2014 Race dates, reports & results

The CSCC, HSCC (and a few others) selective calendar is as follows  - Green highlight means HSCC/FISC/Historic & Blue is a CSCC event we intend to do and bold means the day that we will be racing.

                

2014 Race & other dates and results
# Date Venue / Event

Club & Series

Car Result o/a  Class & result Weather/comment Best lap
  21-23 Feb NAC Stoneleigh, Warks Race Retro Show BMW X3 3.0d       n/a
1 12-13 April Snetterton 300 CSCC Classic K Ford Falcon 6th C 2nd Cool, dry 2.25.784 (r)
2 10-11 May Silverstone National CSCC Classic K Ford Falcon 6th C 2nd Warm, dry 1.11.884 (r)
2a 10-11 May Silverstone National CSCC Swingers TVR Tuscan 8th G 6th Warm, dry 1.09.697 (r) DT
3 17 - 18 May Silverstone GP International Trophy HSCC HTC Ford Falcon 5th 2nd Warm, dry / slippery 2.46.071
4 26-29 June Spa Francorchamps Summer Classic Roadbook / CSCC TVR Tuscan 4th
2nd
3rd
2nd
Race 1 dry, race 2 wet 3:02
5 12 - 13 July Castle Combe CSCC Swingers TVR Tuscan 2nd G 1st Warm, dry  
6 24 -27 July Silverstone Classic HSCC / Masters Ford Falcon 17th & dnf n/a Warm and sunny  
7 2 - 3 August Anglesey coastal CSCC Swingers TVR Tuscan dnf crashed Wet P Dry R  
8 30 - 31 August Donington CSCC Classic K Ford Falcon dnf blew up Warm and dry  
9 18 - 21 Sept Angoulême FISC GT6 4th & 3rd n/a Very hot and dry  

    CSCC Swinging Sixties Class structure for 2014

Class A - Up to 1400cc
Class B - 1401cc to 1600cc
Class C - All 4 cylinder cars over 1600cc
Class K - All Swinging Sixties Group One cars running on Dunlop Historic Tyres (Grantura)
Class I  - Invitation class for Swinging Sixties Group One Cars
Class D - All 6 cylinder cars up to 3000cc (GT6)
Class E - Cars over 3000cc
Class F - All Swinging Sixties Group Two cars running on Dunlop Historic Tyres (Falcon)
Class G - Cars with original V8 engines (Tuscan)
Class H - All Lotus cars (Seven, Elite, Elan, etc.). Lotus Sevens only, have a mandatory pitstop of 30 seconds. Any race winner penalty will be added to this.
Class M - All Marcos Volvo-engined cars
Class J - Invitation class for Swinging Sixties Group Two Cars

 

12th April 2014 - Snetterton 300 - CSCC Classic K   Ford Falcon

Quite a few changes made to the car over the winter but not really any that would affect performance so I was not really expecting much change from 2013. It was a dry but cool day for the 27 car field for what was really the first round of the reborn Classic K series and I know that the CSCC were delighted to have five MGBs given that they have a number up "up to 2 litre" series that they can race in. The car was good, the brakes had better balance than before (I have fitted slightly smaller rear wheel cylinders) and the tick-over is far better since a quick tune-up session on Chris Conoley's rolling road at Great Gransden.

Practice I qualified in 8th position quite a bit shy of the front runners; on the up side I was the fastest Touring car which was pleasing; it's quite a loosely policed series so you don't really know what everyone is running and it's not even mandatory for the car to have an FIA HTP so long as it has CSCC Vehicle IID to show it's more-or-less an Appendix K car.

The low-light of the practice session was Joe Ward planting his freshly rebuilt TVR Grantura (known as Fred) into the Armco at the start of the Bentley Straight on just the second lap; it had extensive bodywork and suspension damage and will be out of action for a couple of months at least.

The Race A rolling start and the full 300 circuit which at nearly 3 miles means 2:25 laps; not so interesting for Dave and Stack in the pits but livened up by the somewhat offensive pit signals I was given! I had a pretty solitary race really with just a bit of lapping and an hour long chase of the Gray/Gray E-Type but I never really got in striking distance of it. There were quite a few retirements too but mostly behind which didn't really help!  The main excitement (unseen by me) was a fairly substantial fire in the pit lane where an E-Type had a fuel line come off on of its carburettors and created quite a conflagration which was very quickly dealt with but did cause the retirement of the car.

I was first to stop and my  pit stop was OK but we do need to make it better as an extra 5 seconds would really help...next time out is Silverstone on the National circuit which is not the greatest one to drive on but may suit the Falcon a bit better than the twiddly Snetterton 300 one.


Self and the Falcon once back home

 

Full table of results http://tsl-timing.com/cscc/2014/141564cks.pdf

 

11th April 2014 - Silverstone National - CSCC Classic K and CSCC Swinging Sixties Group 2  Ford Falcon & TVR Tuscan

A full on race weekend with both the V8s up at Silverstone for the CSCC's 2014 visit to Northamptonshire. Both cars were ready but first time out for the Tuscan since we made loads of suspension tweaks and sorted out the ride heights. Also a major change on the Falcon which was fittinng newly reconditioned brake back plates on the rear.  The old ones were really worn on the ridges/humps where the shoes sit and I think it was causing the shoes to not sit on the drums properly under braking.

Also notice the cars now have black delimiter tape round the numbers - a new rule for white cars; a rule nobody else seems to have bothered about.


The Ford Falcon and TVR Tuscan ready to go for the May 2014 CSCC Silverstone meeting

Race 1 Classic K  Practice was very damp and whilst not wet, the track was terribly slippery and greasy. The car seemed fine although I qualified quite a way down in 9th place. The session was relatively drama free but too slow; I really struggle with damp conditions in this car.

The Race however was awesome; it was dry and ward and I was able to take quite a few places off the line and more over the next 3 laps until I was comfortably up to 2nd play behind the Gray/Gray E-Type Jaguar. At this point something a bit naughty happened. There were franticly waved double-yellow flags on the Wellington Straight and I slowed down but the King Mustang went flying past at high speed on the inside totally ignoring the flags; I was expecting him to get at least a stop-go penalty but nothing for the whole race.  Anyway, I was comfortably in 3rd place for lap after lap and came in, as one of the first cars, at just 20 minutes for the mandatory pit stop which was actually the second fastest stop of the race; I rolled out in about 12th place.

As the race progressed I moved back up to 3rd as cars either pitted or withdrew from the race. By 45 minutes the handling however was getting very wayward, not helped by being walloped by an MGB who completely out-braked himself at Luffield. It badly damaged the front of the Falcon and the bumper was hanging on at a jaunty angle. I managed to hang on for 6th place as the car's handling got worse and worse and the front left wheel finally locked up as I drove into the pit garage at the end of the race. I think the chap in the MGB was later excluded from the results but I notice he was also noted on the bulletin for exceeding track limits so that might have been why.

Post race inspection showed a completely failed front left wheel bearing such that the wheel was only held on by the brake disc rotating in the caliper, in fact the pads were welded to the caliper too and had to be freed off with a lump hammer and cold chisel. Both components were completely wrecked along with the stub-axle/upright unit (known as a spindle) and the lower ball joint which had been worn away by the disc rubbing against it.


Damaged Falcon caliper...the disc was sawing through the iron body but keeping the wheel on!


And the spindle showing all that was left of the bearing cage and tracks; the brake disc hub has chewed into the threaded end of the stub axle too.

Full table of results Classic K http://www.tsl-timing.com/cscc/2014/141964cks.pdf

Race 2 Swinging Sixties

Short summary: the car is still too slow but getting sooo much better!

This was the first time for quite a period that we decided to run two cars at one meeting; Dave was second driver but even so I had the one-hour Classic K meeting followed by this 40 minute pit stop race. The added weirdness is that I only have one Holley type air filter so that had to be swapped between the 2 cars as the day went by. Also it's really easy to forget simple things when running two cars, such as refuelling and tyre pressure checks.

It was really strange going from the no-grip Falcon to the very grippy Tuscan exacerbated by the ways the different engines work. The Falcon has a proper, snappy full-race 4.7 litre small block for engine developing wads of power and instant throttle response whereas the Tuscan has a modified 5.0 litre road version of the engine that I bought on eBay for £600 (really). It just does not have the get-up-and-go that the Falcon has so you can just mash your foot to the floor as soon as the corner allows and just hang on all the way through. Do that in the Falcon and you'll be heading backwards!

For practice it was slightly damp and Dave went out first and did a good, solid 20 minute session which gave us an idea that the pesky Camaros in our class would be way ahead! I took over and only went marginally faster but very happy that the extensive mods we had made over the winter had made a big improvement to the previously dangerous snap-oversteer that I am sure was caused by the front suspension bottoming out on the chassis. Revised ride heights (to keep the roll centres similar), all new springs and a much stiffer front anti-roll bar have all made a difference.  All it needs now is a Falcon engine!

The Race was not the greatest however I took the start and we made up a few places. I was pretty tired and watching the in-car camera I am certainly not as smooth as I would like to be. If you watch one of Dave's laps back-to-back with one of mine you can see that Dave is much less ragged but the same speed!  I am still not 100% sure the car was running on all its cylinders all the time as it did feel rough from time to time but maybe that's just a racer's excuse. We still have to find a couple more seconds to get close to the old TR7V8's times but that'll come...soon.

The race was pretty much event-free and we had a great pit stop, again making up loads of time on other teams. We finished 8th after qualifying 11th so a good result given the truly awesome power of the front 4 running Chevrolets.  Dave managed to go quicker than me which was great and I hope he can keep getting quicker and can get us up at the front.


Dave returning to the pits in the TVR Tuscan at Silverstone after the two-driver, CSCC Swinging Sixties race (note the LED identifier lights)

 

 

Full table of results Swinging Sixties http://www.tsl-timing.com/cscc/2014/141964c60.pdf

 

18th May 2014 - Silverstone GP - HSCC Historic Touring Cars  Ford Falcon


The '64 Falcon with its new, hand-made aluminium bumpers in place (I raced as number 115)

It was a truly huge effort to get the Falcon ready for this meeting following the very serious damage caused when the wheel bearing failed in the CSCC Classic K race just a week beforehand. I have a few people to thank for making this happen; clearly Dave and Stack helped get the car ready and it involved a lot of work from both those guys so thanks very much to you. So the car needed;

Anyway the car was ace, handling was good, brakes were good and I was very pleased with it. We did fit a different, slightly taller, final drive ratio for practice but it did not seem any better than the normal one I use so I refitted the 'normal' one for the race. I had a great (rolling) start and made up quite a few places over the next laps then had a great 2 lap battle with Roger Godfrey in his mighty little mini before he pulled away slightly leaving me to have a great race with a Hillman Imp which was very close and very enjoyable. Alas a naughty Imp had wee weed all over the track and made the racing line terribly slippery which was a real pain and caused horrendous wheel spin especially joining the Wellington Straight. the lap times were not terribly impressive (err...slow) but I really enjoyed it and the car was pretty much faultless.  I finished 5th overall and 2nd in Class resulting being awarded a very nice trophy; a good day out especially as the rain stayed away. the next time out for the car is the Silverstone Classic in July.

The best thing was scrutineering (weird I know). This was because I have spent a small bucket of cash on the car recently, particularly on the billet steel engine pulleys and the alloy front and rear bumpers as mandated following the FIA inspection at the Silverstone Classic in 2013. Both these were commented upon by the MSA Scrutineer who said they were beginning to clamp down on some of the more obvious things that people have done over the years to modify their cars. Interestingly he noticed that the front suspension turret struts on my car are welded and apparently they should be bolted on. That's a good thing as I thought they were supposed to be welded so next time the engine is out I'll cut them off and get a bolt on ones as it's really tricky getting the engine in with them in place; it'll really help!

As you can see, the car's looking pretty good at the moment so fingers crossed it stays like that for a while at least!

Start of race on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUuVlRny1bw

Full table of HSCC International results  http://www.hscc.org.uk/images/Results_Silverstone_Int._2014.pdf

27th to 29th June 2014 - Spa Francorchamps - CSCC Swinging Sixties TVR Tuscan

Once or twice a year we make the trip to the Ardennes region of Belgium and to the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. It's a 7km delight with a wide, smooth surface ideal for modern F1 cars and our older mounts! It's widely regarded as as one of the truly great circuits in the world with fast and slow corners, hills, drops and the truly awesome Eau Rouge / Radillon corner sequence.

The event was the annual Spa Summer Classic which is a relatively low-key three-day meeting with all practice/qualifying on Friday and then races on Saturday and Sunday. The CSCC had managed to fill two races one for Classic K/Swinging Sixties  plus invited other clubs and then the other for Future Classics/Tin Tops/Sevens etc. which was an impressive feat given that meant 130-or-so cars. It does not attract quite the numbers that attend the Six-Hours of Spa but it's still pretty good.

I had no real expectation of doing well and based on 2013 pace was expecting to be well down the grid and well down in the race results. Added to this the weather forecast looked seriously bad for the weekend with heavy rain predicted from Friday lunchtime and for the remainder of the meeting. Our view was we could be lucky with practice (early Friday morning) but then should expect full-on wetness.

We arrived mid afternoon on Thursday after a very pleasant ferry trip (we usually take the Euro Tunnel). This time I brought the BMW X3 30D as the towing vehicle this time rather than the RV and we had decided to camp in the easy-up shelter in the paddock as we had a couple of years previously. Normally, rather than the X3, I would have used the Defender and used that as my bedroom too, however both the power steering pump and air mass meter had failed so that option was out! As it transpired, the X3 is a truly awesome tow car and Stack maintained a nice even speed all the way there and back despite the huge hills that normally slow the RV to a snail's pace.

Mid journey I received a call from a troubled Steve Adams who had just arrived (but was not quite at the circuit) because he had suffered a failure of sorts on his RV where it had dumped all its auto transmission fluid on the ground leaving him stranded. I managed to buy 5 litres of AT oil at a petrol station and told him to wait for us and let it cool right down in case it was simply an overheat 'burp'. On our arrival in the paddock Steve was able to shoot off on the mighty Wolfitt scooter with the oil and later came back to get the BMW so he could collect his trailer and Spitfire. Once the oil was put in the RV it seemed OK and he brought that in too. I cut my own hair while he did all that...really.

The weather held and we were able to set up in the dry then after a rather protracted scrutineering (caused by insufficient scrutineers being available) we had a very nice early evening other than the annual 'attack-of-the-mozzies' that afflicts Mr Thompson; duly we retired to the brasserie. Why is there nothing like this bar at Silverstone? It has a fabulous balcony and you can sup Jupiler while admiring the views and the track action.

Friday morning practice was great; completely dry and a really warm track in bright sunshine. The car felt superb with loads of grip and phenomenally improved balance from 2013. The fastest lap we (Dave actually) had managed in 2013 was 3:10 but I managed to get down to 3:02 and may well have even got a 3:01 had I not fluffed the exit from the chicane on my final flying lap. In a grid of about 65 cars I qualified 12th and was very pleased.


Dave started downloading his camera footage but then found the 2013 Six-Hours-of-Spa grid girls gallery...

Race 1, Saturday. As usual for Spa it was a rolling start with cars still coming through the chicane when the lights went green; I had an excellent start and was able to move left on the run to La Source and made up several places before squirreling through Eau Rouge and Rivage on relatively cold tyres. Amazingly it was dry and although the TVR only has a modified road engine (£600 on eBay) it has excellent torque and no flat spots so pulls like a train and as the first few laps unfolded I was able to make up more places. The pit stop was ably assisted by our Spa pit crew of Stacky and Dicky King and was super-fast gaining me a couple more places. By the last couple of laps it had started to rain but I was now up to 3rd overall but had the Classic K, Gray/Gray E-Type bearing down on me after their rather less speedy pit stop had cost them a couple of places. The E-Type sneaked past on the entry to the chicane on the last lap bumping me down to 4th overall but still 3rd in the Swinging Sixties race behind the Luke Wos/Chas Mallard Corvette that finished in 1st and Simon Lane's Camaro in 2nd. I was truly delighted as I had expected no more than 10th so over-excited podium celebrations ensued.

Race 2, Sunday. The rain fell and fell all night and it was still coming down, although less heavily, by the green lights; this is where it really helps being up at the front of the grid where spray is much less an issue. I was soon up into 3rd because the Gray/Gray E-Type being an FIA Appendix K car was on Dunlop Historic tyres so had far less grip in the wet than the Swinging Sixties cars which all run on Yokohama A048r radials. I did all I could to hang on to the tail of Simon Lane's Camaro but I slowly lost contact and was a few hundred metres behind by the pit stop. Also by then I had been passed by another 2 E-Types and the Conway V8 Morgan so pitted in 6th place and came out in 10th after another lightning fast pit. Crucially, I came in well behind Simon Lane and went out well in front of him.

Once everyone else in the race had made their mandatory pit stop I was comfortably 2nd in Class and 2nd overall behind the leading Luke Wos/Chas Mallard Corvette. All I needed to do was keep the other quick cars (specifically Simon's Camaro and the Conway V8 Morgan) behind me. On the penultimate lap Simon caught me on the entry to the chicane and tried to go round the outside on the sharp right hand bend but I reduced his ability to have a full width of track to use and he ran very wide; to add to his woes he then spun using too much right foot trying to rejoin the track. For the final lap the Morgan closed me down but I managed to finish in front and claim 2nd place along with another trip to the podium.

The only down-side for the meeting was the excessive noise and loud music in the paddock in the evening/night with several drunken groups partying hard late into the night regardless of other people who had earlier races and were in bed. Pretty inconsiderate and a poor show really. I'll have the RV next time so maybe I'll be more insulated from the noise!


Spa Summer Classic 2014 trophy haul!

13th July 2014 - Castle Combe - CSCC Swinging Sixties TVR Tuscan

Bumpy or what? I had forgotten quite how savage the surface of the Wiltshire wonderland actually is and I was nearly sick during practice but more on that later. Dave and I trundled down to the Castle Inn at Castle Combe on Saturday afternoon with enough time for a pint of something down in the village; we waited and watched the ancient and amazing church clock mechanism strike 6pm before buying lemon cake from a front door stall.

Back to the paddock for al-fresco spicy meatballs with veg and we were joined by resting Spitfire-ace, Andy Vowell as our special guest diner; lovely bottle of Douro then an aged Rioja. Ace.

I had the feeling that 2nd place at Spa whilst marvelous, was possibly a bit of a fluke and given that I'd had almost no chance at all to prepare the TVR wasn't over-hopeful of a stellar performance.  The only work I managed to do on the car was a quick check-over of fluids and new bungee on the seatbelt lap strap!

The race was late in the day so we had a nice relaxed morning putting the car and suits through scrutineering which was typically uneventful and then made the mistake of having the full-monty fry-up in the RV. The weather was basically warm but with very light showers from time to time which dried very quickly and certainly did not constitute rain other than one 10 minute sustained burst of precipitation.

Practice The morning's events were suddenly curtailed by an incident in the Tin Tops practice which left the barrier needing to be repaired but we were out just a little late with Dave taking the Tuscan out of the busy pit lane onto the bumpiest bit of Wiltshire there is. The practice had been shortened to just 25 minutes and whilst Dave seemed to be going OK we called him in at 12 minutes after he'd done about 8 laps. I jumped in and went for it now that the car was warm and I do like this circuit. I managed to get us up to 4th on the grid by the time the chequered flag was displayed from the giant red ice cream cone. The bad bit had been the savage bumps following the fry-up and I very nearly regurgitated my breakfast down my front during the session but was able to swallow it back down...very nasty.

The car is still not as quick as the old TR7V8 but it does have 75 BHP less and annoyingly for a GRP car, weights in at 50Kg more. It does seem easier to drive but that might just be because of the lower power output.

Dave did not enjoy the session at all and decided not to drive in the race; I know that he has never really liked Castle Combe it's not to everyone's liking. On the up side it always has decent spectator numbers and large parts of the track are visible from the viewing points but on the down side has very basic toilet/shower facilities, the track is very bumpy, the pit lane is not good and there are some pretty dangerous corners with no run-off to save you.

The race A standing start from 4th on the grid which at the last minute turned into 3rd on the grid when the bright yellow Southcott/Soutcott MG Midget stalled, would not restart and was pushed to the infield. As is often the case I had a good start and was running in 3rd place when on the first lap the leading Daniels/Gough Marcos 3000 (driven by Ian Daniels) spun 180 degrees coming out of Bobbies, the second chicane. He had completely messed up his line and missed the second part of the chicane completely, pitching the car violently sideways as it traversed the grass. The Wager/Wager Mini darted right to avoid a collision and I followed; alas the yellow Lotus Elan behind us must have been unsighted because he piled straight into it head-on. We got to see that aftermath the following lap and it was not pretty. Both cars very badly damaged and GRP shards scattered everywhere on the track. 

Wager and I charged on but I was passed by the Conway V8 Morgan at Quarry on lap 2. Unsurprisingly the safety car boards were soon displayed but not just because of the Marcos-mess but because of a big incident further back on lap 1 where a Midget has spun and collected a Lotus Cortina. The fuel tank on the MG had split causing a substantial fire; the first fire I have seen in a race for many years.

We then had 10 minutes behind the safety car which meant the pit stop window would be open before the race restart. I made a conscious decision to wait for Dave and Andy to signal me in rather than gusss a strategy. I was called in after one more lap and came down the pit lane with loads of other cars but was cleverly boxed by Dave right by the pit exit so I would be at the front of any queue. The whole lot of us were held for over a minute as the race was restarted...ideally I had needed another lap of safety car.

I rejoined in 8th place having pitted in 3rd. Loads of drivers still had pit stops to make however and I managed to get back up to 2nd overall with 5 laps still to go. The Wager mini was a minute ahead and I was 12 seconds ahead of 3rd the placed Tim Cairns car; this actually made me 1st place in the Group 2 race.

Really great result and the car was faultless again. Makes up a bit for it being so bad in 2013.

Unfortunately there were quite a few badly damaged cars this time which is actually quite rare for Swinging Sixties. Next race: The Silverstone Classic in the Falcon.

 

24th - 27th July - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Masters Mustang Celebration races  Ford Falcon

Possibly the busiest period of my life at the moment; plenty going on with my real job and loads going on with racing too. Luckily more than one car in my workshop so the fact that I did manage to get the Falcon damaged at Silverstone, the next meeting was with the Tuscan at Anglesey...more on that later

The Silverstone Classic continues to grow year on year and now that the daft celebrity race has been dropped it leaves more time for proper racing. The number of professional drivers being attracted to the event has grown too which has made the thing more competitive than ever and notably there are probably more multi-car team-prepared cars there now than privateer ones like us. 

As 2013 the race was run by the Masters Racing organisation and was billed as the Mustang Celebration Trophy given that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang; clearly there were not enough racing 'stangs to fill the grid so the remaining slots were filled up with Falcons, a Galaxie plus various other touring cars from the U2TC series. With such drivers as ex F1 driver and Le Mans winner Jackie Oliver and current BTCC ace Gordon Sheddon in the field I was not hopeful of repeating my grid position from 2013 and I was right! I qualified in 17th place in a 55 car field. Reasonably happy with that especially given I felt I was 2nd in my unofficial "privateer" class with only Chas Mallard in his genuine Shelby Mustang being quicker.

The only real incident was that I had a huge spin right at the end of qually on the way out of Copse and managed to stop the car just inches from the Armco! I have spun there before and it's surprising how quickly that concrete and metal wall looms up in the rear view mirror.

 


Touring car line-up in the Silverstone Wing garages.    Silverstone Classic 2014

Race 1. Good start and I made up 1 place only to lose 3 or 4 over the next two laps! A reasonably entertaining race with a couple of Lotus Cortinas for most of the race an I ended up splitting them to finish in 16th place. There were a few drop-outs including Greg Thornton 'parking' his '64 notchback Mustang heavily into the wall of the National pits...it made quite a mess of the car and his chaps were unable to fix it in time for the second race because of a split in the steering box internals. Race 2. Last race of the day with a rolling start based on race 1 finishing position, I was up to 10th when a Mustang jammed itself into the passenger door, dnf. Darn it.

A bit annoying especially as the errant driver who was behind me for the start of the race due to finishing lower down the order, had asked me to be careful with his 'new' car! At least he came over after the race to offer sincere apologies - he had been able to continue although his car took far more damage than mine.

 


Damage to the Falcon caused by an errant Ford Mustang in Race 2...very annoying

Highlights of the meeting were watching Group C (as per 2013) from the top of the Silverstone Six grandstand while supping champagne, Canned Heat on the music stage and just being part of the biggest classic car racing event in the world.

The lowlight for everyone was the death of Healey guru Denis Welch who was involved in a coming together of cars in the pre-66 Grand Prix car race. Very sad but it's a risk we all take and accept every time we get in our cars. There is an apposite line in the film 'Grand Prix' which is from the character Jean-Pierre Sarti: "The danger? Well, of course. But you are missing a very important point. I think if any of us imagined - really imagined - what it would be like to go into a tree at 150 miles per hour we would probably never get into the cars at all, none of us. So it has always seemed to me that to do something very dangerous requires a certain absence of imagination." Sincere condolences to his family.

A couple of weeks later there was a one hour Silverstone Classic highlights TV show on ITV4 which had a few minutes coverage of the Mustang Celebration race...it'll probably be on YouTube soon if you missed it!

Dave found this wonderful E-Type in the auction; an ideal size for him as later demonstrated by Martin...

 

 

 

2nd August 2014 - Anglesey (Coastal) - CSCC Swinging Sixties  TVR Tuscan

I had high hopes for Anglesey after the annoying passenger door damage to the Falcon at the Silverstone Classic and given it is such a long way I wanted to put in a good performance. There was not a huge amount to do on the TVR since the Castle Combe outing so prep was relatively easy and the long drag of about 250 miles to the circuit passed relatively easily. We arrived in the paddock late in the evening and parked up right behind our allotted garage. 

The rain was heavy overnight and the car was very full of water by the time we dropped it off the trailer (I forgot the outdoor car cover again) and we did a bit of last minute prep (mostly drying out and cleaning) before getting it through scrutineering. We also fitted the wet weather tyres (same as the dry ones just slightly newer).

Practice was very wet and as usual Dave went out first and slithered his way round the wet ribbon of tarmac for 15 minutes before I signalled him in (some of it was under safety car so not a great session for him). For such a long track with relatively few cars it was surprisingly busy but somehow I managed to go quickest of all and recorded the car's first pole position ever! Really excellent, especially given how bad the car used to be in the wet.

The race should be consigned to the bin. Basically I lead from the start but crashed into the corner of the pit wall at the end of the first lap having just touched the inside kerb and unbalanced the car on its cold tyres. The track was 100% dry and I just over-cooked it coming onto the start/finish straight. Smack!

The car was a real mess with the whole front left corner of the bonnet ripped off, the radiator and fans crushed and the chassis extensions which hold the bonnet folded flat. Dave and some other folk dragged it up onto the trailer while I spent 20 minutes in the medical vehicle being checked over. That afternoon we scootered off to the local beach for a paddle in the sea and then on to Rhosneigr for an ice cream and some Welsh cakes. A pretty rubbish race performance on my part really and Dave never got to drive. He was a bit miffed I think.


Anglesey TVR damage...

CSCC Swinging Sixties at Anglesey crash: http://youtu.be/jKRrdfYmAFo

Later on, a surfeit of pasta arrabbiata was enjoyed by many in one of Wales' finest coastal restaurants

 

Since the event I have cut the front off the chassis and reshaped all the bonnet mounts, ordered another special alloy radiator (ouch) and bought more paint. Dave has done a truly amazing job of re-building the bonnet and spent several days with pots of resin and loads of matting putting it right again. We may be out again this year but I am minded to call it a year for the TVR and wait for 2015.

 
Dave using his fabulous repair skills on the TVR Tuscan bonnet after the Anglesey lap 1 smash

 

 


JW delighted to learn that the CSCC is returning to Anglesey in 2016

 

31st August 2014 - Donington - CSCC Classic K  Ford Falcon

A lot of work getting the car ready following the passenger door damage from the Silverstone Classic.  Pretty uneventful practice following a traumatic morning where the car failed scrutineering because the brake lights did not work. The banjo bolt pressure switch in the brake line had failed and I did not have a spare so I dashed down the the National Kit Car show that was being run at the Donington Park exhibition centre but no luck. In fact as shows go it was pretty rubbish for parts! I then started walking the paddock in search of a tee piece to let in a pressure-triggered brake switch that Dave had in his spares kit. I could only find a metric one but that was close enough and the lights were working again after a load of work.  Just in time.  I qualified in 9th for the one hour race with Dave (sharing his TVR Grantura with Chris Conoley) in 11th.

The race was better and I managed to make up a place before a massive plume of smoke emitted from the back of the car as I came out of Redgate corner while running in 8th place but after only 15 minutes. The engine had failed; first major engine failure for over 15 years. Not great especially as Dave's Grantura overheated 20 minutes later and he was out too.

Not good as that's the Falcon out for 2014.

 

21st September 2014 - Angoulême - FISC Legendary Circuits  Triumph GT6

It has been over a year since I last took the GT6 out to play on the track so I thought I'd address that. Once a year the ancient city of Angoulême in the Bordeaux region of France holds a historic race meeting on the old street circuit that runs around the city walls and up past the cathedral. There are now only two city centre race tracks in Europe, this one and Monte Carlo in Monaco; Angouleme, however, remains unchanged since holding its first race in 1939.

It was on new year's day that I decided that it was about time I made my way to this historic event and none of my cars suits it better than the Mk2 GT6 that I originally constructed from a pile of parts rescued from a horse box in 2005.

The circuit is unique. It's not long at 0.8 miles (really) but has a really fast and bumpy section through some very savage stone kerbs and passes over a slight rise that makes the car go very light on its suspension and skip sideways. It's certainly unique in its approach to safety and I can only imagine that it's akin to parts of the Isle-of-Man TT course which I have driven many times on holiday but never at race speeds.

The actual racing takes place on one Sunday in September each year and typically has 8 races for various types of car ranging from the 1920s up to about 1980 although the actual eligibility for each race seems a bit vague to us mere competitors. Interestingly there is a road rally on the Saturday and it was quite surprising the number of cars that do both events. I entered the 'FISC Legendary Circuits' grid which was the only one to have two 25 minute races as well as a 25 minute practice session first thing in the morning; it's a GT and sports car race for cars that the organiser feels are in the spirit of the series.

It's fair to say that I slept pretty badly on Saturday night. I have been competing for 25 years and have done hundreds of races but a new circuit with absolutely no run-off anywhere still concentrates the mind. Where at Silverstone there is a wide track with run-off areas with gravel traps and tyre walls, Angouleme has narrow, bumpy streets, huge 90 degree pavement-style kerbs, lamp posts, houses and trees. It's nuts. I was pretty cautious for the 8 O'clock practice session and the car didn't feel quite right. It was already about 20 degrees C and we were the very first cars out so every corner was slippery from dew and everything was new to me. The surface is incredibly bumpy except for the start-finish straight which had been freshly resurfaced (apparently it used to be appallingly rutted) and the walls seem incredibly close. The car would not pull well and I qualified in 12th place (from 17 cars) behind a number of cars running on historic tyres. Right in from of me on the grid was Dave Thompson (erstwhile TSSC GT6 racer) in his fabulous 1963 TVR Grantura.

After the session I was told that the car sounded rough so I gave the car a quick check over and noticed that the rotor arm (new) had been hitting the distributor cap contacts (also new) and there was quite a bit of carbon dust. I cleaned the whole lot and hit the start button. Wham! What a difference; it was like having an extra cylinder to use!

 
Cornering hard at Angoulême in 2014 in the Triumph GT6             
Photo: Noreen Wolfe

I took up my 12th slot on the grid and then had one of the very worst starts of my entire racing life. I was mucking about with my watch then forgot that the start is indicated by raising the flag and not dropping the flag; everyone pulled away for the start and I was still in neutral...I left the grid in about 15th place.

The race was scheduled in the programme as 25 minutes however as I was sitting on the grid I heard the commentator clearly say (in French) that the race duration would be 17 laps so I assumed it had been shortened in length due to the later start caused by an earlier incident that lost 15 minutes of track time. I had a truly excellent race as the car was so much better than it had been in practice and I was able to reel in drivers one after the other with some pretty hairy overtaking into the Conker Tree Hairpin. There was a single retirement up towards the front of the race and by the flag, after 25 minutes not 17 laps, I was in 4th position and delighted. I didn't really make any mistakes and was able to avoid everyone apart from slight contact with a Austin Healey 'Monza' Sprite in a rather silly overtaking move on his part as he recovered back to 3rd after spinning off. After the event I was confirmed as being in 3rd place which nobody really understands but that's France for you! 

Watch, in-car, the entire 1st race here:  http://youtu.be/xxzMx40qdzQ


Braking the GT6 into the Conker Tree hairpin after the straight                 Photo: Noreen Wolfe

The second race just 2 hours later was formed up on the grid in race 1 finishing order and I was able to make up places and ended up on the podium in 3rd place. Every single person I spoke to after the race was certain I was in 2nd place including the podium marshal; however the presenter of the awards was sure that a French guy was 2nd and I was 3rd. Hey ho! The other slight oddity was that the chap in 2nd was in a Lotus 7...until we had a closer look when we realised it was actually a modern Ford Zetec engined Westfield but with Lotus badges! Brilliant BRM trophy and fabulous bottle of Courvoisier XO Imperial to make up however.

Because of my finishing position I was asked to join the 15 minute finale race which was really good fun but I finished well down the field due to the number of more modern (and faster) machinery that had done well in the other races. The highlight of the finale was that the grid was formed in the order that we arrived at the collecting area. Priceless!

A truly outstanding event with thousands of spectators lining the course; fabulous cars in each of the races and I have never seen so many GP Bugattis in one place at the same time. At some point, we'll be back.

If you want to see some in-car from Race 1 look on YouTube http://youtu.be/xxzMx40qdzQ or search for GT6 Angouleme; there are a few other racing videos of mine on there, notably from in the GT6 at Monza and on the Nordschleife.


Dave leaning the hard through the Angouleme top hairpin in the '63 Grantura                      Photo: Noreen Wolfe


Angoulême 2014. The hairpin before the start-finish straight.

A "mélange de carrosserie" is how the French commentator described the GT6 during the second of Sunday's FISC races at Angoulême. It basically means it's a mess/blend of bodywork. Hmm.

 


The official 2014 poster for the event.

 

 

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Dave, Falcon and Stack post the Snetterton 300 round of the 2014 CSCC Classic K series