Tuscan Lotus Elan Grantura
FIA Appendix K rules CSCC 2023 official calendar
|2023 Race & other dates and results|
|#||Date||Venue / Event||
Club & Series
|Car||Result o/a||Class result||Weather/comment||Results|
|24 25 26 Feb||Stoneleigh Park||Race Retro Show||n/a||Maybe|
|Tues 14 Mar||Snetterton 300||CSCC test day||Tuscan||Entered|
|1||26 March||Snetterton 300||
|Cold. Wet practice, dry races||
SS fastest lap o/a and driver of the Day
|2||1 April||Brands Hatch Indy||Equipe Libre 2 x 30 mins||Lotus Elan||6th
|Damp practice, 2 x cold and dry races||
Race 1 results
Race 2 results
CSCC Classic K
|Warm and dry x 4||
SS pdf book
SS pole and fastest lap in class
|4||27 28 May||Silverstone GP||
|Warm and dry x 2||
SS pdf book
|3 4 June||Brands Hatch Indy||JW Not racing||JW not racing|
|1 2 July||Anglesey Coastal||JW Not racing||JW not racing|
|5||8 July||Donington||Equipe Libre 1 x 40 mins||Lotus Elan||13th||2nd||Very,very wet||
Equipe Libre results
Equipe Libre pdf book
|6||5 6 August||Donington GP||
SS pdf book
|28th August||Mallory Park/Castle Combe||JW Not racing||JW not racing|
|7||2 September||Cadwell Park||Equipe Libre 1 x 40 mins||Lotus Elan||7th||1st||20 degrees and dry|
|8||23 September||Oulton Park||CSCC Swingers||Tuscan||2nd (4th)||1st||18 degrees and dry
Combined with Future Classics
SS pdf book
|9||14 October||Croft||CSCC Swingers||Tuscan||2nd (3rd)||1st||Combined with Future Classics and Modern Classics||
SS pdf book
CSCC Swinging Sixties class structure for 2023
Class A - Up to 1000cc
Class B - 1001cc to 1400cc
Class C - 1001cc to 1400cc Minis + Derivatives
Class D - 1401cc to 1600cc
Class E - 1601cc to 2000cc (4 cylinder)
Class F - Group One cars running on Dunlop Historic Tyres
Class G - 2001cc to 3000cc (and 6 cylinder <2 litre)
Class H - Cars over 3000cc
Class L - Lotus cars (Seven, Elite, Elan etc.), Ginetta, Wooden-chassis Marcos
Class V - Cars with original V8 engines
Class I - Group Two cars running on Dunlop Historic Tyres
Pretty cold but remarkably dry for the races despite practice in the morning being damp and greasy on the track. For Swinging Sixties I had a new driving partner, that being Martyn Adams, long time Triumph racing pal and a driver I have shared with in the past at Cadwell and in a longer race on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. We struggled with both cars in the nasty track conditions and only managed 17th in Classic K and 14th in Swinging Sixties Group 2. Remarkably unremarkable sessions except I had a humungous spin on the Bentley straight at about 95mph when I hit oil deposited by a poorly Datsun 240z that was spreading its lube juice evenly all over the track. I just kissed the barrier on the front right hand side of the car and was very fortunate not to have done more damage.
Classic K As per normal, Dave went out first and that's really about all there is to say but he did remarkably well; the track had dried, Dave passed a few cars and there were a number of retirements that helped our overall position although Luke Wos in the Turner (and in our class) was way out ahead of us. I went second and didn't really improve much on Dave's times but I think I picked up a couple more places for us the finish 8th overall which was a most unexpected result. 2nd in class but way off the 1st placed car. Poo.
Swinging Sixties Given we were so far down the grid I wasn't overly optimistic about a good result, however as the track was now dry this game will always benefit power and torque! Basically I was on a mission and got us up to 3rd place by the pit stop (helped by a couple of retirements) and then Martyn managed to keep the pace up (as well as having a scary wobbly/slappy bit mid session) and we finished 2nd overall as Mark Campbell's race-leading, super-speed TR5 was retired following a bumpy off-track excursion that damaged the suspension or drive train. I was delighted to get driver of the day and post fastest lap of the race.
Great results given what it could have been if it had rained.
Martyn and Jon - 2nd place in Swinging Sixties Group 2 at Snetterton after starting 14th on the grid
From Marcus Pye's race report : Osborne added Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 2 victory to his haul, towards a minute clear of Jon Wolfe’s thuggish five-litre TVR Tuscan, which gave the intrepid Martyn Adams a hairy second stint. Fastest lap was Wolfe’s 2:15.108 (79.10mph). Wyndham’s Jaguar completed the podium, pursued by Steve Hodges’ Lotus 7 S2 and the Triumph TR6 of Bailey Frost - who engaged Roy Chamberlain’s TR250 energetically in the early stages - and Dave McDonald. Duel of the race saw John Leslie’s Reliant Sabre 6 eclipse Chris Blewett’s diminutive Ginetta G12 by 0.309s.
My first foray into the Equipe Classic racing club and it was a chilly double header at Brands Hatch on the short, 1.2 mile Indy circuit. We had expected a totally wet weekend following days of rain and a dreadful forecast and had a thoroughly wet drive down on Friday evening including a two hour delay at the M11 junction of the M25 with a couple of incidents having occurred in the heavy rain and Friday evening traffic.
The first time out for the Lotus Elan since the magnificent class victory at Spa in the 3 hour race in 2022 and it hadn't really needed a huge amount of prep to get it ready, we changed the final drive to a shorter ratio to better suit the circuit but that was about it other than normal checks and good clean! Practice on Saturday morning was quite late on and given that the rain had mostly abated the track had a slightly drier line than had been experienced by previous practice sessions. I was running as high as 3rd fastest until everyone got in the groove and I dropped a number of places eventually qualifying in 11th place but given that was mid field that was OK by me. There was quite a good variety of cars in the race and another Elan who was ahead of me and was a useful benchmark. It's always interesting to race with a new group of people as you really don't know their or their cars' capabilities.
Race 1 - Saturday late afternoon
Brands Hatch is a tricky grid to undertake a standing start from because of the steep left to right slope on the track all down the start-finish straight and I didn't have a great get away; I probably lost another 3 places before the first corner. I then had a truly great race to get up to 7th place and was just about keeping pace with a black Jaguar E-Type although it was a good 10 seconds ahead. I had a pretty near coming-together with John Pearson in his huge big-block Chevrolet Stingray - he simply didn't see the tiny Elan! That black Jaguar expired at about 25 minutes and parked up by McLarens but just half a lap later the race was red flagged at about 26 minutes after the Austin Healey of Simon Parry-Williams got stuck in the kitty litter at Paddock Hill bend avoiding a spinning, pale blue MGB which I just about managed to avoid and sneak past on the inside, somewhat locked up on the brakes. That final situation made me 6th overall which I was pretty happy with.
Watch all this action the in-car race video highlights here
Race 2 - Sunday late morning
Less eventful but just as tough to get back to 6th after dropping a few too many places on the first laps. Another great race with the Triumph TR4 of Allan Ross-Jones who I managed to just about managed to get ahead of in both races. Good racing and the Elan was fab even on standing starts - if only it had been this good at Knockhill a couple of years back.
You have to love or hate that high speed Thruxton track and after a few years of visiting I have really come to love it. So much so that for this venture (first time there in 3 years) I decided to recruit the talents of pro racing driver and coach, Calum Lockie to help me get the thuggish five-litre TVR Tuscan (Marcus Pye's words) round and round as quickly as possible. It was a full day with both TVRs being used and the weather reports looked dreadful all week although smiliness abounded on the Sunday when it dawned fine and it stayed fine all day!
Combined Swingers groups 1 and 2 practice of 42 cars was first and I was somewhat taken aback by the overall crapness of the brakes. We'd found a really nasty problem after the Snetterton round in that the small spherical bearing in the centre of the brake balance bar had come loose on the threaded shaft meaning the brake balance was shot to bits. It needed quite a bit of work in Wolfitt HQ to get it fixed but it meant guessing where to set the front/rear bias and we (I) got it horribly wrong. The brakes had no feel sometimes and other times no actually stoppiness. Anyhow I got the thing up to 2nd overall on the grid and Calum duly got us into a very nice overall pole position with a lap about 2 seconds quicker than mine.
With the Grantura in Classic K we were in a much smaller race and, as usual, Dave was out on track first - I followed 15 minutes later and we were gridded up in 13th slot. It was a rather uneventful qually session but was nice to get some track space after the rather crowded Swinging Sixties one. I was definitely able to work on improved lines having reviewed the Tuscan Vbox data with Calum.
The Swinging sixties race was certainly memorable. I was unable to maintain the pole position and was soon in 2nd place not far behind the Hancock and Hancock Lotus Elan 26R but there had been a 4 car start line incident so there followed about 3 laps behind the safety car. Once that was over I was able to settle into 2nd place and despite several challenges from behind was able to stay there up to the pit stop at around 20 minutes. We had a truly superb stop (4th fastest of the race) which was really pleasing given that although we had never raced together we had spent quite a lot of time rehearsing the driver change over. Calum was immediately quick but was caught out by the brake issue which pitched the car into a low speed spin - alas the engine stalled. Incredibly unfortunately the little tiny steel snap ring that holds the starter pinion gear into the starter motor had failed (no idea how or why!) so the starter could not engage and the car would not restart. By total fluke there was another safety car just at that minute (John Davies had binned his Vitesse into the armco barrier at the pit entry) so Calum was able to get a push start from the marshalls but by then was back in 18th place. He then drove like a warrior to get us back to 13th and, due to the class leader being disqualified for overtaking 2 cars under the safety car, 2nd in class and therefore a trophy! Pretty good result although not the win we could/should/would have got.
How low can you actually sit in a car? Calum Lockie in the TVR Tuscan V8
Jon and Calum - 2nd in class in CSCC Swinging Sixties at Silverstone after starting in pole position
Broken starter pinion that cost us a load of places at Thruxton
The Classic K race was a better affair with car reliability although it was down on power from normal. We got a class win and beat all the cars we normally aim to be in front of but I reckon we would have been 1 to 2 seconds a lap quicker without the minor engine problem which was preventing the engine revving properly. That has already been addressed and we are sure it was simply an issue with the mechanical points triggered ignition system which was replaced with a better setup just a few days later.
Roll on the CSCC Silverstone Grand Prix meeting with races for Swinging Sixties and Classic K at the annual, huge HSCC meeting!
The unexpected 2nd in class trophy from the 2023 Thruxton Swinging Sixties race
The first time ever for CSCC Classic K and Swinging Sixties on the magnificent Silverstone GP circuit, nobody really liked the changes made in 2010 which cut out the Bridge section of the track and replaced it with the Village and Wellington Straight elements making it a mighty long track for us club racers.
Both cars were ready by the end of the week so Dave and I headed up to Silverstone on Friday evening despite the races not being until Sunday but we were expecting a 100% complement of team including a possible spectator appearance from Calum. We had a great day on Saturday basically doing not a lot except for setting up a nice paddock encampment area including a very long link from the runway area where we were parked, to a power hookup in the old paddock.
The HSCC (whose meeting this actually was) had chosen to operate from the old / historic pits rather than the impressive but rather sterile newer F1 paddocks complex and that gives us competitors way more space to operate from. For the Tuscan, because of the brake challenges at Thruxton I decided to run this race solo and was more than pleased that the weather looked dry for the entire weekend which is always a bonus for the mighty Ford V8 engined car.
Silverstone's paddock also rewards with loads of paddock space
2023 Silverstone GP Swinging Sixties - Jon and Stack pre-practice
Classic K was about 30 cars (rather fewer than the CSCC was hoping for) but with 4 in our class including the super fast Turner of Luke Wos and the usually quick Grantura of Joe Ward. It's a really great track that benefits from driver accuracy and it's amazing how other drivers just don't understand how to drive quickly round the track and we were happy with 18th on the grid. It was a 40 minute race this time (normally Classic K is and hour) and we had a relatively uneventful race finishing 12th overall but annoyingly 3rd in Class so no trophy for us this time.
Swinging Sixties was a lot more hectic with 56 cars taking to the track for practice. We had made a few changes to the brake setup following the issues at Thruxton and it certainly felt way better such that I stayed out on track for a full 25 minutes without needing any brake adjustments during the session and I managed to get up to 3rd on the grid behind a mighty fast Lotus Elan and a Ginetta G4. The race, as it turned out, was super-eventful.
Silverstone Swinging Sixties warm-up lap - Fitz-Simon, Wolfe and Barrow
I had a rather unfortunate coming together off the start line with the Halstead Ginetta G4 when he simply turned into the first corner without looking and wiped himself out of the race as I was already there alongside him. The Tuscan took a shunt to the steering rack and put a small bend into one of the front lower wishbone mounts resulting in difficulty turning right (see video). I also flat spotted both front tyres trying to avoid making the incident worse as the Ginetta slid across the front of the TVR; this dropped me to about 12th place but I then had a very enjoyable charge for 5 minutes back up to 4th place. We had our normal super-fast pit stop (2nd fastest of the race; just pipped by the always fast Ray Barrow) at the 17 minute mark and that basically gained me the overall lead of the race after everyone had done their stop. I had a terrific race end with Horatio Fitz-Simon in His Elan, who had done a pretty dreadful pit stop. We battled for the lead but he finally got me on the last lap after an incredibly annoying occurrence of the brake issue we had suffered at Thruxton which sent me too deep at Village corner.
It was a great team turn-out with Stack and Jared doing their thing in the paddock and the pit lane, it was great to have Jo, Penny, Tash, Noreen and Lisa with us too and even Calum popped in for tea and coaching!
The car chassis was all repaired within a week and also the brake pedal box had been apart, improved and back together with new Wilwood brake master cylinders replacing the generic, unbranded ones - I really hope this has fixed it now. That left just the bodywork to do and and also the repair of a significant crack found in the exhaust system where it looked like one of the tailpipes wanted to depart the car.
Race start click here (low def video from the VBOX as the HD camera wouldn't start)
Being chased by Martin Reynolds' Ford Mustang Mach 1 click here
The second time out this year for the tiny Lotus Elan and again with Equipe in their Libre race series. Lots of other Elans in the race and truly variable weather forecasts for the week beforehand left us expecting a very wet day at Donington Park with a lot of competition on track.
As it turned out we arrived on Friday afternoon to a largely empty main paddock and lovely bright sunshine allowing for an outdoor dinner under the quite busy landing flightpath of East Midlands airport. The aircraft are only about 700 feet altitude over the paddock and it's quite loud as they come in - I made a sensible note of ensuring that the ear plugs were available for sleep time! It was great that Martyn and Jo Adams were able to pop over for the evening where we heard about the tribulations of Martyn's Tuscan Challenge car.
Practice on Saturday morning was totally dry but only being 20 minutes I made sure I was first in the queue to go out on track.
Line-up for the 2023 Donington Equipe Libre practice session
I managed 12th on the grid - a bit lower than I would have liked but there were a few much more powerful cars out there and I was only 2 seconds off the front row speed so actually nothing to worry about although starting mid pack is always more tricky than being right up the front where I normally am in the TVR Tuscan V8. Unfortunately Cortina 112, pictured, didn't survive to the race which was a shame as we were pretty evenly matched.
By race time the heavens had opened and it was wet, wet, wet and I was acutely conscious that I had never been in the car in such conditions. I know it's a pretty tricky car in semi-damp greasy conditions but was a total unknown in the mini monsoon. As it turned out it's pretty darn good in the wet but I took it very carefully for a few laps to establish its characteristics before pushing on a bit. There were cars going off everywhere and two reasonably lengthy safety car periods while vehicles were recovered from dangerous positions. I lost the wiper after not many laps but we had prepped for such an instance and the screen had been well treated with Rain-X which has amazing water repelling properties. By about 75% distance I was up to 3rd in class but then just a couple of laps from the end Gerry Buggy in a very similar Elan had a wild spin (click see this video) and gifted me 2nd place in the class which I was able to hold onto until the end. It was pretty tight by the finish line but I was deliberately doing just enough to stay ahead of Gerry. We did notice a small fluffy misfire had set in around mid race and Stack could hear it during the pit stop but fortunately it wasn't a major issue although by the end of the race it was running rougher and would not tick over without a bit of throttle.
I was 13th overall by the end which was great given the conditions and my caution however we were still a bit confused about why I didn't come away with a trophy as it's pretty normal when 2nd when there are 5+ cars in the class (subsequently the Equipe guys rang me to say there had been a mistake and that the trophy would be available at the next race). Great assistance and pit lane work from Stack and Dave - thanks guys.
Back at the workshop that evening some detailed investigation by Dave determined that one of the studs that hold the rear Weber carburettor in place had come out and was trapped in the engine bay - that missing bolt allowed the air seal to move and permit excessive air ingress and cause the rough running. A couple of hours later and all was resolved with the engine running sweetly again. We also discovered that the reason the wiper failed after just a few laps was mechanical and that whilst the motor was running the wiper was immobile because the wiper gearbox had come loose and wasn't gripping the rack properly.
This carburettor mounting stud fell out and was trapped in the engine bay
Donington near miss with Gerry Buggy : here
Full race in car video (pretty dull): here
I suppose it's about time we had a load of wet races! Donington Equipe was super-wet in July and then it was mucho-dampo again for the CSCC meeting just a few weeks later. The very first few hours of daylight on Saturday were pleasantly dry but then at about 9am it dumped and it stayed wet, wet, wet right up until about 10 minutes before the end of the Swinging Sixties Group 2 race mid afternoon. This time we were on the GP layout which includes the 'new' Melbourne loop which runs behind the pit garages and is a sort of homage to the old Melbourne loop / hairpin section that existed pre-war and was made famous by the Auto Union and Mercedes cars.
On the Friday evening we set up our wet-weather camp in the huge Donington Paddock with the easy up and awning both deployed for the forecast dampness and also switched to the best wet weather tyres we had for the Grantura and for the Tuscan - thank goodness we did that. Parked right next to us was Richard Hammond's Smallest Cog team with a nicely prepared MGB GT along with about 15 TV production crew! Pro driver Abbie Eaton was sharing the car and that made her pretty much the star of the Swinging Sixties Group 1 race coverage despite them finishing well down in the order after a trip into the gravel by the other driver.
Classic K practice was very wet with a river running down the Craner curves; the benefit I had was that I had raced in similar conditions just a few weeks earlier (albeit in the Elan) but it does get you dialled in more quickly than would have otherwise happened. I was able to improve on Dave's times and we gridded up in 12th place in a largely uneventful but very slippery 30 minute session. I was also helped by the relatively small numbers out racing and by the heavy rain which sent a few, more wary drivers into the pit lane early to save their cars for the race. Dave had a great start and held on in class lead for a good number of laps before a minor spin sent him quite a long way down the order and he never quite got back onto his previous pace. When I took over we were quite along way back in class but then a really annoying thing happened. A safety car period started but because a guy in front of me in a Lotus Cortina had failed to understand the pretty basic Motorsports UK safety car rules he pottered around like an old pensioner rather than catching up with the back of the train - we were doing about 30mph and should be going as fast as safely possible to close the gap. This meant on the restart we were so far back that the leading cars were able to pass us before we got to the control line so were unable to overtake! It was bloody frustrating and cost us a crack at the class win. I was able to find him in the paddock afterwards and was able explain the rules without getting arsey about it...somehow. Hey ho, we finished 20th overall and in one piece.
Swinging Sixties Group 2 was an altogether better show although for practice only, we were mixed in with Future Classics. We had decent tyres to use and I was happily circulating mid-field and keeping out of trouble. After a few slipperiness-establishing laps I was able to get the car up to 2nd on the grid and then with a final effort on the last laps got up to pole position with a near 4 second margin on Harry Wyndham's Jaguar E-Type. It was seriously wet and there were a few grassy moments for some of the cars. The Race was relatively straightforward. The weather suited my car and style and I pulled out a 28 second lead by the half way point and the pit stops. We then had a super-fast pit stop and despite a minor spin 2 laps later as I put the outside wheels on the exit paint at Mcleans corner, was back in the lead within a few laps albeit without a passenger side door mirror. With the expert help of the pit team I was able to judge how much lead I could afford to spend (i.e. lose) per lap to ensure I still had a comfortable win as the track dried out and my tyres got less good than the other guys who were all on dry-weather oriented tyres. Their laps got better as mine tailed off but I was so far ahead it was a cruise to the line really.
2023 Donington GP CSCC Swinging Sixties Group 2 winner interview with Jon Wolfe
The Autosport magazine report from Marcus Pye showed:
Nice to come home with these - the only race win so far this year
Dave, Stack, me and Jared after the outright win at Donington in the CSCC Swinging Sixties Group 2 race
Finally a super-dry weekend! I mean the weather not Jared's favourite clothing brand and it was great to arrive into a largely empty paddock with plenty of (albeit grassy) space for the RV and the Elan. It was a relatively late day on Saturday and the paddock was really quiet on the Friday evening as has become the norm over the years. The loud parties at race meetings the day before races seems to be a thing of the past; long gone the days of staying up until 1AM drinking Fosters and sherry by the bucket load.
Qually was just before noon and I was first in the collecting area for a clear start and a clear track and just about managed 8th on the grid which was actually a bit lower than I had hoped for. Anyway the car was good and after a quick check over and a brake bleed it was ready for the race. It would benefit from new brake pads now I think and also from better brake master cylinders following the success of the Wilwood ones on the Tuscan. It's a real pain getting the wheel spinners off on grass and I need a high friction wheel chock to use.
The race start gifted me a place. The Jamie Boot Griffith crapped out in the collecting area and wouldn't restart - it's such a horrible feeling when that happens but they seemed pretty philosophical about it. I had a reasonable get away off a standing start and had a great scrap for 3 or 4 laps with an MGB before coming in for an early pit stop - I think I was first car in. I went back out into free space and lapped pretty much alone until the Martin Reynolds driven Ford Anglia spilled loads of oil on the track at the end of Park Straight sending quite a few of us off the track and onto the grass which gave me a great opportunity to catch up with Mark Ashworth in his super-rapid TVR Grantura. We had a great battle for a few laps and I managed to get in front for a lap but just couldn't keep him there and finished a few seconds behind him in 7th place but with a class win.
I doubt I will be doing any further Equipe rounds this year so just two CSCC Swinging Sixties rounds to go!
Another great outing for the Tuscan but with a reduced Team Wolfitt this weekend with just Stack and me making the relatively delay-free trip up the M6 to Cheshire. We had a pretty straightforward trundle up to the circuit and despite the threat of rain in the evening and some light rain overnight it was dry for practice but with horrible, cold, greasy track conditions in which the car is almost impossible to drive quickly. Annoyingly again, the race was mixed in with Future Classics as we're just not getting enough cars in Group 2 to fill the races which meant that it was likely we would see some of those cars at the front of the grid.
It was a rolling start from 11th on the grid (4th fastest Swingers Group 2 car) and with Stephen Pickering (Sunbeam Tiger) the quickest, Mark Campbell (Triumph TR5) 2nd, Dean Halsey (Datsun 240Z) in 3rd so basically we were surrounded by Future Classics cars. We all got away cleanly and given that the track was now completely dry I was able to settle in to chasing the 3 Swinging Sixties cars in front of me. The front and rear race camera videos from the car show the race pretty well.
We were carrying a timed 20 second success penalty from the outright win in the rain at Donington which had to be served in a box right at the start of the pit lane and given that we had a reduced crew (although Martyn Adams turned up to watch and help out too) we had a really good pit stop. Amazingly it was one of the fastest stops of the race even with the 20 seconds penalty included! We did the stop as soon as the pit window opened which did mean I was released into pretty clear track space but then a 4 lap safety car came in to play (caused by the Simon James Tiger in the gravel trap at Druids) and that really helped me out as everyone else pitted under the safety car; that left me with a super fun chase after the Group 2 cars in front as I was able to catch up to the safety car train once the super-slow Porsche in front of me pulled into the pits - I really do wish drivers understood the safety car rules. Meantime, the track at Druids was very slippery and I suspect that was the cause of the Tiger's demise.
I was able to reel in and pass Dean's Datsun pretty quickly and then Steven's Tiger over the next few laps to finished 4th overall and 2nd in Group 2 about 30 seconds adrift of superb driver, Mark Campbell in his mega TR5. Thanks again to Stack for race support and also to Martyn Adams for pit stop assistance.
The next round at Croft will be much more difficult as the car is not so suited to the mighty V8 but I'll be battling strongly!
2023 Oulton Park paddock - JW looking worried or getting into the zone!? Photo David Yeoman
Another awesome weekend away racing and the first time for many years to complete an entire year without a single dnf or dns (did not finish / start)
Due to it being late in the racing year and also a long way for a lot of teams and drivers the grids are not as big as at other circuits so the club sometimes has to combine races to make up a sensible number in each race. In this case we (Swinging Sixties group 2) were combined in with Future Classics and with Modern Classics making up 33 car grid on this, England’s most northerly circuit.
It was a cold, fresh and windy morning when we were making final preparations for the 30 minute practice session but thankfully sunny and completely dry. We were final practice session of the morning so had plenty of time to fit the most worn set of tyres I have in the pile of wheels and tyres to give them their final run out of the year, thereby saving the least worn set for the race which was scheduled to start at 16:40 so just as the sun was getting very low in the west. pit lane.
During Hugo Holder's pre-race briefing he was emphatic that spinning off on the first lap of practice was unacceptable, followed soon after by someone spinning off on the first lap of practice leading to red flags meaning that we all had to return to the pits while the errant car was recovered from the cabbage field by the Jim Clark Esses. Jim probably liked cabbage.
Once we got going, practice was very good and, despite the much quicker cars in the other 2 race series that we were merged with, we all kept out of trouble and the quickest 4 Swinging Sixties group 2 cars were very evenly matched in 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th on the grid. It was a standing start meaning a mad rush to the first corner, Clervaux, with its significantly car-hungry gravel trap on the outside. To make life more interesting the start light gantry had crapped out and the start would be by the traditional method being the dropping of the Union Jack.
Practice results here tsl-timing.com/file/?f=CSCC/2023/234164qu1fuc.pdf
The start of the race was hectic - best viewed on the in-car video but basically cars took to grass and gravel as well as some substantial spins but amazingly all without any impacts that I am aware of. I was able to slow right down to avoid hitting a spinning Mazda and a rotating Porsche 944 but was overtaken by a rapid, grass-tracking Ginetta as a consequence. It was then a really entertaining chase of that Ginetta and Malcolm Johnson's lovely Lotus Elan which was just in front of it. We had pre-agreed that I would come in for the mandatory pit stop as soon as possible and that was at around 11 minutes and we had a typically super-fast one timed at 46.08 seconds which was the fastest of the race. That dropped me along way down the field but allowed me to concentrate on nothing other than chasing cars. The highlight was catching and passing the Porsche 911 RSR to take 3rd overall and then a 2 lap battle with Tom Barley's E36 BMW. I was delighted to finish 3rd in the overall combined result and 2nd in Swinging Sixties group 2 (once again behind the super-quick Mark Campbell TR5) and with another Class V win to make it 5 class wins this year.
Great team support, as ever, from Martin Stackpoole and also from Steve Adams (who normally races a Triumph Spitfire in Swinging Sixties group1) both of whom gave up their Friday to come up to Croft with me in the venerable old Chevrolet bus.
2023 in the Croft pit lane after the race - 3rd overall in the combined series race
2023 Croft Swinging Sixties group 2 podium: Jon (2nd) - Mark Campbell (winner in Triumph TR5) - Malcolm Johnson (3rd in Lotus Europa)
All in all 2023 has been a pretty good year despite not racing at 3 available CSCC rounds: Brands Hatch, Castle Combe and Anglesey.
6 races in the Tuscan: 5 class wins (1 outright) and 1 class second
4 in the Elan: 1 class win and 3 seconds
4 races in the Grantura: 1 class win, 2 seconds and 1 third
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