2010 Race dates (revised), reports & results

Bold means the day that Dave and I raced, CSCC Swinging Sixties and Classic K series races are always on the same day


2010 Race dates and results
# Date Venue

Club & Series

Car Result o/a  Class result Weather
A 25th March Snetterton CSCC Test Day GT6 &
TVR Grantura
n/a n/a Very wet
1 10 11 April Snetterton CSCC Swinging Sixties and CSCC Classic K GT6 &
TVR Grantura
GT6 - 2nd
TVR - 19th
GT6 - 2nd
TVR - 5th
Warm and dry
2 8 9 May Brands Hatch Indy CSCC Swinging Sixties and CSCC Classic K GT6 &
TVR Grantura
GT6 - 1st
TVR - 13th
GT6 - 1st
TVR - 2nd
Cold and wet
3 22 23 May Anglesey coastal CSCC Classic K TVR Grantura  3rd 3rd Very hot
4 18 19 20 June Nürburgring Nordschleife CSCC/ADAC GT6 128th 5th Cool & wet
5 3 4 July Spa Francorchamps CSCC/Roadbook TVR Grantura SS 9th
CK (JW) 10th
CK (DT) 16th
SS 3rd
Very hot
6 23-25 July Silverstone GP The Silverstone Classic HSCC & Masters Ford Falcon & TVR Grantura Falcon accepted DNF, DNF Hot & dry
D1 8 August Silverstone National Bentley Drivers Club TVR Grantura     Cold & dry
7 3,4,5 September


Masters Series
2 hour Gentlemen Driver
TVR Grantura 17th   Cool & dry
8 18 19 September Brands Hatch GP CSCC Interseries GT6 DNF DNF Cool & dry
9 24 - 26 Sept  Spa Francorchamps Masters Series
2 hour Gentlemen Drivers
TVR Grantura   DNF Very wet
10 16 17 October Snetterton CSCC Classic K  TVR Grantura 3rd
Wet practice dry,cool races
11 6 November Silverstone National HSCC Walter Hayes Trophy Ford Falcon 16th 6th Cold & Dry

Chin chin!   Jon, Perry McCarthy (the 'black' Stig) and Dave at the 2010 CSCC annual dinner
(collecting trophy for 3rd in class for Classic K)



Dave Thompson aboard the 1963 TVR Grantura - Bedford Autodrome, April 2010

Snetterton 10th April 2010  -   Classic K and Swinging Sixties

First race meeting of the year and we had entered two races; nothing like being rushed off your feet at the inaugural event of a new series. Dave’s TVR Grantura took about 18 months (and a shed load of money) to transform from boxes of bits into a superbly prepared Appendix K race car with pretty much the best spec we could put together. It’s a 1963 car that was first registered in 1965 (remember many TVRs at that time were sold as self assembly kit cars) and has almost continual history since that date. It’s the first ever TVR with an MGB engine of 1800cc, all previous Granturas had the 1600cc MGA engine. It is also the later type with proper double wishbone suspension all round rather than the early cars’ VW Beetle suspension which is, by all accounts, not very good!

Anyway, Dave had entered the first round of the all new CSCC Classic K series for Appendix K FIA cars with 4 or 6 cylinder engines; it had attracted 30entries and looked like it would be dominated by E-Type Jaguars!

We had also entered the GT6 into the Swinging Sixties race as soon as we found out it was a split grid; that being a separate race for Classes A, B and C. The car has had a full engine rebuild over the winter as well as a bit of paint work and a remodelled rear spring (the previous one kept crashing out on the top of the spring tunnel on almost any bump).

Both cars were as ready as we could make them, however there was some drama over Classic K tyres. There are two distinct types of historic tyres available, they are both made by Dunlop and are known as L section and M section. The Ls are tall and narrow, the Ms are wider with a lower profile (i.e. better in the dry). We have both types however the CSCC rules state that we had to use L section tyres due to our use of 6” wide wheel rims (complicated eh!?), so we didn’t even take the Ms to the circuit. Trouble is that the rules have a small mistake which suggests that Ms can be used on 6” rims too…the CSCC ruled that for this race Ms would be allowed. Luckily only a few people had brought Ms but that gave them a nice advantage!

Classic K practice Dave went out first and settled in straight away; we’d already done significant testing and knew the car and what it was (and wasn’t) capable of. After about 15 minutes Dave came in and I took over for a few laps and managed to get us up the grid a few more places. We managed to get up to 13th out of 30 on the grid which wasn’t too bad. In the rest of our class (GRP bodied cars up to 2 litres engine capacity) were two other Granturas and we were ahead of both of those.

The Class grid was as follows: 

Grid Position



Best lap


Marcos 1800 GT

Tice / Conoley



Marcos 1800 GT




Lotus Elan 26R




Turner Mk 2

Halstead / MacPherson



TVR Grantura

Thompson / Wolfe



TVR Grantura




TVR Grantura



As you can see we’re a way off the class pace at the moment and we have some serious development to do over the next year or so to get close to the all-conquering Marcos 1800s out front. The Tice / Conoley car is mighty fast and has two good drivers to go with it!  

Classic K race  Dave had asked me to take the start of the race and I had a pretty clean get away, especially good as it’s the first standing start I’d ever done in the car and I made up a couple of places by the first corner. There was plenty of close action for the next two laps but it was clear the front runners were off into the distance almost immediately. I had a superb race for about 4 laps with a pair of Big Healeys (Grant & Potter) with quite a bit of place swapping going on. It all went wrong however on about lap 6 when I went down the inside of Potter on the first turn and when I braked nothing happened (at the time I though the brakes had failed but actually I think the whole lot had locked up!) and I slid off the track and gently slapped into the tyre wall barrier. The noise was horrendous and the engine stalled. I restarted it and drove back onto the track avoiding the marshals running my way. I returned to the pits expecting the side of the car to be damaged but once I had jumped out it was pretty obvious I had lost a door mirror and broken the back lights but that was about it. Dave was not keen to get in (at this stage I was sure it was a brake problem) but Neil Howe had a quick check and persuaded him to get in and get going. The car was fine but we had lost 2 laps in the pit lane…due to a few retirements we finished 19th overall and 5th in Class which was a pretty good result given the alternative!

We need to make a few brake bias changes before Brands Hatch and I now know what the car just won’t do! Tice and Conoley went on to win after the leading E-Type retired.

Swinging Sixties practice  Dave went out first again and I think he was still thinking about the TVR and its performance envelope rather than the rather more pokey and grippy GT6. It was pretty uneventful though and I took over and got us up from 7th on the grid to 2nd. That pesky Marcos 1800 of Tice and Conoley was also in the race and was on pole about 0.8 seconds faster.  Unusually, the GT6 had been a bit of a bugger to get running properly in the paddock, it kept fouling its plugs, but was fine once on the track – I ended up changing all the plugs twice! Also out on track was Dave’s old GT6, it’s been through a few hands since we last drove it together and it was looking a bit sad compared to its pristine cleanliness and level of preparation when in Dave’s custodianship.

Swinging Sixties race  I decided to take the start of the race and see what I could do against the Marcos; I didn’t even make it to the first corner in the lead which, to be honest, I did expect to. From then on the Marcos (driven first by Tice then by Conoley) slowly pulled away at around a second a lap. I maintained second place trying to build the gap between me and the gaggle of cars fighting for 3rd place which I could see some distance behind me in my mirrors. I did have a spell in the overall lead when Marcos came in for its driver change but our stop, although pretty quick, was not enough to keep us out front. Dave then completed the race in second place and wasn’t really troubled by the gang following which seemed to be having its own race. Notable was Andy Vowell’s recovery from a first lap spin and he was in with a chance of 3rd overall but eventually the Frogeye Sprites of Charles Marriot and Cairns/McKoen pipped him to it.

Through Russell Chicane, April 2010            Photo: Diane Hadfield

Hardly a classic race for us but a solid second place none the less. 

The GT6 was over 2 seconds a lap quicker than it had been previously due mostly to the fitting of a limited slip diff (huge traction difference from turn 2) and a front anti roll bar. Quite a lot to do for the next race, but with 4 weeks gap all should be sorted.

Brands Hatch 10th May 2010 - Classic K and Swinging Sixties

As at Snetterton earlier in the year, we decided to run both the GT6 and the Grantura at the meeting; it’ll be the last double appearance for a while though as it’s quite hard work and makes for a very busy weekend given that we do all the prep ourselves.

Stacky has been on a protracted training course recently so has been able to help out in the evenings but not at races. He has missed the last 2 and will miss the next 3 too!

The weather was not looking good all week but with a four week gap since Snetterton at least both cars were ready. I had even repaired and repainted the bonnet on the GT6 where I had hit a steel post in the scrutineering queue while trying to manoeuvre out of the way of a line of Jaguars! Sometimes people underestimate the amount of work you need to do on a car to keep it up to race standard and I expect that about 40 man hours were expended on the GT6 pre-Brands Hatch. The engine oil was changed as was the final drive oil which I now do every 3 hours of track time. It needed new front discs and pads (after 240 minutes track use) the rear shoes were swapped front to rear to even out the wear, new spark plug leads  plus a good clean and many checks.

The day dawned wet and cold, a real contrast to Snetterton so both cars had quick tyre and suspension change to ones more suited to the wet.  Scrutineering was done very early for the TVR and we were out to practice at around 9 am.

Classic K practice It was far more slippery on the track than we expected and we just couldn’t get the car round as quick as we’d have liked and could only manage 19th on the grid, 3rd in our class. The weather gradually got worse and I just could not improve on Dave’s times despite trying hard. Not great but at least we finished ok unlike some others.

The CSCC is doing its level best to make the Classic K series very much stick to Appendix K rules; many other championships have let those rules drift and have allowed some very questionable modifications.  The club seem to be policing it well and a few people were picked up for things that would have been overlooked by other clubs; two which we know of are the shape of an inner wing panel (which had been modified to clear ram pipes) and ride height where a car was picked up for being about 4mm too low.

A very wet Brands Hatch paddock - TVR Grantura - 8th May 2010

Swinging Sixties practice a much improved track and Dave went out first to bed the brakes in and then got moving. We were up against over a dozen Spridget types (ideally suited to this circuit) as well as Glenn Canning’s NSU TT and the Tonge/Winter Mini Cooper.  Unusually the circuit has a “Top 6” electronic monitor which shows in real time who is where in the field and it’s visible to spectators and drivers on the start/finish straight. Dave managed to get up to 6th then 5th as the track dried out and things were looking better than we had anticipated.

I took over after about 15 minutes and with car all warmed up and the track improving by the minute managed to get us up to 2nd then pole after about 3 more laps. The drizzling rain then started coming down again so I pulled in to the pits to call it a day, pretty confident we had done it and nobody would be able to take it back off us. I was right; we were on pole by 1.5 seconds, helped somewhat by a combination of drying track and staying clear of traffic.

Classic K race Dave took the start and managed to make a really good get away but was blocked getting past a couple of cars on the approach to Paddock Hill Bend. The front cars were soon well away and Dave settled into the race with a few similar performance cars around him. The rain was still coming down as Dave came in for the pit stop; it was a good one and we made up about 3 places by our speedy swap over. It was pretty uneventful race from then on, I was lapped by some very rapid cars and but I managed to hold our position and we finished 13th overall and 2nd in our class. Not too bad but we really must sort out the wet weather settings, it was really difficult to drive and possibly set up too stiffly. Post race scrutineering picked up a few more anomalies on other cars and at least one warning was issued. The winner, Tom Smith in an MGB, had his engine stripped for inspection and it was found to be 100% legal. He won by nearly a minute! Looks like they are very keen on the letter of Appendix K rather than letting things go.

In an odd way it would be useful if Anglesey race were to be wet too as we have a few ideas about how to go quicker!

Swinging Sixties race I decided to take the start and was on pole which is on the right of the circuit. The track at the start line slopes really steeply from right to left and that always makes for tricky starts and boy did I hash it up! The wheel spin in 1st then 2nd gear was horrendous as was the wheel patter as I scrabbled for grip on the approach to Paddock Hill. By the turn I was 5th and by Druids (turn 2) I was back up to 4th! For the next 9 laps I picked them off one at a time getting into first place by passing the Mini Cooper as he struggled with a pair of slower cars that were happily racing each other. How we stayed on the track during that session is anyone’s guess, it was incredibly slippery and the drizzle prevented any dry line from forming. I had several very hairy moments coming onto the start/finish straight where the back stepped out and then on lap 18 I spun the car into the gravel at Paddock Hill after missing a gear change! I was able to get some lock on and some reverse power to drive in a big loop backwards onto the track and carry on losing just 11 seconds from the excursion. The Mini was suddenly up with me again but I lost him pretty quickly (I think he spun) such that the gap by the pit stop on lap 25 was 59 seconds after Dave came out onto the track. The next 11 minutes were gut wrenching as Dave managed to maintain the gap at around a minute and we finally won by 50 seconds (very conservative last lap by Dave).  It was Dave’s first ever outright win and we celebrated into the night in the Kentagon restaurant having decided to stay an extra night!

Glenn Canning was 2nd in the NSU TT and Cairns/McKoen Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite was 3rd. The Mini was a DNF  on lap 27 with electrical problems. Car of the race for me was Saranjit Atwal’s Volkswagen Beetle which apparently attracted shouts of “Now Herbie, now!” from the kids at Paddock Hill...see the film ‘The Love Bug’ for more details!

This win lands us with a 30 second penalty at the next Swinging Sixties race which will make it all that much harder next time. This was not previously applied to the Class A, B, C race but from now on will be as the CSCC plan is now to always split to 2 races. Also the Marcoses and Elans have been moved up from Class C to D, E, F, G, H race.

Next meeting for us is Anglesey where we are just taking the TVR Grantura to run in Classic K, then after that it’s off to Nürburg with the GT6 for the 300 km Eifelrennen!


Anglesey 23rd May 2010 - Classic K

It is a 500 mile round trip to Anglesey and back so we decided to take just one car and plod  slowly up the M1, M6 and then that coast road across the top of Wales in the RV. I tend to only do 51 or 52 mph on the motorway in the RV so a six hour journey was expected and that was exactly how long it took. We arrived at 1.00 am into a fairly busy paddock and parked right behind the race control/commentary/timing box in a prime place in amongst the Tin Tops and Future Classics!

Unlike at Brands Hatch the weather all weekend was fabulous and because our race was Sunday we did nothing on Saturday except took a beer and wine based picnic up to the track side and watched the racing. Mark Hadfield was racing his Puma in Tin Tops and Martyn Adams in Future Classics. The FC race was pretty good but Martyn pulled out from 4th place after losing oil pressure; the only oddity was a rather pro-sports looking Porsche 911 Turbo which looked out of place against the other standard profile cars. The only down side is that these 40 minute races are very difficult to keep track of especially as the public address system was pretty woeful.

The Classic K and Swinging Sixties classes A, B & C practice sessions were combined (maybe just as well we didn’t take both cars) and there were plenty of wide-mouthed stares as a one competitor wholly disregarded yellow flags and passed a few cars and then proceeded to do more overtaking under the safety car! Thankfully, he was excluded from the meeting and sent home. It was a really disappointing display of bad driving that could easily have caused an accident and injury.

Practice  An early safety car incident (caused by a Lotus Elan conking out on the start finish straight on the first lap) meant we left Dave out for 20 minutes of the 30 minute session. In my stint I managed just one decent and un-hindered lap and managed to get us up the grid a few more slots to 4th. There were only 12 cars in our race (lots of people just won’t go to Anglesey which is a shame because it’s a really fabulous facility) including a Marcos on pole and truly outstanding Aston Martin DB2 at the rear. The Aston had suffered a pre-practice issue with a leaking front brake pipe union but I was able to fix that for him by stripping down the aero hose and re-seating the olive.

In some mental mass suicide bid about a thousand flying ants had splattered themselves on the front of the TVR during practice and while Dave and Chris Sollom fixed a dragging rear brake I scraped the carnage off the front...it was grim!

The Race  Dave had a truly outstanding start. Outstandingly bad that is. Even the ambulance beat him to the first corner...really.  The gearbox in the TVR is not British engineering at its best and can be a bit recalcitrant getting it into first. On the grid, as the 5 second warning was shown Dave could not select any gears then just as the red lights went out it slipped into first gear and the engine stalled. He nearly had a TVR 1800S up his chuff but luckily it, and everyone else, managed to get past him safely leaving Dave to slipstream the meat wagon into turn one!  4th to 12th (or 13th if you include the emergency services) leaving us with quite a task.

By 2 laps in Dave was up to 10th and then he set to chasing the next group of 4 cars which he picked off one at a time over the next 10 laps. He was in 6th when we brought him in for the pit stop. We had an excellent driver change-over and I went out only to be dropped a place by an up-to-speed MGB. After a couple of laps I too was up to speed and got past the MGB by which time our pit crew had worked out I was in 3rd place. I then kept it on the boil for the remaining 10-or-so laps to keep the 4th placed E-Type of Ham and Ham at bay.

The 1st and 2nd place cars lapped me right toward the end of the race so even without Dave’s comedy start we would have been well down on them; we were very pleased with the overall result. Only a small turnout of Classic K cars which was a shame but hopefully the series will soon start to get more well known and will attract bigger grids.

Nürburg in the GT6 and Spa in the TVR next unless Dave decides to do a solo Oulton.

The after-party Not really a party, more of a six hour drive home punctuated by another tyre blow out on the RV; this time the front left let go in a big way. The tyre exploded and smashed through the floor of the RV right by my feet. It launched my laptop PC in the air, separating the battery from it and denting the casing. The floor was ripped right open with wood splinters and dust everywhere. I pulled over onto the hard shoulder of an exit slip road where we changed the wheel. Decision now made, all the Michelin X tyres that were on the RV when I bought it have to go, I have had three fail now, always on the motorway. It won’t be cheap buying four but has to be worth it!


Nürburg Nordschleife 18th - 20th June 2010 - CSCC / Triumph Competition

The decision to go to Nürburg this year was taken rather late and has made for a very busy period in June and July with the Spa race being only 2 weeks later and Silverstone Classic 3 weeks after that!  Anyway the ADAC Eifelrennen meeting is now held in June (in the old days it always was in June but the recent reincarnations have been held in September) so we were hopeful of good weather in the mountains and a superb race meeting. It’s one of Germany’s premier historic racing festivals and attracts entries from all parts of Europe although unsurprisingly it is heavily attended by the local drivers! This year we were in the single 300km race to be held Sunday morning (in other years it has been split into two 150km races) along with over 200 other cars split into 3 groups.

We were there as guests of the Triumph Competition series and could run to our normal club rules whereas pretty much everyone else was running to FIA rules of one type or another. On past form I was pretty hopeful of us coming in around 80th position. Notably, in Germany cars now need to run with 2 door bars so there was a bit of work to do before we left but we have made a pretty neat job of it, fitting a second one just below the existing one.

We took an early morning train from Folkestone to Calais and using my Land Rover Defender 110 as the tow vehicle rather than the RV and were at the circuit at around 5pm. The weather was rather mixed with patchy sunshine and the odd shower but we were happy to be there. Alas we then had to contend with the truly awful paddock space allocation; it was a complete disgrace to the organisers. We had been allocated a tiny amount of space for the club for a significant number of cars while elsewhere in the paddock there were huge unused areas. Also some teams had really been greedy, with huge setups for just 1 or 2 cars. To make it worse our space allocation had been eaten into by a dozen or so trade stands which did not feature on our paddock plans. It was so bad and cramped that it has made me question whether to go again. There were several paddock arguments with other competitors about whose space was whose and it really set the weekend off badly!

Anyway, we set up the shelter in a corner and settled in. There were two one-hour qualifying sessions scheduled, one for Friday morning and the other for Saturday morning so come about 9:30 Friday I was out on the famous Nordschleife. Just two laps later the throttle cable snapped and I coasted to a halt in the fast chicane of the GP circuit; I managed to roll out of the way and using the small onboard toolkit was able to turn up the tickover enough to be able to drive back to the paddock. That was the end of the session, no drive for Dave and a pretty poor lap time.

We spent several hours that afternoon fixing the problem and come Saturday were pretty happy that it was properly sorted. Dave went out first in that day’s session but was soon on the phone saying the throttle was sticking open. We checked it out back in the paddock and sent him on his way again. He did 3 laps before the session ended. No drive for me this time!

We were way down the grid and only 5th in class C from 10 starters; there was another GT6 driven by Stefan Klemm way up ahead and then all the other cars were MGBs. That night we worked out our pit stop and refuelling plans. I would start which meant doing the warm up lap (a full lap of the circuit), followed by 5 racing laps then Dave would take over to finish the race. It was a 12 lap race but we figured the fast Porsche 911s or BMW M1s would lap us twice so we planned on 10 laps for us. In the dry the car uses about 9 litres per lap so with a 55 litre tank I would be OK for that distance and Dave would have enough for 6 laps if needed.

Richard King (Spitfire racer who now lives in la belle France) had driven over to help us out for the weekend and between the 3 of us we spent about 15 man hours on Saturday afternoon fettling the car. We changed the engine oil and filter as well as the diff oil which we now think is absolutely key to longevity; I change the diff oil every 2 to 3 hours following some serious failures in the past. We also sorted out the throttle linkage and a range of other minor jobs.

Come race day the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was very wet. We refitted the rain tyres (both previous sessions had been dry) and I went out to the collecting area; at least fuel would not be a problem in the rain as consumption is more like 6 litres per lap in these conditions.

It’s always a rolling start and the start of the grid crossed the line bang on time at 09:30; I crossed the line about 7 minutes later in the total grid of about 200 cars. I soon settled into racing in the slippery conditions and after a nerf from behind from an over excited Porsche 912 had soon overtaken about 10 cars. On the first time through the Carousel however the bottom of the car crashed down and hit the exhaust system into the propshaft. The noise was horrendous and it took me a minute or so to work out that nothing serious was broken. I came into the pits for a quick check but all seemed well so went straight out again; right behind all the cars I had just passed! Over the next 4 laps the noise came and went then on the long straight there was huge crunch and a metallic ping as something flew off the bottom the car. I think it was one of the U brackets finally being broken off by the propshaft U/J but at least the noise subsided. The rain came and went at different parts of the circuit as is normal for this place and the addition by someone of some oil on the track at Hatzenbach really added to the excitement! 

At the end of lap 5 I came in for the scheduled pit stop; trouble was that everyone else did too! We ended up in a queue for petrol which cost us 6 minutes and about 30 places on the track; it was a disaster for our race position. We topped up the oil, squirted in 35 litres of fuel and Dave went out to join the rapidly depleting fray!  There was carnage on the track with crashed and broken down cars all round the circuit; there was such a serious accident at Tiergarten that the whole race was slowed each lap to 30mph past that point. We were lapped for the 3rd time just 12 seconds before Dave crossed the start-finish line robbing us of a lap and leaving us well down the field.

Racing is full of ‘ifs’; if the exhaust had not ground out and if there had been no fuel queue we could have been 30 to 40 places further up and probably 2nd or 3rd in class. As it was we were 5th in class and 129th overall.

There is a small chance of a race in the GT6 at Brands Hatch at the end of the year but probably that’s it for 2010 for this car. It now needs a bit of a strip down and lots of routine maintenance and a tidy up. The rear fuel filler (fitted last year) doesn’t work properly and the front of the engine is leaking oil again. The ideal would be a proper strip down and refresh of the whole car but I seem to have a Falcon to concentrate on now...probably just as well I sold the TR7V8!

 Full results click here


Spa Francorchamps - 3rd, 4th July 2010 - Swinging Sixties & Classic K

The ups and downs of the Spa Francorchamps circuit are many and varied as well as being both physical and emotional.  Coming only 2 weeks after Nürburg it was a big effort to load up and trek into Europe again, once again taking the 09:20 train from Folkestone to Calais but this time with the RV rather than the Defender and the Grantura rather than the GT6.

We had a pretty straightforward drive to the circuit and did the 220 miles from Calais to the circuit entrance in under 5 hours without stopping; the instructions had said the paddock would not open until around 16:00 so we timed to arrive around then, pulling in to the access tunnel at around 15:50. Many other competitors had arrived earlier and had been directed to a holding compound which was rammed with trailers and tow vehicles; it was full so we had no choice but to wait by the gates. This meant that when the gates were opened at 16:15 we were first in; whilst I do understand that a few people were upset, we didn’t plan it and were directed in by the gate staff!  We were taken (lead by a guy on a motor scooter) to our allocated paddock space...the problem was everyone got the same treatment meaning that it took a couple of hours to clear the holding area and get everyone in...I know some people had been waiting in that area since 11:00am! I guess that arriving at Spa too early is to be avoided.

The TVR Grantura in the paddock at Spa for the 2010 Summer Classic

Friday Test day with two 45 minute sessions available to purchase and we did them both. In the first session, Dave went out first and did a few steady laps to make sure the car was ok and then a couple of quicker ones before coming in to hand over to me. With a warm car (and hot track) I was able to go quite a bit quicker and set a benchmark for us to beat!

In the second session (an hour later) Dave struggled to see the pit signals and didn’t actually come into the pits! He was pretty exhausted by the end of the session as the ambient temperature had reached over 35 degrees C!  We later found out it was actually the hottest day ever recorded in Belgium with a peak of 37 degrees C at the Spa race circuit!

In the afternoon was the Qualifying session for the CSCC Swinging Sixties race. We were pretty much in the groove by then and the car was fine. We got up to 15th on the grid of 27 cars. At this point we noticed masses of oil had come from the gear box so we cleaned it all up, made a better seal for the dip stick and topped up the level.

Swinging Sixties race (Saturday) Dave took the start and ran really well putting in some much improved lap times (about 3:13) and was quickest of the two of us that weekend. When I took over the car the tyres were a bit past their best (too hot) and I had a good session but not terribly exciting other than lapping a few folk. We came in 9th overall and 3rd in class. That was it for Saturday apart from clearing gearbox oil again and noticing the oil was now coming from the gear stick hole!

Sunday consisted of 2 races, we would do one race each in the combined Classic K/German Historic Championship with me doing the first race. We had been calculating fuel usage all weekend as we really wanted to avoid carrying excess weight. At the previous two race meetings we’d been inadvertently carrying over 20 litres of fuel by the end of the races!  I went out in 14th place on the grid for the rolling start however half way round the first lap the steering wheel came off in my hands (really). I was in a group of 5 or 6 cars so couldn’t brake otherwise an accident would have been a certainty so I backed off and got ready for trip into the gravel while carefully trying to relocate the wheel. It went on ok and I was back in the race about 5 places down; it’s a quick release wheel and obviously had not been put back on properly!  Anyway, I had a great 30 minute race, with some pretty quick laps, finishing 10th overall but 3rd in the CSCC Classic K class meaning a podium and champagne moment!  There was more gearbox oil to clean but then a brainwave...was the problem being caused by engine crank case pressure? The gearbox and engine share the same catch tank ad it was possible that a  build of pressure was forcing oil out of the gearbox so we removed the small filter from the catch tank. 

In the second race (grid formed by the finishing position of the first race) Dave was comfortably up to 2nd in CSCC class after one of the guys that beat me had decided to call it a day and headed off for the ferry! Dave was running well until the last lap when he didn’t reappear...out of fuel about 2 miles from home...oops. He was understandably pretty upset as he missed out on the 2nd place podium thing although he was later classified in 16th place and 2nd in Class. 

Overall it was a pretty good weekend. The first laps of Friday’s first test session in the car were timed about 3:25 and by the end of Sunday we’d got down to 3:10, only 5 seconds or so off the quickest Granturas and clearly we don’t know the spec of those cars. The result of the final race was a big disappointment but the car behaved pretty well although the gearbox now feels a bit tired! The heat was so intense the bonnet has distorted and some of the paint has cracked but we had loads of people over looking at the car so that, at least, was great!

Elsewhere, Justin Maeers (ex TR Register regular) was racing his new, continuation, Lola T70 which I went to try for size...it seemed fin Justin, let me know when you need a co-driver! Also in our races was a pretty mental FIA Appendix K (hmm) Ford Falcon which was astonishingly fast, I got a few tips from them on set up which I hope will be useful. 

Richard King was there sharing Andy Vowell’s Spitfire and Martyn Adams was there in his TR7V8 and Kev Hadfield in his TR4. Interestingly my old TR7V8 was there too in the inter-series race; it’s now red which is a bit of a shame because the blue was its colour from new and most of it was actually the original factory applied paint. It seemed to be going ok however.


Silverstone Classic 23rd - 25th July 2010 - Big Engined Touring Cars

One of the busiest and intense race weekends for a very long time. The Silverstone Classic has become one of the biggest historic racing festivals in the world and there was a vast array of impressive and historically significant cars taking part. As well as this it has become a centre for car clubs with many car and motorcycle marques represented as well as live music with a number of really good pop and rock bands playing on the Friday and Saturday nights.

It was the first race outing for the Falcon following on from a disastrous test session at Snetterton the Tuesday before the meeting. All the coolant had been expelled at Snetterton leading to us stripping the engine down that afternoon to find that both cylinder head gaskets had blown, we replaced them by Wednesday night and all seemed well apart from hardly ever having driven the car! 

Prior to the Silverstone weekend we also fitted a bigger radiator which had just come in from the USA and did all the little jobs needed for racing.  Come qualifying on Friday morning and all was decidedly not well, the car over heated within 3 laps and I was back in the pits with a grid position just 4 off the back of a 43 car grid. Other maladies were that the left rear tyre had hit the wheel arch and taken a huge chunk of the tread off and also the engine had moved forward slightly and the bolts on water pump pulley had made a big hole in the radiator guard!  Also it was jumping out of 3rd gear, the brakes were too heavily biased towards the rear and the handling was awful; actually, borderline hopeless!

Silverstone Classic 2010 - Jon Wolfe

That afternoon Stacky modified the rear wheel arches and we moved the axle rearwards on the driver’s side by 10mm to ensure the wheel cleared. Stacky also fabricated and fitted shrouds round the front of the radiator to force air through it and we put in some water wetter to try to get the temperature down; that lot didn’t work either and after just 3 laps of Saturday’s race I was out! I sat in the car in the pit lane waiting for a tow back to our canvas garage wondering if building this car had been a good idea after all!  As I sat there Sir Stirling Moss passed by in his wheel chair and Dave was able to get his autograph which was good!

The start of race 1 (JW not in the picture...too far back!)

Back at the garage there was some serious head scratching and looking at all the other Mustangs and Falcons. How come we could only last 3 laps when everyone else seemed fine? The radiator looked big enough but just couldn’t hold the water in!  We did notice that all the other cars had header tanks feeding water into the lower radiator hose and we decided that had to be worth a try. I bought an alloy header tank (daft price from a Lotus specialist store in the traders market) and managed to buy some of the unions we needed from GPR who had a caravan set up in the paddock. We managed to borrow a 3/8 BSP tap and put a threaded insert into the lower hose connector so that we could plumb a pipe into place. The next race was late Sunday afternoon so once the tank was fitted in place and some of the hose work complete we called it a day.

At 7am on Sunday, Dave and I trucked off back to my place (just 40 miles away) to get the additional unions and hoses needed to complete the job. Together with a trip to the local auto factors on the way back to Silverstone we managed to get everything we needed and by noon the car was ready to race again.

The first few laps were fine apart from the major brake bias problem – it made the car near impossible to drive as the rear wheels kept locking up almost instantly. Then the temperature started to raise so although this time I did 5 laps I was still a retirement. Back home for a major rethink.

It was a tremendous weekend with lots of celeb spotting and over 70,000 people through the gates. I really hope to be there again next year but ideally a bit further up the grid and better placed in the results!

Subsequent to the meeting we found that the head gaskets had failed again and that it had probably happened Friday which meant that whatever we did Saturday or Sunday was never going to work. New head gasket type required we think! We also had a list of 20 other jobs to do following the extensive and intensive learning experiences we had. I probably won’t use the car again until October so a few weeks to sort some of the issues out and I’ll need to go testing again before I can have any confidence in the car.

Entry List


Silverstone 8th August – Bentley Drivers Club/Equipe GTS   

Report by D Thompson

Following the trip to the Spa Summer Classic with the TVR (see Jon’s report) and having been unsuccessful in obtaining an entry in the Silverstone Classic, I was left with a big gap in my race calendar. Pit crewing activities for Jon’s Falcon at the Silverstone Classic were entertaining but not the same as racing. So looking for something in August I decided to try a race with the Equipe GTS series at the Bentley Drivers Meeting at Silverstone. The Equipe GTS is a series that caters for smaller capacity cars, mainly MGBs, Elites, TR4s and the odd TVR. The cars are subject broadly to FIA Appendix K regulations but are allowed larger engines (MGBs can run up to 2 litres rather than the 1840cc my TVR is restricted to), larger brakes and a few other modifications. The standard of preparation is excellent and they seem a friendly bunch.  Unfortunately the race format is a 30 minute single driver sprint so I couldn’t offer Jon a drive. No matter as he had family commitments in the afternoon but still offered to come and help me with scrutineering and qualifying which was greatly appreciated. We were also assisted by Rob the Coastguard from Australia!

On arrival we were greeted by the most eclectic range of race cars I have seen in one place. They ranged from a 1918 Vauxhall through vintage Bentleys to Ford Capris and a luridly coloured 2005 GT. The race meeting consisted of various handicap and scratch races which meant that a vintage Bentley could compete on equal terms with a modern car. In fact the 1918 Vauxhall turned out to have been pieced together recently from various vintage parts including a 200BHP Hispano-Suiza aero engine from a WWI SE5a fighter aircraft – it was completely barking and outran everything in its race!

The paddock maintained a suitably refined atmosphere with potted plants arranged around the Bentley Boys' cars and more tweed than an Edinburgh Woollen Mill on a wet Bank Holiday in Windermere.

Practice It was overcast but dry and I prepared to go out on M section Dunlop Rs. These have proved much easier to drive on than the narrower L sections and I was hopeful of a good position. As we lined up in the pre-gridding area people started to get out of their cars just as the marshals signalled the start of the session. The first few cars got away but the dozy bunch who had decided to go walkabout (must be the Australian influence) prevented anyone else from accessing the track. As the National circuit is only a short length, this meant that as soon as the first cars came around, the exit from the holding area was closed off. We all had to drive back through the fairly crowded paddock, through the garage that I had originally come from and on to the track. The result was that only got 7 laps out of a possible 12. I was really annoyed as I felt I was warming to the task and had wanted to get a top 5 spot. As it was I qualified 9th out of 38.

Heavy rain followed and we took shelter in the BDC stand whilst watching some very entertaining and very sideways vintage racing. As the afternoon progressed it dried out and we decided to risk leaving the M section tyres on. As long as there wasn’t a last minute shower they would be the tyres to use. 

The Race I was keen to get a good race result as I awaited the red lights to go out. Off the grid I managed another one of my outstanding starts (outstandingly bad!) and dropped 5 places by the first corner. I just can’t seem to get the TVR off the line without it bogging down. Once moving I was baulked by a couple of slower MGBs for a couple of laps and I had a half spin at Maggotts whilst valiantly attempting not to ram into the back of the MG in front. I still haven’t got the hang of these historic quality brakes! An excursion over the kerbs at Copse confirmed that I was pushing hard and in the last couple of laps I almost caught the other TVR. I finished 8th – not great and had I not fluffed the start (again) I think I could have done better. As a consolation I did get the overall fastest lap which I was really pleased about. The race was won by Pete Foster in his TR4 with John Andon in second in a similar car.

It was a great day and one of the friendliest and relaxed race meetings I’ve been to – I’d certainly recommend it but be sure to wear your plus fours and deerstalker!


Donington Park (Donington Revived event) - 4th / 5th September 2010 - Masters Gentlemen Drivers

This was our first ever event with Masters and it was certainly interesting if not wholly successful from our point of view. For me, the real down side for Masters is the 3 days for each event; all qualifying/practice seems to be on the Friday making it even more of a long weekend and makes it harder from a work and family standpoint. That meant we went out for practice around 4 pm Friday for the race at 3pm Sunday; really not ideal for me as I don’t really like watching the racing!

There were 13 races on the weekend, which was the first meeting of the re-opened Donington Park, and there were certainly some fabulous cars there. Plenty of 70s to 90s Formula One cars along with lots of world sports cars like Lola T70s and McLaren M6s. Each of the grids was smaller than the organisers would have liked but there was no doubting the quality!

Practice Dave went out first and did about 12 fast laps before I signalled him in. I managed 4 laps before the diff fell out! The side mounts had fatigued right through and allowed the unit to drop into the chassis; I still had drive but the noise was terrible.

Once we had pushed the car back at the RV we quickly diagnosed the problem and Dave managed to get the side mounts off. We had already called Martyn Adams (of TR7V8 fame and who lives only 4 miles from the circuit) and arranged to pop over to use his workshop before they had to set off for the CSCC meeting at Silverstone.  As we had no transport other than bikes, the fabulous Mrs Adams came over and collected me!  Back at Martyn’s place I was able to straighten the brackets and do a pretty good welding job on them. I even found some silver paint and was very pleased with the result!

We partially refitted the diff that evening but the fading light and the call of food made us abandon efforts until Saturday when we completed the job.

The Masters set-up is pretty impressive with a big hospitality tent and various meals included in the entry fee. It was also a nice opportunity to meet some new people.

The race We hadn’t exactly sparkled in practice so se we down in 15th place from a grid of about 20 and way off the pace which had been set by the Tice/Conoley Marcos again. However with a 2 hour race we knew we had plenty of opportunity to improve and could make up some places if there were any DNFs. In Saturday’s version of the race (the over 3 litre cars) nearly half the field failed to finish!  Our worry was running out of fuel, it was not allowed to add any during the race so we had even pushed the car to the collecting area to ensure we didn’t waste any!

Dave took the start and had a really great dice for about 30 minutes with a group of Austin Healeys and MGBs and although consistent in lap times was around the 1:32 for the whole hour. I took over for the second hour and had a couple of good sessions with a Lotus Elite and with an Austin Healey. I managed a short trip across the gravel at the repositioned chicane and had a spin at MacLeans while trying higher corner entry speeds. Throughout I was only marginally quicker than Dave at around 1:31 to 1:32 for the most part and just a couple of laps into the 1:29s. The car ran faultlessly but so did pretty much everyone else’s and we finished 17th from 19.

Not a tip top result by our standards but we learned a lot and have a list of things to do for the Spa 2 hour race.


Brands Hatch GP - 18th, 19th September 2010 - CSCC Swinging Sixties

We do not have that many opportunities to race on the GP circuit at Brands Hatch so when one comes, you tend to take it. The CSCC had agreed with Jonathan Palmer’s MSVR Organisation to hold an inter-series race in support of the British GT weekend and I was invited. The down side (which was actually a really big one) was that practice was 09:00 Saturday and the Race 17:20 on Sunday; something landed on the CSCC just a couple of weeks before the meeting.

The race would consist of cars from Tin Top Saloons, Future Classics, Swinging Sixties and Magnificent Sevens so a good overall position would be unlikely so I’d be looking for class honours.  I had just fixed the GT6  and had fitted new engine front seals after Nürburg where an excessive amount of oil was weeping out and covering the front of the engine in a black, sticky mess.

Practice a bad misfire set in on the way to the collecting area but cleared after 3 laps of practice leading to some pretty good lap times. I qualified 17th overall and 2nd in the Swinging Sixties class behind Simon Lane’s 6.6 litre Chevrolet Camaro. Ahead were mostly Caterham 7s and a few really quick Tin Tops.

Notably, after practice about 10 drivers were called to see the Clerk of the Course for yellow flag infringements which did not go down well with MSVR! In fact there was a proper dressing down at the pre-race driver briefing about it. It’s really inconsistent; at a recent Masters race the Clerk actually said he wasn’t too worried about overtaking under yellow flags so long as it was safe!

The Race The car was just not right, I had cleaned and refitted the plugs in the hope it would solve the misfire problem and it seemed to but by the time I got to the collecting area the engine as running very roughly. I didn’t hold out too much hope for a good start! I had Kevan Hadfield in his TR4 and Martyn Adams in his TR7V8 right beside me so would have loved to get a clean get-away.

When the red lights went out the car was hopeless; everyone swerved to avoid a stalled Caterham but I was clear and into Paddock Hill bend about 5 places down. I then lost about 5 more places as everyone capitalised on my woes! After a couple of laps the engine was no better and I was struggling to keep up with a mini and considered calling it a day as I was having to really try hard. On lap 7 the engine cleared slightly and I was beginning to think it could soon clear when the throttle cable snapped; I was close enough to the pit lane to be able to coast in and park by the garages. I opened the bonnet and wound the idle speed up (just like at Nurburg!) and made my way straight back to the paddock and put the car on the trailer. I was all loaded up and ready to go by the time the race ended.

A pretty unsatisfactory result; I do not really know what the misfire was and the throttle cable thing was probably as a result of me pressing the pedal too hard to get the car round the track as quickly as I could. On returning home I started the car and it ran just fine. No hint of a misfire!

I’ll fit a new coil, distributor cap, rotor arm and plugs for next time as well as twin throttle cables!


Spa Francorchamps - 24th to 26th September 2010 - Masters Gentlemen Drivers

This was our second outing with Masters and we had entered the 2 hour Gentlemen Drivers race which had the very annoying scheduling of a Thursday afternoon scrutineering, Friday afternoon practice and the race at 3pm Sunday.  It was in support of the Six Hours of Spa race and there was an excellent  bun fight in the Masters hospitality tent between some disgruntled drivers and the series organisers because they were only issuing 1 guest ticket per driver instead of 2 as there were so many entrants!

Despite the bad timings for us we had a great weekend, easy trip over (no blown tyres) and a relaxing time despite the inclement weather that prevailed for most of the weekend. On the Saturday we went up to a new Battle of the Bulge museum just outside Malmedy; it’s sited right next to the field where the infamous “Malmedy Massacre” took place where a large number of unarmed American POWs were shot by an SS Panzer Unit commanded by Jochen Peiper. The new museum is called Baugnes 44 and is well worth a visit if you are into all that sort of stuff; some really interesting detail about the street fighting around Malmedy and in Stavelot in that period. We travelled there by bicycle (about 10 miles each way) having found out that a taxi would have cost a small fortune...we also found that there are some seriously long, steep hills in the Ardennes!

There’s an annual Battle of The Bulge event (a bit like a mini D Day celebration thing) each year and I really fancy going over as I also own a 1943 WC52 Dodge Weapons Carrier which would be great to have there apart from the drive over at 42mph!

Anyway, the racing bit!  Practice was a bit of a muddle as Dave didn’t see the ‘In’ signal so I only did 1 flying lap, nevertheless we were comfortable that the car’s wet weather handling was much improved. We disconnected the anti-roll bar and ran with softer front springs and softer shock absorbers; it seemed pretty good which was just as well when we saw the weather on race day.

The rain on Sunday afternoon was absolutely torrential! Dave took the start to do the first hour and it just bucketed down...I spend most of that hour standing in one of the old garages and just running out every 4 minutes to show the pit board. Dave did a great job keeping the car on the track despite being pushed off (physically) at the double left by an over-eager loon in a blue Marcos...not even so much as an apology afterwards, but that absolutely typical of the Masters series when compared to CSCC. I took over at one hour and only managed 2 laps before a slide sideways at the top of Radillion and the engine stalled. It just would not restart, the started motor was completely dead again, not even a click. I tried to bump start it as the marshals pushed the car clear but it just wasn’t going to at the speed they were prepared to shove it.

I sat on the wall by the side of the circuit for an hour in the damp weather and as I had my phone a few people received grumpy texts. It was a pretty good view of the racing and there were some pretty impressive performances out on the wet, slippery track as well as few rather slower cars struggling with the conditions.

Once the race was over a recovery truck pulled the TVR back onto the track but as it finally pulled the car off the sticky mud the towing eye snapped leaving me stranded but on the tarmac at least while they sent for a flat bed truck. Given I was positioned at the start of Kemmel I let the car run backwards and build up speed, I dropped it into reverse gear and let the clutch up; the engine fired instantly and I was able to drive back to the paddock. We loaded up pretty swiftly and were on the road within an hour.

We were booked on the Eurotunnel at around 08:00 Monday but I decided to press right on to Calais, getting there around midnight where I had a short sleep before we boarded. Once back in England we drove straight back, arriving home around 04:00 Monday.

It was a really good weekend with lots to see with the Six Hour of Spa race being particularly impressive as is sped on into the night with around 130 cars taking the start. We watched quite a lot of the race from the bar balcony that’s situated at the end of the Formula 1 pit lane; the glowing brake discs and flaming exhausts from one of the TVR Griffiths was most memorable.    

We’ll be back at Spa again in 2011, but whether we’ll be in a position to do the Six Hour I doubt, maybe we’ll do that in 2012.


Snetterton - 16th September 2010 - CSCC Classic K

The final CSCC race meeting of the year and another trip to the windswept reaches of Norfolk where the B-17s of the 96th Bomb Group used to prevail. If you didn’t know it Snetterton Heath was a very active air base throughout World War Two and the Group suffered the second highest casualties of any US Army Air Force unit with just under 1000 fatalities in the 3 years it was operational. There is a terrific memorial just outside the pay booth gates.

There are some huge modifications being made to the circuit for the 2011 season including the addition of a mile of track inside the existing circuit at the westerly end and the renaming of every corner. The first race of the 2011 CSCC calendar will be on that new layout, to be known as the Snetterton 300 circuit. Take a look at the circuit web site to see the changes.

Anyway, to the racing; we had two Classic K races on the Saturday with the second grid being formed from the finish positions of the first race but with the top 4 positions reversed. The first race was a standing start and the second a rolling start! Are you keeping up?

Pre-practice paddock calm.

The weather overnight on Friday was cold and damp but it was a nice change for so many regulars to have turned up and be out racing all at the same meeting; a jolly time was had by all in the Geordie Adams’ motorhome (as opposed to the Midlands Adams’ motorhome!). The TVR isn’t so great in the wet but we decided to keep the dry settings on the car and Dave went out first; it looked pretty slippery and everyone’s lap times were well off the dry norm even though it wasn’t actually raining. I took over and despite a gentle (and I might add, artistic) pirouette at Coram managed to get us a bit further up the grid to 3rd place behind an E-Type and a Lotus Elan 26R that was on pole by a country mile!

Robert Browning indicates the absolute upper height limit for the first driver; Dave had to go first.

As the morning went on it dried out a bit more such that by our race the track was certainly clear on the racing lane. Dave took the start with pack of hungry 3.8 litre Jaguars behind him and not surprisingly lost several places on the first lap given their huge power advantage which really comes good at Snetterton. He was running around 7th/8th for his part of the race and had a good scrap with Brian Arculus in the tiny Lotus Elite. I took over at just under 20 minutes after a very good pit stop (we’re getting pretty good at this) and got out on the track just behind Brian who had pitted a lap earlier.  I managed to catch and pass him and maintained a pretty good pace thereafter.  I was stunned then to see from the pit signals that I was running P3 overall! I checked every lap, trying to see if it was actually an 8 but they were definitely showing me a 3!

At the end of the race I was ushered to the podium slot and Dave and I were interviewed over the PA for being 3rd overall! How did we do it? Pretty simple really; a really good pit stop and a few retirements and that brought us up from 8th to 3rd; it was ace!

The other oddity of the first race was that the passenger side door mirror fell of towards the end of the Revett straight at about three-quarters distance. Each lap I could see it sitting there in the middle of the track and fortunately nobody ran it over so on the slowing down lap I opened the door and scooped it up as I drove past...it was back on for race 2 complete with a few scratched but otherwise unharmed!

The second race was a rolling start and Dave was 2nd on the grid (remember the top 4 were reversed race 1 finish positions) and again he was nailed on the back straight by the superior power of the E-Types. Again he had a good race with Brian but when I took over I managed to get past and pull out quite a strong lead over him. Not unlike the first race, I was surprised to be shown that I was up into P4 somehow! I could not see anyone ahead so decided to keep on the pressure but accept that 4th was the likely finishing position; it was not to be however. Right at the end of the race (last lap I reckon) I saw the white Lotus Elan 26R across the track at turn 1 and a massive oil slick up the tarmac. I was right on the oil and gently steered to the outside of it to get some grip, went wide onto the concrete run-off and just about avoided the Elan as it was being pushed to the side by the marshals.

Two corners later the race was red flagged (stopped). My mind was working - there would then be a count back to the end of the previous lap which would make us 4th; not bad. However under newish rules a car that causes a red flag is excluded so the Elan was deleted from the results making us 3rd overall again!

We were delighted; we’ve had a rather mixed year with the TVR and this gave us a really good end and to come home with a couple of trophies each for being 2nd in class in each race was excellent. There’s just the Walter Hayes race to go on 6th November in the Falcon...that should be fun!

Naah, I div'n waan anutha beea!


Silverstone - 6th November 2010 - HSCC Walter Hayes Trophy meeting - Closed Wheel Race

It was the first outing for the Falcon since the rather less than successful Silverstone Classic meeting back in the summer. The HSCC organises the annual Walter Hayes Trophy meeting  as the their last meeting of the year and it’s centred around a rather complex set of single  seater races with heats and finals.  They also fit in a number of other races and I was in the 30km closed wheel all comers race along with a hugely eclectic mix of over forty 50s and 60s machines. The full list is below but included a Mini, a few Mustangs, a Morris Minor, a Hillman Imp and a couple of DKWs one of which had just had its engine refitted that morning.

To avoid an early start we headed up on Friday night in the RV and arrived in heavy rain and with a view that we’d be fitting the wet weather tyres first thing in the morning. However, first thing in the morning we were most surprised to see that not only had the rain stopped but the paddock was mostly dry too! We under took final checks on the car and given there was only 10 minutes practice I made sure I was one of the very first to the collecting area and out onto a damp but rapidly drying track. 

It was really the first time I had driven the car on the track with any confidence of actually completing more than 2 laps! I had fitted new, steel cylinder head gaskets and changed some of the cooling arrangements too. In addition I had reduced the rear brake line pressure to stop the rears from locking up so easily. The car was good and I quickly became used to the steering being on the left; I didn’t really try too hard and was very happy to be placed 17th on the grid from 42 cars.

The race I had decided to be most circumspect for the start and chose to just hold my grid position through the first few turns; I’m still not really too au fait with the car and did not want any embarrassments on the first lap! The sky was now completely cloud free and the low sun had completely dried the track; all looked good.

My practice lap times were comparable to several other cars so for the first half dozen laps I had a really good scrap with the Hillman Imp and an Alfa GTV before edging in front of them and pulling away slightly. We were soon lapped by the mighty fast sports racers but I managed to keep my immediate rivals at bay despite a misfire at half distance followed by a drop in power soon after (later traced to a disconnected plug lead on number 2 cylinder).

Jon Wolfe and Henry Mann - WHT Closed Wheel Race 2011

I was very happy to finish 16th overall and 6th in the Touring Cars class with the car behaving very well. There are years of development to do now but based on that first proper outing I think there’s plenty more to come through small changes to the car and learning to drive it better!

Thanks to Stacky and Dave for helping build the thing over the past 3 years and for coming to help out on Saturday. Lastly, we took an old portable TV with us too so that we could hook into the official lap timing; I suspect that lugging that thing to the pit wall each race meeting will now become the norm!

Roll on 2011!



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