Qualifying

 

We’d picked the car up from the body shop the previous weekend and the alignment now seemed to be spot on, though we’d yet to try it on track. Thus I started the damp session rather nervously and slowly picked up the pace, setting a less than startling 1.55 sec lap. Handling was undoubtedly much better so lap times are all about confidence now after the Mallory crash and subsequent Brands bent chassis debacle. Oulton Park is a beautiful circuit and I was happy enough to be lapping in a reasonable enough time with the car staying in one piece.

 

Race

 

I’d qualified quite a way down the grid with David Scriven in the class D Escort two rows ahead, Keith Smith in his Mk1 Golf behind me and Celia’s BMW 635i alongside. As the lights went off I made a great start but so did everybody else, I braked early for turn 1 (the Mallory accident still at the back of my mind) and the BMW squeezed past on the outside. I was very careful through Cascades and lost the pack a little heading along by the lake, I finally realised I was supposed to be racing and dived back down the inside of the BMW at the hairpin.

 

Tried to live with Langeveld’s Capri but he was pulling away even on the first lap, David Scriven and Tom Bateman were both further ahead. Lap 2 and Celia comes past on the inside at Old Hall after a better run down the straight, I’m now back where I was with Keith’s Golf right on my bumper. The next few laps I try my best to get by the BMW but to be honest I’m way too slow on the straights and she is not that much slower in the corners either. I start to edge closer and turn my lights on for effect, I then notice spits of water coming from her car – head gasket failure was imminent. Down to the hairpin on lap 6 and we come across the Bateson Scirocco and the Scriven Escort both facing us, having spun. David gets away leaving me, the other VW and the BMW side by side up to Knickerbrook. Celia’s head gasket finally gives up the ghost and I slot in behind Tom.

 

I try and attack for the place during the next couple of laps, the Scirocco and my Golf are fairly evenly matched but I am close enough to have the occasional optimistic look up the inside – headlights still blazing in a rather pathetic attempt to keep the pressure on. Tom spins off at Lodge so I get the place, just starting the last lap and the car begins to misfire. Gets worse through Druids and almost cuts out on the way to the last corner of the race – Lodge. It’s a tight corner and whatever is causing the fuel starvation is made worse by the turn. The hateful Golf cuts out with the guy waving the chequered flag in clear few a hundred metres or so ahead. B!!*!**!S. Decide to pull into the paddock to try and investigate the misfire (and get the car out for the pre-93 race) rather then try and coast to the line, all the other cars have come past anyway.

 

Results show me in 15th place still ahead of the Scirocco, not sure how that was but at least its classed as a finish.

 

So the car is better – handling is sorted again, just need to fix the new misfire and we’re ready for Snetterton, a circuit I know very well.

 

 

Next race – Snetterton, 21st September.