|2007 Race dates and results|
Club & Series
|Car||Result o/a||Class result||Weather|
|1||2nd June||Anglesey||CSCC Swinging Sixties||Stacky's Gulf Spitfire||5th||2nd||Cool dry|
|2||3rd June||Anglesey||CSCC Swinging Sixties||Stacky's Gulf Spitfire||6th||2nd||Cool dry|
|3||21st July||Snetterton||CSCC Swinging Sixties||Dave T's GT6||1st||Warm dry|
|4||11th August||Oulton Park||CSCC Swinging Sixties||Dave T's GT6||11th||2nd||Warm dry|
|5||18th August||Nürburgring Nordschleife||FISC Legendary Circuits||GT6||1st||1st||Warm dry|
|6||25th August||Silverstone International||CSCC Swinging Sixties||1st half in Dave's GT6, 2nd half in Stacky's Gulf Spitfire||9th||1st / dnf||Hot dry|
|7||28th/29th September||Monza GP||FISC Legendary Circuits||GT6||2nd||1st||Warm dry|
|8||27th October||Silverstone||750MC Birkett 6 hour relay||GT6||Cold dry|
Another joyous event with about 50 teams taking place this year; as ever we have only one key aim and that's to beat the Spitfire Squadron which we did quite comfortably both on the track and on handicap! It's a truly excellent race meeting to come to watch (or take part) and If you have never been I strongly suggest you do come in 2008 as everyone is always welcome in the Triumph Sports Six Pack garage.
The team this year consisted of Dave Thompson (GT6), Nigel Gibbins (Spitfire), Kevan Hadfield (TR4), Andy Vowell (Spitfire), Martin Stackpoole (Spitfire) and me in my GT6. Steve Adams' Spitfire was on its way to Daytona for the CSCC meeting so could not be with us hence the TR4 appearance!
Copse on 2nd stint Photo Kevin Rochford
In the mix with the most eclectic grid you'll ever see Photo Kevin Rochford
Here is Nigel Gibbins' race report that was published in the TSSC magazine, the courier:
Regular readers will remember that at the end of each season’s racing we like to let our hair down and put our cars through the rigours of a 6-hour relay race. With the help of our families and friends we put together as many triumph teams as we can in order to have a great day.
2007 and was not an exception except in that we managed to put three teams on the grid and 17 triumphs to boot! More cars in fact than we managed to collect for any single race during the 2007 championship – such is the draw of this race.
The Wonder Wedges – as team of TR7V8s… the fastest circuit racing triumphs.
The Sports Six Pack – representing the cross section of TSSC cars with a TR4, GT6s and Spitfires.
The Spitfire Squadron – a team of Spitfires the most numerous triumph racing cars on UK circuits.
Each team has its own story to tell of the day and I, being a part of the ‘Six Pack’ team will tell of our story. John Davies, I know, will surely tell of the Squadrons day and hopefully we’ll get a Wonder Wedge story too.
Qualifying for this event is unusual in that practise times do not count for grid slots. Each driver submits their best lap time at the circuit and the handicappers grant a team handicap for them to race with to match them with the scratch team (fastest). At the end of the six hours, if the handicappers are right, we should all be crossing the line at the same time with our handicap laps to be added to the actual laps we’ve completed.
This of course never happens!
The first problem as always, is sandbagging. A spitfire posting a 1:12 sec lap is very quick, but a Caterham claiming a 1:20 sec lap raises an eyebrow of two. I really don’t envy the handicappers job as they have to verify nearly 300 lap times before we start racing.
When the handicaps were out the Wonder Wedges had to complete 13 laps more than the Sports Six who in turn had to complete 16 laps more than the Spitfire Squadron in order to be the first triumph team home.
The race started on time at 11:00am and Kevan Hadfield took the first stint under the instruction of my wife Angela (our team manager). A rolling start of 50 cars was always going to be busy and with four casualties on the first lap (Caterhams and Radicals) he stayed solidly on track. 40 minutes of racing and gradually climbing lap times helped us up the initial running order but Kev signalled he was coming in 20 minutes ahead of schedule. He had begun to feel a vibration through the car and came in for safety reasons. A good job too as it turned out his rear tyre was beginning to delaminate with the tread peeling away from the carcass around half the circumference of the tyre!! A quick wheel change and he was ready for his second stint.
Dave meanwhile was again putting in steady laps and was scheduled to run for an hour and exactly that he did! As he was signalled to come in, I fired up my Spitfire and waited for my signal.
Out I went and with a plan to run for 40 minutes I was surprised to have the engine misfire on lap 3 as I was exiting Copse corner. It just missed once and was fine for the rest of the lap. On the next lap however, it missed twice exiting Becketts and when I came into the complex the engine died completely!! I coasted around the corner and toward the pits when it suddenly came to life again, but as I had no idea what was up I came in to diagnose the problem.
Out went Andy while we fiddled. Nothing came immediately to light but Garage manager supreme (Chris Solom) guessed an ignition problem so we checked all the connections. Nothing specifically came to light but we tightened up a few crimped wires for good measure and closed the bonnet ready for my second stint.
Andy stayed on circuit for a long time but eventually cut his own stint short when gear selection began to get difficult. This turned out to be the gimbal in the gear selection lever disappearing!
Martin Stackpoole was next and after 30 minutes was back in with an empty fuel tank (small tank).
By this time Jon Wolfe was rapidly taking his GT6 around the circuit and catching us up with our handicap. However, he also came in early with vibrations which were traced to chewed diff mounts! There was nothing we could do about that and as it wasn’t critical, the car was lined up for it’s next stint and he would just ignore it !!
Kev’s second stint was without a hitch and took us cleanly into the second part of the race. Followed by Martin, but after a good number of laps, he was coming in down the pit lane unannounced with a huge cloud of oil/steam billowing out behind him signifying a blown head gasket. But seeing as we were well over half way and Stacky had done his bit it was decided not to bother fixing it.
My second stint was after that and the car was running superbly putting in some extremely rapid laps. Unfortunately the engine began to knock after 20 minutes so I headed for the pits again as the oil pressure was dropping. So I pulled into the pits and Jon took to the track once more.
He must’ve enjoyed himself as it took three ‘PIT’ signals to get him back in at the end of his time. Andy went out again for a planned 40 minute stretch which would leave Dave with an easy (for him) 30 minute stint to the flag.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before an exhausted trackside spotter came running into the pits shouting that Andy had gone off!!! Diane (team coordinator) was just getting calls from other spotters with the same info so Dave was sent out to take up the running. 40 minutes to go.
Jon was strapped into his car – just in case – although Dave’s reliability is now a thing of legend you just can’t afford to take chances. As the countdown to 5pm (and the finish of the race) came closer we realised that Dave was catching the Spitfire Squadron’s driver Ian Smythe at such a rate that they may just be crossing the finishing line together as the flag came out. Although neither if them would know it, this created a great excitement on the pit wall. Catching at a rate of 6 seconds a lap, 18 seconds behind and 3 laps (estimated) to go… if Dave could catch Ian in that time we’d be able to put yet another lap on our main rivals.
The last lap came and Dave started it 6 seconds behind and we waited in great anticipation as we watched the flag marshal preparing the chequered flag. Around the final corner came the two triumphs and Dave had done it, he was in front! The flag was waved and the race ended.
There was massive applause for all the drivers as they came back into the pits for the last time and a huge thank you to all the team. From our team manager Angela, all the drivers and more importantly to Noreen and Sheila for making sure we were fed, Chris, Alan, Matt and Neil for fixing the things we broke, Laura and Jo for standing on the pit wall for 6 hours to make sure we knew what we were supposed to do, Diane for coordinating the pit wall and spotters. Thanks to Kevin Rochfort for taking over 2000 pictures throughout the day and burning CDs for everyone before the engines were even cool! And of course to all the supporters who came to watch and spot for us.
We appreciate all your hard work and efforts… I don’t think it would be half as much fun without you. 2008 has been promised to be bigger and better than ever, with the International circuit as the venue and up to 56 teams! Roll on 2008 then?
As of the time of writing this, the official results have not been distributed but The Wonder Wedges had a torrid race with only two cars making the end of the race. This showed in that they were only one lap ahead of us (the Six Pack) on actual laps (scratch) and so 11 laps behind on handicap. We were 19 laps ahead of the Spitfire Squadron by our own calculations which would put us four ahead on handicap. So this year belongs to the Sports Six Pack.
There are a small number of circuits known world-wide and the Autodroma Nationale di Monza has to be one of those. The spiritual home of Ferrari, the disused banking and the historic feel to place all add up.
As soon as the 2007 calendar was announced and I saw it included Monza I knew I simply had to go! This would be my second FISC meeting of 2007 following my win in the series on the Nordschleife in July.
The only down side was the drive down to Monza (just north of Milan) which showed on the sat nav as about 860 miles door-to-door including the 19 mile channel crossing by ferry. I contemplated taking the RV but a quick fuel cost calculation meant we would have to take my alternative tow car; a Fiat Multipla. This turned out to be an excellent decision! Being a bit naive of the ways of European motoring we did not know that France and Italy are toll road zones! The total toll costs for both ways was about 300 Euro; it would have been 3 times that in the RV! Also we were able to manage 10 to 15 mph faster in the Fiat and over that sort of distance that's a big difference. We also averaged 29mpg rather than the 13 which the RV does.
With just Martin and me making the trip we didn't do too many stops other than for fuel and a 6 hour night time stop in an aire each way which with seats laid flat I found surprisingly comfortable. The added complexity of the way out was our last minute change of plan to avoid Switzerland and go south via Lyon which added around 150 miles to our outward journey; we heard (that day) a couple of horrendous tales of travel with a trailer through the bureaucracy that is Switzerland without having all the correct papers and carnets.
We arrived Thursday lunchtime only to then not be let into the paddock until 6pm! The FISC truck had a torrid journey from Holland. They got the Mont Blanc tunnel (more northerly route than us) and were refuse passage through as the vehicle was too old. They then had to detour over the top via Switzerland and had a blow out on the way! They arrived at about 5pm, many hours behind schedule.
The FISC Legendary Circuits series has been running for 14 years under the guidance of Dutchman Peter Bakker and has gone from strength to strength; don't underestimate the difficulties getting a gentleman drivers race on the GP circuit at Monza! The format followed the standard FISC format of 30 minutes timed qualifying followed by three 30 minute races over the weekend.
Practice and the first race was on Friday and I was fairly confident of setting a reasonable lap time compared to the other cars (mostly 1380cc Sprites and Midgets) plus John Davies in Jonathan Binnington's 2.5 litre Spitfire and Hugh Maund in his anomalous TR7V8. This was Hugh's retirement weekend so he was hoping to go out with some silverware!
Practice Once a couple of laps had been completed it was pretty obvious that 350 BHP of TR7V8 was going to be very difficult to beat. Hugh was on pole for the first race by about 3 seconds and I was in second place about 5 seconds ahead of the MG pack.
John Davies did a handful of laps in the Spitfire before the diff cried enough and fell to bits…luckily for them I had taken a spare one and they set to swapping it over; not so easy on a roto-flex car and made worse by them breaking one of the rubber donuts on reassembly.
Race 1 In Friday's race I hung on like heck to Hugh's tail for a few laps but just could not get him. Added to this I had horrendous brake induced shudder from what transpired to be warped discs! Monza is very hard on the brakes with 4 heavy braking points per lap; in one case (prima variante) slowing the GT6 from 125 mph to about 20. I finished second a few seconds behind Hugh but with fastest lap of the race.
Martin and I spent a couple of hours in the paddock trying to reduce the brake disc run out and fitted some new pads; that helped but was still far from perfect. The only real answer being new discs and I did not have any.
Meanwhile in the FISC paddock it was engine and gearbox time and it went on all weekend. I have never seen so many engines in bits and gearboxes on the floor in my racing career! These little cars are pretty highly stressed and seem to be a bit fragile at the upper limits of performance.
Race 2 Saturday's race was more-or-less a re-run of race 1 but Hugh went faster and so did I; he beat me by about 10 seconds I think.
Race 3 Sunday's result was better for me, Hugh blasted off into the distance but pulled up with 2 laps to go leaving me to win the final race of the weekend. On the top step of the Monza podium with the national anthem playing was pretty good to say the least.
Three races and three podium places at Monza in Italy.
Not terribly easy to describe what happened elsewhere in the three races as I didn't see a lot of it and also they are a bit mixed up in my mind as they were quite similar for me. I did not manage to get copies of the results but as soon as I do I'll put them up.
In summary it was a truly excellent weekend despite the huge distance from Bedford to Monza (1000 miles there, 860 back). The GT6 was excellent, never missed a beat and is really quick being only marginally slower than Hugh's V8; I must accept that the independent rear suspension set-up is significantly better than the swing-axle arrangement I had up until this year.
The FISC legendary circuits series is really first class with excellent hospitality for all the days including breakfasts and dinners as well as a bar all included in the entry fee. Next year's calendar is now available and looks outstanding; I am intending at this stage to enter the full year which is as follows:
23-24-25 May 2008 - Spa (B) one qualifying - 30 mins & three races of 30 mins
GP de l'Age d'Or
26-27-28-29 June 2008 - Dijon (F) one qualifying - 30 mins & three races of 30 mins
10th Eifel Mountains Classic
15-16 August 2008 - Nordschleife (GER) (provisional date) free practice - 120 min's one qualifying - 70 mins one 100km race - 50 min's
Zandvoort Historic GP
5-6-7 September 2008 - Zandvoort (NL) (provisional date) one qualifying - 30 mins & three races of 30 mins
Silverstone has become a bit of a regular home from home for me and is becoming my most-raced-at circuit; that's not a bad thing as it's only about an hour away from my house near Bedford. The BRSCC and CSCC had arranged a meeting on the International circuit and the Swinging Sixties race was to be its normal 40 minute pit stop format for one or two drivers. I was slated to start Dave's GT6 then after about 17 minutes come in to take over Stacky's Spitfire. It all seemed fairly straightforward but made more complex by the fact that Stacky was getting out of his and getting into Andy Vowell's Spitfire!
Practice went as planned and we rehearsed the double changeover; no problems.
Come the race however it was not quite so simple. I had qualified Dave's car into 9th place but then proceeded to lose about 10 places off the start line and through the first lap! Significantly I lost the class lead to a Porsche 911 (a 2 litre one) who was our main rival for the day. It took me a few laps but by about 15 minutes into the race I had caught back up to about 8th and was a good 20 seconds ahead of the Porsche. I was now looking out for the 'In' signal from the pits but things were going wrong in there! Stacky had been black flagged for leaking petrol and had come in after a couple of laps only. He spent about 8 minutes in the pit lane sorting out a leaking petrol union before being let back out; I was kept on track during this and there then followed what I understand to be some confusion on the pit wall about how I was being called in. I had come in too early in practice (before actually being called) so had been told to wait until seeing the signal. Anyway at about 25 minutes I saw the correct signal and came in and handed over to Dave. I had to wait just a couple of minutes before Stacky came in I took over that car from him.
The two cars are really different! Getting out of a GT6 and into a Spitfire is a bizarre thing, the GT has loads of power and torque but takes some effort to get it through the corners whereas Stacky's Spitfire is all revs and noise! Lap times are fairly similar however with the GT6 being just a second or so a lap quicker on this particular circuit.
Me mixing it with the CSSC crowd in Dave's GT6 at Silverstone
Anyway, I had a truly excellent race in the Spitfire and was dicing with lots of different cars throughout the race until disaster and the car cut out at the start of the last lap. It coughed and spluttered all the way through copse then cut out completely. I was very disappointed especially as I did not know at this stage about the car's earlier fuel problems and thought we were in a good class position (in fact we were pretty much in last place overall). The car was towed back to the paddock where it started up immediately with no apparent problems! I think it ran out of fuel and what I was getting was fuel surge from the small amount of fuel left in the tank. The car is off to Nurburg next where I hope it does not have the same issue!
So in the end Dave and I won Class C, Stacky and Andy Vowell won Class I and the Class A bit is best forgotten. All jolly good fun though!
This truly is one of the most outstanding race circuits in the world so it's only natural that any race driver would be drawn to it like a magnet!
The FISC Legendary Circuits series goes there once a year as their Eifel Mountains Classic event. I went last year and finished pretty well but was determined to do better this time following the full engine rebuild after the 2006 Birkett engine failure and the addition of an overdrive top gear which I hoped would aid top speed. Other than that I have also changed the car from swing axle to double wishbone rear by copying Josh Bowler's MGF/Rover 100/Volvo design. This gives a very GT6 like setup but without the rubber donuts.
We (Dave Thompson, Stacky and I) travelled over to Germany on the Thursday arriving early evening following a rather worrying brake failure on the RV on the way into Dover! We effected a temporary fix in Calais and were able to get to the circuit safely.
Having left home at 05:00 we were early to bed ready for an easy Friday ending up with a two hour, all-comers test session. As in 2006 we were supporting a German Endurance championship that was running a 4 hour race directly after ours on the Saturday so it was all out for the test session together. John Davies was there in his Vitesse Estate as was Hugh Maund in his TR7V8 (not really in the spirit of the under 2 litre series but seems pretty much welcomed by all). I escaped the lunacy unscathed however Hugh lost his bonnet (as per 2006!) on the long straight and John had a coming together with a Porsche GT3 and was nerfed into a kerb which pitched his car into a roll ending with the Vitesse on its roof and in a pretty sorry state. John was recovered to the paddock while Hugh went off in search of his missing panel!
I did just 2 laps and came in; lucky as it turned out as a number of bolts were working loose on the inboard Lobro joints. This happened before in testing (at Bruntingthorpe) 2 weeks earlier so we decided to strip down the back end, clean it all up and Loctite the bolts back in again. This took a couple of hours but I did not like the idea of them coming loose on race day.
Driveshaft strip and refit following bolts coming loose repeatedly.
Practice The day had a very early start with collecting for practice (training as the Germans seem to call it) at 07:40 but all was well and the weather was bright and sunny if somewhat cool. I did just 2 laps then came in for a spanner check. All was OK so I went out for one more lap.
The 'Ring is a deceiving place. I was sure the car was quicker than 2006 but I was 10 seconds a lap slower! I was down in 5th place on the grid nearly 25 seconds off pole! Not happy. I was reluctant to start messing with the car and decided the best plan was to drive faster in the race!
The race was one of tactics; it's really easy to destroy your race (and the car) in the early stages by trying too hard so I made a conscious decision to keep it cool for a lap and just try to keep in contact with the leaders. Any overtaking would have to be clean and obvious; I was also going to give drivers behind plenty of space so they could get by easily if they needed. I wanted to do well but not go home with a car in the same state as John's.
If you want to see the race in full I suggest you buy a copy of the in-car; it was a good close race with lots of overtaking and number of slides and missed gear changes! You'll certainly get a good feel for what it's like in a GT6 round the 25km Nürburgring!
After 4 laps of close racing action I crossed the line 3 seconds ahead of series organiser, Pieter Bakker in his very pretty (and bloody fast) Monza Sprite with him just beating Brit Richard Evans in his nearly-as-fast MG Midget. I was delighted and had lapped in under 11 minutes (15 seconds quicker than last year so 25 quicker than in practice).
Bakker, Evans and Wolfe approaching Quiddelbacher-Hohe - Photo www.nordschleifenkumpel.de
It's my first win in the GT6 after only 6 races since I completed the car for the 2005 Birkett. It has to be my favourite win ever and even better than the Castle Combe win in 2006 which secured the TR Register Championship!
We ended the day with a group of us going for an excellent meal at the Pistenklause restaurant in Nürburg village; to be recommended if you ever go there.
Thanks to Martin and Dave for being an ace team and to Mrs Wolfe for letting the boys and me go to Germany on our own! The RV was a bit 'fusty' in the mornings…and was not perhaps as tidy as it could have been.
The rest of the year is a bit uncertain; I am going to Monza in September for the FISC series and doing the Birkett at the end of October but other than guest appearances (like 26th August at Silverstone) in other cars that might well be it for 2006.
Nürburg Paddock Photos 2007
On the 11th August Dave and I did the 40 minute Swinging Sixties pit stop at Oulton Park race in his GT6 and came away with 2nd place in Class C after some debate about who was in what class at the award ceremony! It was forecast to be a very bad weather day but it turned out fine and we were lucky enough to be on the programme with the Formula Palmer Audi championship. These are single seater Reynard Chassis with a 1.8 Turbo engine as in the Audi TT and they certainly can shift; I should know as I've actually driven one albeit a down-tuned and traction controlled one at the Bedford Autodrome. A highlight for me was meeting both Jonathan Palmer and Martin Brundle who were supporting their sons in the FPA series. JP actually did our drives' briefing too!
Our race was not so auspiciously begun with only being able to manage 20th on the grid; I was slightly quicker than Dave but the track didn't seem to have a lot of feel and neither of us really felt hooked up. My session was ended with red flags so we were not really able to rehearse our pit changeover but we have done it a few times now. I was not happy with the car's neutrality and I wanted it destabilised a bit (not Dave's liking) so after some quick calculations on the back of a practice results sheet I tweaked in a bit of under steer. In the race the car felt (to me) much better with some real controllable speed through corners and I was about 2 seconds a lap quicker and worked through the field and got us up to 8th; unfortunately the car was not set up to Dave's liking and he struggled to reach his practice pace, nevertheless we finished a very creditable 11th overall. The rest of the race was most eventful with loads of retirements and a number of accidents...a few too many regular accidentees involved for my liking but hopefully the organisers noticed.
Dave and I won the class quite easily in his GT6! As is usual I started the race leaving Dave to take an easy and enjoyable class win.
Steve Adams' Spitfire at Snetterton with its new USA spec high cage ready for the Daytona and Sebring races
We had 2 races in Martin's Gulf Spitfire on the newly rebuilt Anglesey track and we got to compete on 2 of the 3 configurations which was good! Saturday's race was on the 1.2 mile National circuit and Sundays was on the excellent 1.55 mile costal circuit. Martin started the first race and I started the second; both races had rather reduced grids but were nevertheless hard fought and we came away with a pair of 2nd in class results. See www.angleseycircuit.com for more info on this excellent venue.
Me driving Stacky's Gulf Spit past a Mustang in the CSCC Swinging Sixties race at Anglesey in June 2007
It's my new car; the Falcon was one of the first unitary construction (aka monocoque) cars Ford made and it took some persuading the public it was safe. Despite its size it was described by Ford's marketing team as a 'compact' and to be honest, compared to the contemporary Galaxie it was.
Mine is a second generation Falcon; the earlier ones being more conservative and not unlike the early Vauxhall Victor I think. The new design was more rakish and designed for the sporty family man with 2 door (tudor) and 4 door (fordor) body styles available as well as a station wagon and pickup. Many of the 2 door cars were convertibles.
Being a budget car, it was available with a 144, 170 or 200 cubic inch Ford straight 6 but later came a V8 option; initially a 164 BHP 260 then later a 200 BHP 289 cubic inch motor. For racing it's obviously the 289 (4.7 litre) that's the one to have. Incidentally the more famous Mustang was born out of the Falcon. The Mustang was Ford's response to Chevrolet's Corvette which was stealing away all the youth market and the quickest way to market was to use an existing platform - the 2 door Falcon. One could argue that the Falcon is the ultimate 60's racing saloon and ranks among the all time greats of Touring Car racing.
My car in itself is in pretty good shape but with some rust on the rear 'chassis' rails and a badly twisted rear bumper. It will require some fairly significant work to get to MOT standard and it will involve turning the car upside down; that'll be fun. I also need an FiA spec 289 to replace the 260 that's in there now and a Borg Warner 4 speed 'box to replace the ‘three-on-a tree’ 3 speed. All I need now is a massive workshop to do it all in...
o/a & class
|2||May 19th||Oulton Park||MGCC|
|3||June 23rd||Silverstone (International)||MGCC|
|4||June 24th||Silverstone (International)||MGCC|
|5||July 14th||Cadwell Park||MGCC|
|6||September 15th||Castle Combe||MGCC|
|A||October 28th - Birkett 6 hour relay||Silverstone||750 MC|
MGCC = MG Car Club, CSCC = Classic 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.
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