Lydden Hill, 31st May 2003

Qualifying

For Lydden Hill I'd removed the rear anti roll bar to see what difference it makes to the Golf handling. With a full grid of cars and only a 1.00 mile track it was bound to be busy so I just concentrated on getting my three laps in (there were reserves) and setting a half decent time.

I managed to find some space and started exploring the handling a little more. Rather obviously there was more roll at the rear of the car - but the back wheels still slid quite progressively. In fact in might have been easier to drive and turn in seemed slightly sharper at the front. Overall, although the car felt slightly different, I don't think it was that much slower or quicker. The Golf had a 'tighter' feel with the ARB fitted so I think I'll bolt it back on for Mallory - it was worth a try though.

When the results sheets came out it wasn't good news - I was down in 19th place out of 22 qualifiers and a good 6/10's down on the class poll time of Don Hughes. Still the race was wide open, all the times were fairly close.

Race

I made a great start again at the green lights (well actually when all the other cars started moving - I couldn't SEE the green lights I was so far back down the grid!) and got alongside Hugh Poston's Fiesta. He closed the door into Chesson's so I duly followed as the big P6 Rover of Peter Holton powered past. With V8 grunt that was bound to happen, he was right behind me on the grid. So we headed up the hill towards the hairpin all tightly packed and I took the inside line to try and maintain position. By this time David Scriven had got a better exit out of Chesson's and was also ahead - another good start had deteriorated into nothing!

 

Lap 2 and I squeezed by the Scrivens Escort on the entry to Devil's Elbow - a Rover has spun and everyone is taking avoiding action. I'm later told that there were yellow flags but I didn't see them at all - oops. Sorry David - if I'd known I would have backed off and given you back the place. The rest of the shortened (*) 12 minute race was spent trying to get past the big P6 to join the class D battle that I could see frustratingly right in front of me. Ahead of the Rover was Hugh Poston's Fiesta who was having a great battle with Martin Howell in the ex Stacy Vickers Golf GTi. Don Hughes' Golf led the class a few seconds further up the field just ahead on Chris Bray and his championship leading Escort.

But all I could do was watch them all race each other - I tried diving to the inside of the Rover at Chessons Drift, Devils Elbow and the hairpin - no joy. I even tried driving around the outside of him at the hairpin - I could get right alongside but he just powered down the hill with the line into Paddock. Soon enough the chequered flag was out and I'd finished 19th - my worst (?) Group One race finish ever.

The Golf started misfiring on the last lap and packed in altogether at the bottom of the Paddock as we came in off the circuit. Once it had cooled down it eventually restarted but the misfire, poor running and anti roll bar all need sorting for Mallory Park in two weeks time. The results sheet was fairly re-assuring - my race time was only a couple of tenths off Don and Chris and quicker than the other class D cars. So I'm hoping for a better result at Mallory. I certainly can't complain about class D being competitive this year, everyone seems to be going so well! I'll just have to try harder...

(* - the Group One race was shortened from 15 to 12 minutes because of the massive accidents that put three cars on their roofs at Lydden that afternoon)

 

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Dan Nash leads the Historics race, lap 1
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But goes wide at Chessons and the pack behind all close in for the kill
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An extremely sad incident on the run up to the hairpin saw this Dolomite and a Mk1 Escort end up on their roofs
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The SPN and Don Hughes Golfs cooling off before the Group One race
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Three Mk1 Escorts
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The class D leading Escort of Chris Bray
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The Castle Sport Rovers
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A nicer way to get to the circuit than towing your own race car, that's for sure
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Mark Cholerton's rapid Mk2 Escort. 2 years ago at Lydden I beat him - today he qualified third, I was third last!
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Lots of XJS's
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David Scriven's ex-Rick Kerry XR3
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The Nash Sunbeam, today driven by Keith Jenkins
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Dan's second car - a massively sideways Lotus Cortina. Superb to watch!
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The ex and current Stacy Vickers race cars
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Hugh Poston's class D Fiesta
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Some tatty old Golf
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This Escort from the Post Historic race incident - very sad.
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And this beautiful F plate Jaguar spectacularly barrel rolled at Paddock Hill bend - possibly caused by suspension failure, it lost two of its wheels in the accident. Scary and again very sad.
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It seemed totally destroyed.
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The aftermath of the Post Historic crash.