Class F entry for 2005
|3||Jon Wolfe||64||Mike Cowing|
|6||Steve Crane||71||Graham Miller|
|7||Martyn Adams||72||Colin Pendle|
|42||Hugh Maund||85||Malcolm Chapman|
1st: Miller 77 (and overall Champion)
2nd: Maund 41
3rd: Martyn Adams 38
4th: Malcolm Chapman 13
5th: Jon Wolfe 11
6th: Steve Crane 10
7th: Mike Cowing 9
no other Class F shows in 2005
o/a & class
|1||April 9th||Silverstone||MGCC||(p & r) Cold dry||1st / 1st||2nd||1st|
|2||May 2nd||Castle Combe||BRSCC||dry / dry||5th / 2nd||dns||dns|
|3||May 15th||Rockingham||MGCC||dry / dry||dns / dns||dns||dns|
|5||June 26th||Mallory Park||BRSCC||dns|
|6||July 2nd||Oulton Park (Full)||MGCC||dns|
|7||July 23rd/24th||Silverstone||MGCC||wet / wet||6th / void||void||void|
|8||August 13th/14th||Pembrey||BARC||dry / dry||8th / dns|
|9||August 28th||Mallory Park||MGCC||dns|
|10||Sept 11th||Cadwell Park||MGCC||dns|
|a||Oct 29th Birkett 6 hour Relay||Silverstone||750MC||dry|
MGCC = MG Car Club, BRSCC = British Racing Sports Car Club, MSCC = Morgan Sports Car Club, BARC = British Automobile Racing Club
Points are awarded as follows:
4 or more starters in class - 1st = 8, 2nd = 6, 3rd = 4, 4th = 2.
3 starters in class - 1st = 6, 2nd = 4, 3rd = 2.
2 starters in class - 1st = 4, 2nd = 2.
1 starter in class - 1st = 2.
Plus 1 point for each of: pole position in class, taking the start and fastest lap in class. The Championship is decided on the best 8 results. The TSSC has a slightly different points system.
|Top 6 grid positions||1. Wolfe (1:08.519), 2. Henderson (1:08.830), 3. Maund (1:09.320), 4. M Adams, 5. Crane, 6. Thomason|
|Overall/class result||2nd / 1st|
|Top 6 result (class)||1. Henderson (E), 2. Wolfe (F), 3. M Adams (F), 4. Knowles (E), 5. Crane (F), 6. Maund (F)|
|Class F result||1. Wolfe (1:07.497), 2. M Adams (1:08.525), 3. Crane (1:08.610) 4. Maund (1:07.563)|
The start of the season always generates a certain excitement and this year (my 17th consecutive year) was no different. On the Tuesday prior to the meeting was the now customary TR/TSSC track day at Mallory Park in Leicestershire; I did not attend but there were some tales to tell:
Steve Crane was back on track again after his massive engine failure right at the start of the 2004 season put him out for the whole year; he has switched engine builders (it's just like F1 this isn't it?) and the thing stayed together which is a bit of a first for him! I know he has had a torrid time for a few years and I hope he does well now.
Colin Pendle (driving the Miller car) pulled up with a wrecked engine - apparently the engine spun a big end bearing and did in the crank and a rod so they were a dns at Silverstone.
Stacky went up to watch and had a few passenger laps in Andy Vowell's TSSC championship winning car which must be quite different from being in the pilot's seat. There were also a few championship contenders at the track day with their cars but not racing at Silverstone which I really can't work out...
It seems to be the Chinese year of the motorhome; Steve Adams (not at round 1) has acquired a Ford V10 engined, 30' RV, Team Hadfield have upgraded to a new, bigger beast and the other Adams family have gone all posh on us too with a very nice Fiat based jobby. Oddly, both Andy Vowell and I were without ours after minor mechanical problems had kept them both off the road.
Practice Very cold and windy but nice and dry as we all rolled out onto the circuit. I had new brake discs and pads as well as new Yokohama A048 tyres so would spend 8 or 9 laps (of the estimated 12 to 13) just scrubbing the tyres in and warming the brakes through then letting them cool. I waited until the end before sticking in a lap or two to secure the class and outright pole.
I was surprised to see Stacky not on Class A pole, new boy Jonny 'KY' Yarnell had slipped one in at the end - I don't think Stacky saw him sneaking up from behind. Dave Thompson in his GT6 was significantly quicker than last year after a winter of engine fettling and suspension rebuilding and was 3rd in Class C behind John Thomason ad Andy Vowell.
Go Baby Blue!
Joe Henderson (see Croft 2004) was 2nd on the grid and there were 3 more V8s behind him; Hugh Maund, Martyn Adams and Steve Crane. Simon Knowles was a practice no-show after his car would not run properly (he subsequently got it sorted and started the race from the back of the grid).
The race Slightly warmer (about 8 degrees C) as we lined up for the start and I had a stonker, getting to Copse about 50 metres ahead of Martyn Adams who was followed through by Joe Henderson. I lead comfortably for about 3 laps but could see Joe's TR6 gaining on me. My car has massive power compared to his but is noticeably slower through the corners (all pre-TR7 TRs have much better handling than the somewhat backward, live-axled TR7 and they have bigger wheels and tyres too). For the next 5 laps or so we swapped the lead about a dozen times - making contact on a number of occasions - when on the last but 2 lap we were braking into the complex and my rear brakes locked and pitched my car into a super-fast 360 degree spin. I caught the engine, snicked it into gear and was away again losing just 4 seconds, but both Joe and Simon Knowles had sneaked through; I really thought one of them was going to hit me. Simon had come all the way from the back to very nearly the front but it all went wrong later that lap when he suffered gear selection problems dropping him to 4th by the finish. I chased Joe very hard and got to within half a second of him by the end.
As we crossed the finish line Joe jinked to the right suddenly and a moment later I realised why; John Andon's TR4 was gently crossing the line at about 30 mph and I damn near piled into the back of him at 110 mph! It was very close and would have been an enormous accident. I also took fastest overall lap of the race on that final tour by just 4 thousandths of a second over Simon Knowles.
Despite being 2nd overall it was a great result as it gives me 11 championship points (8 for a win, 1 for pole, 1 for fastest lap and 1 for taking the start) and puts me in the lead of the TR Championship.
Front left corner smacked in again (see Brands Hatch 2004 and Oulton Park 2004!)
Stacky converted second on the grid to class A win (that's 5 in a row now) but 'KY' took the fastest lap off him. Dave 'Lee Hooker' Thompson came in 3rd in Class C and was delighted with the changes made to the car since the end of the last season. Kevan Hadfield had decided over the winter recess to sell his perfectly good Weber 40s and replace them with what looked like lawnmower carbs and it really did the trick - he was much slower than normal and was able to take in the scenery at a much more leisurely pace. Nice mod Kev and might I suggest lawn rollers in place of tyres too. See Nigel Gibbins' web site for a TSSC view of the race and points breakdown.
Lastly I have finally lost my Class C lap record at Silverstone. It has stood since 1999 - it's amazing that it has taken the TSSC boys 6 years to go as fast as I used to all those years ago!!! (hoho)
|Top 6 grid positions||1. Henderson (1:20.766), 2.Maund (1:21.819), 3.Lucas (1:22.692), 4. Small, 5. Wolfe, 6. Crane|
|Overall/class result||dns / dns|
|Top 6 result (class)||1. Henderson (E), 2. Maund (F), 3. Crane (F), 4. Vowell (C), 5. Thomason (C), 6.Bailey (D)|
|Class F result||1. Maund (1:20.888), 2. Crane (1:21.591), 3. M Adams (1:24.976)|
It had been 3 years since we last visited this circuit and it was great to see it back on the calendar for 2005; I understood that the track had been resurfaced and it looks like it has - trouble is they have just tarmaced over the bumps! This is one the circuits under threat of the NIMBY gits who complain about noise. The owners are already limited to around 8 meetings per year and even that's not looking good - there is a petition being raised to object to the objectors! We could all sign it then ram it down their whinging, gobshite throats.
On a gentler note it's Andy 'ooharr me dear' Vowell's local track and we had decided on a golfing trip to Peter's golf club in Frome on the Sunday before the race. It was really great, no really, I thought it was brilliant, really yes really, it was brilliant; I really loved it. Who invented that feckin' stupid game anyway?! I only had four bats and we only did nine holes and I lost 8 feckin' balls. And all the motorhomes got bogged down in the paddock!
Practice That was shit too, the friggin' engine blew up on lap 4. I still qualified 5th on the grid! Trouble was that as my engine failed I backed off the throttle and caused Paul Lucas to swerve to avoid a collision and he lost control; spinning to the inside then right across the track hitting the tyre wall very hard, breaking the left side front suspension and doing considerable damage to the bodywork and somehow the transmission tunnel (we guess the gearbox mounts broke).
Dave Thompson (Class C) smacked his motor into the tyres and bent the steering rack and Richard King (A) ran all the bearings on his engine. Duly the rack was nicked off King's car to get Thompson back on track for the race - good effort chaps.
Steve Crane and Martyn Adams (Class F V8s) both failed noise checks and had to fit silencer cans! It worked tho.
Apparently Martyn Adams has the biggest one in the paddock...
The race I watched from the pit lane and nearly got killed. On about lap 8, John 'The Hearse' Davies spun onto the start finish straight and was very, very, very nearly 'collected' by Stacky in Baby Blue; it happened right in front of me and would have been a monster accident.
There was a great dice for the lead for 3 laps or so as Steve Small and Hugh Maund had made the biggest jump starts ever! Hugh got a bit confused (well he is 65 after all) and went on the 'red'; oops that doesn't mean 'go' in any game I have ever played. Hence the two of them had about 2 seconds on everyone else! Steve 'I only got half an engine' Small was in the lead (yes I know; it's not a mistype) for the first lap in his 2.0 litre TR7 with Hugh 'head-start' Maund in 2nd place. Alas Steve's glory charge was short lived as a short-lived misfire dropped him 8 places on lap 2.
Joe Henderson went on to snatch the lead from Hugh who finished 2nd with Andy Vowell in 3rd place after he scared erstwhile 3rd placed man John Thomason into a mistake on the last lap. Stacky hung on to 2nd in Class A for most of the race but just could not pass Mark Hadfield. However, on the penultimate lap, Mark gifted the luckiest man in TR/TSSC racing an easier class win by falling off just after Stacky passed him. Stack was jolly pleased and it made up for some of my poor sporting performance that weekend. That's 6 class wins on the bounce (only 8 starts ever) for the A-meister; can anyone out there beat him?
Yet more important staring took place at Castle Combe... in this round
Stacky (nonchalant in white top) appears to be winning.
Pre-race banter as 3 school bullies offer to show the first year
boy a 'good time' behind the bike sheds.
Stacky's secret is to dress at the last minute as Al Jolson.
Lastly, thanks Dad, it was great.
|Top 6 grid positions||1.Miller (), 2. Henderson (), 3. Maund (), 4. , 5. , 6.|
|Overall/class result||dns / dns|
|Top 6 result (class)||1. (), 2. (), 3. (), 4. (), 5. (), 6. ()|
|Class F result||1. (), 2. (), 3. () 4. ()|
With no engine I was a no-show for Rockingham, I was there however but as spanner man for my erstwhile spanner man Stacky! It looked like a pretty poor 16 cars (10 TSSC & 6 TRs) on the entry sheets but that swelled by 2 more on race day with 2 late entries, bringing the number up to a respectable 18.
Practice The session was halted after only a handful of laps after John Davies deposited his Vitesse Estate into the kitty litter - for some reason the clerk deemed it was in a dangerous place (!) and the red flags were out. It took a good 10 minutes to clear the track and at the restart Dave Thompson was left standing in the pit lane after misreading what was going on.
Miller posted a good pole time with Joe Henderson in a distant second. Stacky had a couple of spins just to demonstrate he was definitely trying harder. Richard King was in trouble again with yet another blown 1500 engine - apparently his engine builder has been telling him that there is no need to baffle a 1300/1500 sump - I have never heard such shite! Stacky's car sheared an engine mount so I nicked one off King's car for the race.
The staring reached epic proportions in paddock...
The race A rolling start (as ever at Rockingham) left Miller disappearing into the distance and Stacky trailing near the back after his worst start to date. A few laps in and Miller was 12 seconds clear with Henderson in a comfortable second. Conversely there was a good race for 3rd place which is where the commentator concentrated most of his attention; Hugh Maund did the opposite of his Castle Combe start and just went backwards, down to 8th at one point and John Thomason and Malcolm Chapman both had turns at 3rd. In Class C, Andy Vowell was driving very well and looked good whereas John Thomason was pretty ragged and looked like a man on a crash-quest with tank slappers and locked up tyres in abundance. Thomason won the class but Vowell, who was 2nd, got fastest lap which was about right. The bread van was 3rd and Dave Thompson 4th.
Stacky dropped off and off and I actually thought there was something wrong with the car; there wasn't. However, he slowly started reeling himself back in (taking fastest class A lap and another lap record in he process). John 'KY' Yarnell expired in front of him taking him up to 2nd (Mik Davis was then 3rd) and slowly Mark Hadfield was hoving into sight.
Alas, Steve Small (TR7) then buggered it all up and dumped his car in the same gravel trap that John Davies had visited in practice and it was all over. Red and chequered flags displayed all round and a result declared at 9 minutes. What a load of rubbish.
It was a bit of a let down for a few reasons.
Red flags ended the race early (it was a 20 minute race) and I believe the Clerk of the Course made a mistake red flagging it; we drivers do know when cars are in the gravel you know - waved yellow flags would have done the job.
The smallest number of spectators I have ever seen at Rockingham (about 200). The MGCC gets none of the gate money so what's the incentive to advertise? None. Totally unimaginative management of the circuit; no wonder it's going bankrupt.
Very small grids; people just don't like racing there. The infield bit is rubbish and the chance of a big smash on turns 1 and 4 is high. Add to that red flagging the race at the merest hint of an accident and then not doing a restart makes it very bad value for money.
Quite a few TR drivers have already voted with their feet and I can see a few more doing that if the the circuit is still running next year.
So that ended Stacky's winning streak of 6 class wins in a row; not bad for a new boy! He's not doing Snetterton whereas I am hoping the V8 will be out on track again. Also doing the 2 driver pitstop race in Dave T's GT6.
And the photos...
In an unsuccessful attempt to beat Stacky, KY dressed as "Al Jolson auditioning for the Village People"
Wagons roll at the the Rock, the crowd in awe at the spectacle...look there he is in the pit lane.
Did not race. Graham Miller won outright.
Did not race. Joe Henderson won outright.
Did not race. Joe Henderson won outright.
|Top 6 grid positions||1. (), 2. (), 3. (), 4. , 5. , 6.|
|Overall/class result||Void race|
|Top 6 result (class)||Void race|
|Class F result||Void race|
The rain came down and the rain came down some more. After two fine days leading up to Sunday, race day was as wet as any I can remember. Plenty of cars got bent and there were more red flags (race stops) than you could count.
We were using the International circuit at Silverstone, it’s kind of half the Grand Prix one and is not one that many of us had ever used so the novice driver briefings were unusually well attended. Normally we use the shorter Club configuration but we had been honoured with the much better one often used for Touring Cars and the like.
The team cars I had my repaired and ready-to-go TR7V8 with its freshly rebuilt engine (by Competition Engine Services), Stack was in his newly acquired Gulf liveried MkIV Spitfire, and Dave Thompson was raring to go in his lovely GT6. Steve Adams was working in West London on test day morning but was hoping to make the dash to the circuit for the afternoon session. He did; it’s amazing how quick a Ferrari 355 can get from London to Silverstone!
Friday free test day There was a 20 minute, un-timed TR/TSSC test session mid afternoon followed by a longer one for the two-driver race. Following that was an optional pay-session which Dave had booked for us in the GT6.
During the TR/TSSC session an oil hose came away from the dry sump pump on my V8 and sprayed 5 litres of hot oil all over the engine bay resulting in a spin and an 80 metre line of oil down the circuit. Red flags. Sorry everyone! My car was recovered back to the paddock on a flat-back truck equipped with a crane, a very neat operation.
In the later sessions I managed a couple of laps in Stacky’s new charger and found it not set up to my liking – too twitchy and the engine was really not behaving correctly; nothing below 6000 rpm but then clear to 8500. When Stack came in for a pit stop it was belching black smoke and misfiring badly and the only way to clear it was gunning the engine.
Stacky's new baby ready for the 'Stone!
I subsequently did about 6 or 7 laps in the GT6 and found it to be much improved over its 2004 spec. It now has rod-end jointed suspension all round and more power. It’s a really nice car to drive and has good balance for a car with such a heavy engine; I really like it.
Saturday Nothing slated for that day so a lazy one of looking around the paddock the display cars and the autojumble. The meeting was a huge MG clubs meeting and there were thousands and thousands of people there all proudly displaying their MGs (apparently an MG is a bit like a Triumph but not quite so good). I particularly liked the fine display of old Montegos and my personal favourite, the rubber bumper, emission controlled MGB.
On the Friday night, Jonnie ‘KY’ Yarnell’s Spitfire racer was used as an empty beer can and bottle repository after he had decided to go home leaving us to ‘look after’ his car until Sunday. It must have had over 100 empty cans and bottles in it, but pangs of guilt on Saturday meant them all being removed again. A team of intrepid Triumph racers then took pity on KY’s rather tired (aka shabby) looking car and gave it the full make-over treatment. John’s face on Sunday morning was a picture when he saw it! Unfortunately his face was a picture again later when he smashed the car into the pit wall during the race; we can try but I doubt we can T-Cut that out!
Sunday A pleasant early morning followed by torrential rain. We went out to practise for the TR/TSSC race in torrent and my car completely fogged up very quickly necessitating a quick pit stop to have Chris Sollom attempt to de-mist the screen; it was as bad as I have ever known and there were cars spinning everywhere. I could not see a darn thing and at one stage I nearly came in as visibility was near zero; in hindsight I should have.
On the last lap I slid through Luffield and was tagged by a Morgan +8; it was a double impact as my car spun and was hit across the front very hard. I slid off onto the grass about 50 metres prior to the chequered flag. Bugger. The car looked awful and I couldn’t get out; I had to climb out through the passenger door being careful not to set off the fire system on the way. This was not what I needed and I waited there in the rain for the recovery truck again! It was the same truck that had collected me on Friday so I knew the score and was able to hitch up the lifting straps very speedily!
At Silverstone, any recovery following an accident means a compulsory visit to the medical centre; I was there for about 40 minutes which meant that I missed the practice session for the 2 driver, pit stop race so lucky I had already had a few laps in the GT6 on Friday… Another visitor to the medics was Simon Bailey who crashed heavily just after the chequered flag had come out (oops). He smacked his orange TR7 at high speed into both sides of the pit straight which is no mean feat in itself, his neck was sore and the car’s pretty bent although it should be possible to pull it straight on a jig (the car that is not Simon’s neck).
The weather was truly awful and several drivers were considering calling it a day and indeed a couple of them did, loading up on trailers before the race.
Although I had crashed I was 6th fastest Triumph and lined up alongside Stacky (he was quicker than me) and behind Andy Vowell on pole and Graham Miller 2nd. The trouble was that my car was mashed. Initial inspection looked bad but after some encouragement we got working on it and got it fixed; we all got bloody wet too. The bodywork was taped and pop-riveted back together using bits of alloy plate as stitches and the bent steering arm was straightened by judicious use of an oxy-acetylene flame and a big ‘ammer! The wheel was swapped too as the puncture had been caused by the valve being sheared off the rim. Thanks to race regulars Chris and Jo Sollom and to Graham and Amanda Hale (who just came to watch!) for getting involved in the repairs.
2 driver practice I didn’t see it but Dave did a good job getting the car on the 7th row of a 40 car field.
The TR/TSSC race The rain stopped about 30 minutes before the race and the track was drying out, however we all knew it would be terribly slippery. Apparently when I pulled onto the grid the commentator was stunned as he had already announced that I was out of action and would not be racing. He was delighted; thanks for all your kind words Andrew.
On a less wet track I had a good start and was up to 3rd behind Miller and Maund in their V8s by Copse (that’s turn 1). We all circulated for 1 lap and then I spun at Copse second time through dropping me to about 8th. It would have been worse but Paul Lucas span off too and we collectively sent everyone scattering. On lap 3 I had made up a couple of places but the red flags came out after John Yarnell and Barry Blakeley (both Class A Spitfires) independently crashed on the start/finish straight. The race was not restarted and was subsequently voided which means no points for anyone.
Barry's from the good side, John's from the bad side!
The 2 driver race I was first driver so after the TR/TSSC debacle I returned to the paddock and jumped into Dave’s GT6 and drove round to the collecting area. I was lined up right alongside Andy Vowell who was partnering ex-Spitfire man Russell Munns.
I had a terrible start and was baulked by a Metro. Luckily we all had another go as the race was red flagged (story of the day) and we all lined up again. Second time I was more aggressive and went down the outside of the Metro with everything crossed…I made it OK and came out of Copse much nearer to the front of the race. It was a 21 lap race reduced to 15 because of the rain so I figured I would do about 7 then come in. It was extremely slippery and I was driving the car very circumspectly and was not surprised to be called in by the pit crew (Chris) on lap 4. As I came in (at end of Lap 5) the chequered flag was out! The race had been shortened to 5 laps without anyone telling the drivers!
So in summary from 14th on the grid we came second in class and 5th overall out of 40! I didn’t qualify the car so probably shouldn’t have been there and Dave didn’t get a drive although technically I did pit and crossed the finish line in the pit lane! Nice trophies though.
In my opinion it was borderline whether the racing should have gone ahead. I have been at less wet Silverstone races when the organisers have called a halt. The problem is that it’s a very flat circuit and the rain does not run off very quickly; anyone who knows Silverstone will know that Woodcote (just before the start-finish straight) looks like a shallow curve on the map but when you are out there it’s quite a curve and is very dangerous in the wet. All 3 big Triumph smashes took place there or right afterwards on the standing water on the straight. Simon Bailey’s TR7 is very bent as are Barry Blakeley’s and John Yarnell’s Spitfires. Unfortunately this was Barry’s first race after a big shunt last year at Pembrey which resulted in a lengthy and expensive rebuild.
Lastly, thanks again to everyone who came to watch and especially those who pitched in to help either mechanically or by making the tea, it all helps and is part of the big team effort.
Click here for the poster for the Silverstone International meeting
Our weekend was accurately timetabled on the front page as follows:
Thursday evening: Most of us arrive and set up a pikey-style
encampment in the outer paddock - almost immediate commencement of talking crap
and exaggerating things. Excitement mounts.
Friday morning: Preparing the cars and more talking rubbish. Some car polishing for those that sneakily did all their prep before arriving!
Friday afternoon: Money-where-mouth-is time; free (untimed) practice for the TR/TSSC race and the two-driver, pitstop race. Excuse planning begins while still on-track.
Friday evening: A light meal of burgers, sausages, chicken wings and sherry and those who have to work for living turn up. More talking rubbish and even more exaggeration. Special section on presentation of excuses and "why I'll be quicker on Sunday".
Saturday morning: Finally stop talking and get to bed.
Saturday (later): Recover from Friday and mend all the broken cars. Someone will drive a very long way to get an essential part which has broken; on their return someone else will say they already had a spare if only they had been asked.
Saturday evening: an early night ready for the big day (yeah right!).
Sunday morning: Wishing we'd got to bed earlier - not much chat going on. Some getting annoyed at the *way* someone said something and accusations about who borrowed which tools and put them back in the wrong place. The bullshit has mostly stopped by this point. There will also be an unnecessarily lengthy discussion about how much fuel to put in and what tyre pressures to use.
Sunday afternoon: A gentle cruise to one's own victory lane/scrap heap (delete as appropriate).
Sunday evening: Begin all sentences with "If only..."
Monday: Will be really crap.
|Top 6 grid positions||1. (), 2. (), 3. (), 4. , 5. , 6.|
|Overall/class result||dns / dns|
|Top 6 result (class)||Miller (F) Thomason (C)|
|Class F result||Miller|
Apparently the Welsh move Pembrey further away every year or so it appears. The M4 just seems to go on forever especially when we get on at Junction 5 knowing that Junction 48 is the exit required; and even then it's another 20 minutes drive.
John Yarnell did a fine job of replacing the chassis and bonnet on his Spitfire, well done to him and the early indication that there would only be 9 cars was soon dispelled as about 17 Triumphs turned out. Interestingly, all the TRs were TR7s. Where have all the others gone? It's slowly turning into the TR7/TSSC championship!
Who needs technology when you've got a broom?
Practice I was very eager to get out there following the long period without racing and the disappointing weather at Silverstone, however things were just not to be. After 4 laps a film of oil began developing over the windscreen and visibility became near zero by the end of lap 6. I didn't know it then but my day was over already. The engine was over-breathing and there was far too much oil in the engine (it should be in the tank in the boot) also the oil pressure was way too low. Nothing for it but to shove the car back on the trailer and withdraw from the race.
It was during my brief practice spell that I understand Jo managed to fall off the roof of the RV. It's about 11 feet from up there and she was very lucky to land on the grass and be largely unhurt.
The Race I did not take the start so watched from the roof of the motor home. To be honest I really only concentrated on Dave Thompson's progress so did not see any of the rest of the race. Suffice to say there though that Graham Miller romped away to another easy win with John Thomason in 2nd. Andy Vowell was in a comfortable 3rd place until the rotor arm in the distributor disintegrated forcing a retirement with just 1 tour remaining.
Steve Adams did his normal trick and managed about a quarter of lap before retiring with a total electrical failure (probably the battery master switch) and it wasn't long before Nigel Gibbins' car was trailing while smoke.
Dave by contrast has a really good race, up to a point. He was 6th in class C at the early stages but managed to get past Clive Gimson's injected GT6 and Ralph Jane's bike-carbed Spitfire. He then slowly reeled in Kevan 'breadvan' Hadfield and overtook him on the start-finish straight with about 3 laps to go. Unfortunately when Dave and Kev arrived at the hairpin they had a minor coming together resulting in Dave being pushed off the track from behind. It took a few seconds to recover and he lost about 4 places and was duly back in class 6th again. Andy Vowell's retirement elevated him to 5th but if it hadn't been for the contact he'd have been 2nd overall in the TSSC race which would have been well deserved.
There has been some harsh criticism recently of the race championship (notably by folk who have nothing to do with it and don't even race!) Please note there were no crashes or other incidents in the Triumph race whereas the Legends and WRDA had several lengthy race stops following huge smashes. Every race series has its share of accident damage and mechanical breakdowns and I assure you the TR/TSSC championship is about average; even the vaunted HSCC had a five car pile up the weekend before the Pembrey meeting.
Addendum Once home and unloaded there was a phone call from one Dave Thompson - a wheel had come off his trailer on the M25 and the RAC would only recover him to Junction 17. Stack was round at my place so we hitched my trailer up to the trusty Mondeo and went to collect him. We brought the GT6 back on my trailer and Dave did that 'three wheels on my wagon' thing all the way back without any further distress. It did mean however that it took Dave from 2pm to 11pm to get home! We subsequently discovered that Steve Adams had picked up a puncture on his RV nicely rounding off his day too.
And finally, it looks like that's about it for 2005. After much discussion I have decided not to continue with the championship season; it's just been too bad to think about. Not one clear race. Even Silverstone 1 resulted in damage to the car because of Joe Henderson's aggressive driving style and Silverstone 2 was only good because I was in someone else's car! I still have the Birkett to think about but that involves finishing off the GT6.
|Top 6 grid positions||1. (), 2. (), 3. (), 4. , 5. , 6.|
|Top 6 result (class)|
|Class F result|
The annual Birkett relay race draws together the most eclectic group of race cars you are ever likely to see, from more-or-less standard Austin 7s to Radical SR8s all out on the track at the same time. Each team must consist of between 4 and 6 cars (preferably of similar type) and a handicap is awarded to the team based on individuals lap times at Silverstone (or other circuits).
This means there are essentially 2 races; a scratch one and a handicap one. Obviously we had no chance of a decent scratch position as the entry was full of Caterhams, Mallocks and the like but a reasonable handicap result is always a possibility.
More importantly (to us) there were two TSSC teams and that was really all we cared about!
|Sports Six Pack (with Multimaster):||Steve Adams||Spitfire MkIV, 1300cc|
|Manager: Angela Francis||Martin Stackpoole||Spitfire MkIV, 1300cc|
|Andy Vowell||Spitfire MkIII, 1300cc|
|Nigel Gibbins||Spitfire MkIV, 1300cc|
|Dave Thompson||GT6 MkII, 2000cc|
|Jon Wolfe||GT6 MkII, 2000cc|
|Spitfire Squadron||Mark Hadfield||Spitfire MkIV, 1300cc|
|Manager: Diane Hadfield||Kevan Hadfield||Herald, 1500cc|
|John Thomason||Spitfire MkIII, 1300cc|
|John Yarnell||Spitfire MkIV, 1300cc|
|Richard King||Spitfire MkIV, 1500cc|
|Paul Lucas||Spitfire MkII, 1300cc|
Because of my GT6 being newly built and completely untested I decided to spend the Friday before the race testing at the circuit; I aimed to do 30 or so laps just to get used to the car and to make sure nothing was going to fall off during the race! I persuaded Dave Thompson to come up too to help out too and it was pretty cold and wet when we arrived at the circuit at 8:30.
The 6 cylinder engine in my GT6. Note triple 40 Dell'Ortos and Phoenix exhaust.
The first session was at about 10:30 which gave us a couple of hours to spanner check the car and do some final prep for the day; I had set up the car more-or-less by eye (which I am not bad at doing) and I wanted to make sure it was all secure and that all the suspension lock nuts were nipped up.
Those first laps were wet and slippery but pretty uneventful except for an un-nerving tendency for the back of the car to step out going through the very fast Copse (turn 1). Back in the paddock the problem was obvious; the nearside shock absorber had failed. To keep the cost of the build down I had used quite a lot of second-hand stuff and had acquired a pair of Gaz rear shocks for it and the valves had failed completely on the left rear. Dave then kindly volunteered to shoot off to AVO in Northampton to obtain some replacements while I stripped the back of the car down to take them. He was gone about an hour and when he returned had a pair of shiny new ones with a set of poly bushes too. The guy at AVO had also made us some steel bushes to the exact length required and all at no extra charge; a really excellent service.
On the next session the difference was immediately noticeable and the Gaz units went in the bin! I did a another dozen or so laps and decided to call it a day having managed a 1:16 lap which I was happy with. On my return to the paddock it was evident that a common six cylinder engine problem was occurring and that is oil weeping from the left side of the engine from between the block and head; I am sure it is caused by the engine twisting slightly under load and causing the sealing face to fret between the two leading to an imperfect gasket seal. Two hours later and the head gasket had been changed! This time with a smear of RTV down the edge of the gasket. Not so easy to do as a 4 cylinder engine which can be done in about 40 minutes.
By this time (around 16:30) all the other entrants were turning up and I think all the Sports Six Pack had arrived too so we set up camp in our allocated garage, 7A. It's actually a good one as it's at the end of a block so you have a bit more space outside. I put my RV right outside the back door as Noreen was doing the catering for all 25 of us for the weekend; we then had Andy's motorhome/mobile workshop right behind that. We then had a jolly evening using the garage as a beer tent and all got away to bed around midnight.
Saturday morning and practice. Final tinker time and about 5 laps of practice each which went OK. It's very odd practising for the Birkett as the grid has already been assigned by the handicapper so everyone (mostly) circulates pretty slowly really. I think my fastest lap was about 1:30 but it was rather damp too. Breakfast of porridge and all that greasy stuff went down well!
The race. At 11:00, I was out first and due to my not reading the final instructions (oops) I was rather surprised to find it was a standing start. Every other Birkett I have done has had a rolling start so as we came off the green flag lap I was expecting to be closing up for the lights and was accelerating but then ended up stopping! Hey ho!
I think there were 42 cars on the grid (as big as any UK race I have been in) and it was a good dash down to Copse. Paul Lucas had started alongside me but was away in about 2 laps (about 3 secs a lap quicker) and after about 5 laps we began being lapped by the faster cars. I was loaded up with about 50 litres of fuel for a 1 hour stint but as luck would have it I didn't need it. After about 15 minutes the final drive let go and started making an horrendous noise. I pulled into the pits with a near red-hot diff casing! It took about 30 minutes for it to cool down enough to touch and then another hour to swap it to Andy Vowell's spare unit.
Meanwhile the other boys were doing there thing out on the track. Andy Vowell went out and overheated (he had made some bonnet and cooling changes which didn't work and had to alter the oil cooler mounting position) and Stacky blew a head gasket. Dave T did a superb 1 hour faultless stint and Steve and Nigel did 30 minute ones. We were back on track although behind the Spitfire Squadron who had sent out all their quick cars first. I went out for my second stint at around the 4 hour mark and after 20 minutes a big end bearing failed so it was game-over for me. On my return to the pits Dave was frantically changing his gearbox; it had broken on the last lap of his 1 hour session! We set-to and swapped it over although in the end it was not needed as the other guys kept it all together (ish). Stacky swapped his head gasket then blew it again in his second outing and Nigel had a big coming together with an Austin 7 which the other driver was none too pleased about and Nig had a nice chat with the Clerk of the Course about it.
Inexplicably Steve's car ran OK all day and we were all overjoyed to see him take the chequered flag after a good day for him. We were doubly happy when we found out that we had overtaken the Spitfire Squadron and beaten them by 2 laps.
There's always time for tea!
Multimaster for sponsoring the team
Noreen (Mrs W) for all the catering and keeping the team and supporters supplied with food for nearly 2 days.
Dave for going to Northampton to get some rear shox and AVO for being open and doing a sterling job for us
Ang and the Ang-angels for managing the team and lap timing
Chris Sollom for being non-stop team mechanic
Alan - a bloke who just helped us a lot
All the people that came to support us
8th March 2005 Not long to go now. I have just refitted the headlights to the TR7V8 (required under the rules) and have been sorting out my tyre situation for both the TR7V8 and for the GT6. I now have a huge pile a very worn, part worn and near new tyres in the garden; all the rims need a good clean up before refitting the best of the tyres for the start of the season. I have also ordered some Summers Brothers steel drive shafts for the GT6 in the hope of keeping the wheels on – I’ll let you know how I get on fitting them. You never know there may even be some pics of the GT6 up soon.
Stacky’s Baby Blue is nearly ready with just a four wheel alignment needed after its winter suspension rebuild. Class A is looking pretty good with 8 registrants at close of entries and a reasonable hope that a few will be out to play with/behind Martin.
In other news, Steve Adams has bought a yank motorhome (oh dear more partying in the ever increasing TR/TSSC paddock space) although he’s missing round 1 due to work commitments in the USA.
March 1st 2005 The GT6 is coming on - not as quickly as I would like but I hope to have it ready for the 6 hour Birkett relay at Silverstone in October. The TR7V8 is ready for the 2005 season, the engine is now back on song and with a new set of brake pads and discs should be able to stop again too.
Books. The book rewrite is nearly complete - for those that have pre-ordered, thanks, your books will be with you soon. The revised title is 'A Guide to racing your Triumph Spitfire or GT6' and it's full of additional information and has expanded to nearly 100 pages.
Products. There will be a number of new niche racing products coming out next year to follow on from the ones already available. Keep an eye on the web pages.
Clothes. Wolfitt Racing polo shirts and other items are on the way. These will be high quality embroidered and should be available soon.
Oh yes and the kids were in 'Little Britain'...see Howard being puked on in the Scouts/Sick/WI bit on the Red Nose Day DVD!
On set with Matt 'The only gay in the village' Lucas
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