clearly lacking the
speed of the turbo brigade up front. Meanwhile Richard Gane was soon
mugged by three other turbo cars, namely Taylor, Barrow and Bahr,
but Richard still led his class.
By the third lap Rod
was sizing up a place to pass Kris, mainly because the Sapphire was
emitting some fluid onto our Escort’s windscreen. Coming through
Russell chicane our driver closed right up and got a good tow past
the pits. At the last minute he darted out of the slipstream and
outbraked Kris into Riches. Kris tried to retaliate as the two came
back into sight, braking very late at Russell. Rod held on, having
just set the fastest lap, which was over a second quicker than our
Another close battle
had developed further back, for the lead of class E. Jason was
slowly edging away from Richard, who had the class C Peugeot of Kerr
Robertson closing in and bringing Andy Mitchell and Les Beer with
him. Back in 15th, David Smart headed a four car group,
which included Greg Pye, Graham Richardson and the VW Vento of Ray
Adams, whilst Gary Cole was fending off Mark Hoskin and Andy Pipe.
In fact Gary’s antics earnt him the Quaife “driver of the race”
At the end of lap
five Rod crossed the line without the yellow Sapphire shadowing him.
The entire pit lane looked towards Coram, and suddenly it became
obvious that Kris had gone off. The red flags were then shown and
everyone looked concerned.
Eventually Rod reappeared and explained
that Kris had indeed crashed quite heavily, but that he was OK and
standing on the bank. We were all relieved, but the car certainly
looked a mess on the flat bed truck. Curiously a marshal had noticed
something smouldering under our car when Rod stopped to see if Kris
was OK. It later transpired that a wheel locating stud had come
loose and started to wear away at the rear suspension beam.
With less than an
hour before we would be called for our second race, Stewart set
about re-building the right rear corner. With the brake disc still
very hot his language was quite colourful. Undeterred he completed
the job and we took up pole position for the longer race. Again the
lights stayed red until the last second, but Rod out gunned Nick and
soon edged out a small advantage. On lap three he popped in a quick
lap, just 0.3 seconds shy of our previous fastest lap. This
translated into a 4.5 second gap, and although Nick tried very hard
(perhaps too hard a couple times) he could not close up. Little did
we, in the pit lane, know that the engine temperature in our car was
A battle for third
place commenced when Ray Barrow got past Peter Taylor and latched
onto David Oates. Brute power down the Revitt straight told, and Ray
appeared in third. Not to be outdone, David held onto the slipstream
and nipped back past just before the end of the 12 laps. Gane and
Taylor had a slight incident at Russell, where somehow Richard Brent
slipped through and lost his “playmate” Watkins. The end result was
fifth overall for Brent, sixth for Gane, seventh for Watkins and
Taylor eighth. Andy Mitchell finished a competitive ninth, whilst
the next two had a race long battle. Eventually the Audi TT of Mark
Hoskin just beat the Focus V8 of John Cross, this feat earned Mark
the second “driver of the race” award.
With Graham Bahr
pulling off due to an oil line spillage, which may have accounted
for Les Beer’s untimely exit, the class B laurels went to a
delighted David Smart, who had a good race with Anthony Ahmed.
Behind Richardson and Adams, Andy Pipe got revenge on Gary Cole,
whilst Greg Pye had the measure of Alex Ribbens. Alan Cherry kept
all his wheels on this time, and Dave Coleman had a steady run to
complete the finishers. Special mention must go to Ashley who
finally got his Peugeot engine “re-build” finished just as the race
started. To general applause he gamely joined in, but found that
there was still something amiss, so decided to pull off after a
couple of laps.
So it was another two
wins for our black car, although Rod was concerned about the high
water temperature and the damage that the wheel stud had done. To
cap it all a brake calliper seal burst just as we loaded up, what a
day. We did manage to avoid the big hold up on the M11 thanks to a
phone call from Andy Ratcliffe who was stuck in it.
With the next round a
month away it looks like we will be very busy. The Lydden meeting
will see the Dunlop T&R races being held on the Sunday of this
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