Mallory Park, 15th June 2003

Qualifying

Since Lydden Hill I'd re-attached the 25mm rear anti roll bar and fitted some spark plugs to try and cure the lack of power and post race misfire. I'd also removed the rear upper strut brace and put the front wheel spacers back on - the same spec the car was in when it broke the lap record at Oulton Park.

Mallory Park has changed - for the first time the BARC Classic meeting was using Edwina's curves - a new chicane after Gerards and leading into the old Esses.

Anyway I duly started trying to put a time in but the track was very busy - I kept trying to find some space only to have someone else behind me. When I finally decided to go for a quick lap, I couldn't get third gear out of the chicane and out of Shaw's hairpin - the clutch release bearing was making an awful noise so maybe that was the cause, anyway I hardly set a time at all and was lucky to qualify third last, 3 seconds off the class leading pace of Don Hughes.

After qualifying I tried to adjust the clutch up some more to help the gear changes (the pedal had changed height again too?) and it seemed OK round the paddock - so there was nothing else to do but wait for the race and see if the gearbox played ball when it heated up.

Race

Two long green flag laps and a long wait on the grid before the 'second' one started meant that a lot of cars (and drivers) were getting very hot and bothered. The lights weren't working (!) so we were started on the Union flag - a little hit or miss.

As the flag dropped I pulled away well, noticing Dave Howards' Jaguar glancing the pit wall and heading back onto the track mid grid. Next thing I saw was Don's Golf move to the left in front of me and Chris Brays' Escort launch into the air, the rear wheels rising maybe 6-8ft. The Escort seemed to land on or near Martin Howell's black Golf as I took to the grass in avoidance. A Capri slammed into the back of Pete Holton's SD1 and something else hit the side of him as the red flags came out and the race was stopped. Gulp. As we came through Devil's Elbow to line up on the grid again we could see lots of twisted metal ahead of us, Chris Bray's Escort looking especially bad.

 

The track was cleared and yet another green flag lap was completed - this time with only two class D cars left in the race, myself and David Scriven's Escort.

This time I made a terrible start (I think the rev counter was at 1500 when the flag dropped) and the Hayne Golf got past me easily. Dave Howard had rejoined at the back so I decided just to let him through which meant driving round the outside at Gerards and losing more time.

So as we approached Edwina's for the first time I was - LAST. For the first time I remember in Group One! A Capri slowed and I passed him so I moved up one place, but my main target was the Scriven Escort. Some hope. Try as I might, I just couldn't get past the Andy Hayne Golf - several times I was quicker into Gerards but had to give him the line and I just wasn't quick enough to make any attempt at Edwina's at all. Soon enough the slowed Capri came past again and I was back in last place, aaaargh. On the 9th lap I finally made a better exit from the new chicane and dived down the inside of Andy at Shaws. By this time Pete Holton and Dugdale in the ex-Howard Escort had got past Dave Scriven but he was just too far ahead - and I wasn't catching him anyway. As I exited Shaw's on the penultimate lap the car started misfiring again - bollocks. It seemed Ok for the rest of the lap and I kept Andy Hayne behind me - but the misfire was worse at Shaw's on the last lap and I almost lost the place. Andy had had a big moment at Shaws the previous lap otherwise he probably would have had me. Anyway I'd finished 16th with a piss-poor time of 1.15.2 - still 3 seconds slower than the top class D boys.

In the paddock just after the race the car duly stopped altogether - and wouldn't restart.

So I've got some work to do. I'm going to change the coil, ballast resistor, fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter and any sensors/valves I have spare in the garage. I can't afford to turn up to another race meeting and risk another non-finish. I'm also not happy with the state of tune so I think another rolling road session is called for - if nothing else just to convince me that the power is there.

I have two months to do all this - my next outing is not until August 16th at Silverstone. By then hopefully I'll be back near the front of the class D grid.

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The SPN tow car
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The ex-Dave Scriven Toyota
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Andy Haynes Golf 1800
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The CTCRC Bus
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Nice VR6 Racer
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Very quick CT M3
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Peter Holton's P6
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Chris Bright's smart SD1
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Lydden Hill on a nice June day
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The Post Historics race, lap 2 approaching Edwinas
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Don Hughes' battered Golf
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And Martin Howells' battered Golf
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Neither as bad as Chris Bray's Escort
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Very sad
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