Preparation

 

This had turned out to be another traumatic weekend in the history of SPNRACING. We loaded the car on Friday night, strapped everything down and were just about to set off when I noticed a small drop of water under the bonnet. A quick investigation showed water escaping from the header tank – but the car had only been ran for a few seconds to get it in the trailer. Mmmm. Checked the oil filler cap – white. Checked the dipstick – totally white. Bollocks – head gasket had gone, bloody thing had been fine the previous weekend because we’d had to do an oil change to re-prime the oil pump. Aaaargh. So we took the head off Friday night rather then travelling, then headed to Bury St Edmunds on Saturday morning to try and source a head gasket and use Andrew Guy’s unit to do the fitting. Euro Car Parts opened at 08:00 and we were there at 08:03 (!!) but they had none in stock. Closest available was in Colchester so back we headed down the A12 to get the part, by the time we’d fitted it it was getting on for lunchtime so we didn’t make it to the circuit until well into the lunch break.

 

Any thoughts of my mate Steve racing in Pre-93 soon disappeared as we switched our efforts to making sure the car would run in two races on Sunday instead. This wasn’t helped by a hose bursting on the way back from scrutineering, we had no spares so we had to chop the bad bit off and re-attach it.

 

Qualifying

 

So Sunday morning arrived and yet again confidence in the little Golf was at an all time low. Ventured out on to the circuit at the front of the pack and almost got taken out by a black Camaro weaving down the main straight, warming his tyres up and not watching his mirrors. Got into stride quite well and let the Escort of Andrew Guy drag me around a little. A few quicker cars came past and held me up in the corners but I got a good few laps to try and set a time, eventually got down to 1.30.3 which is my fastest time around Snetterton for a long time.

 

Race

 

Made a great start and edged up between Andrew Guy and Richard Langeveld as we approached Riches, they both closed the gap and squeezed me a little. I kept on the power but as the Guy Escort entered the corner on the tight inside line he made contact with the Langeveld Capri and spun across the track in front of pack. I made it by with a fraction to spare but as I checked my mirrors on the approach to Sear it seemed no-one else had! There were cars sideways everywhere and lots of tyre smoke. The red flags came out as we exited the Bomb Hole so the race had to be restarted.

 

Second restart and two cars stalled further up the grid. As the yellow flags waved I guessed which way to go, raced up behind a Capri which then stopped behind the car in front of him. Four of us ended up bumper to bumper at a stand still and I was confused as to whether the race had actually started or not! The rest of the pack raced away and yes, it had started – I just had the length of the main straight to make up on everybody now. Doh, my worst EVER race start.

 

At least now I had some track space so I tried to attack the circuit and close the gap to David Scriven, Andrew Guy and the Tim Scott Andrew’s SD1 ahead. Lap after lap the gap came down and I managed a 1.29.3, my fastest lap around the circuit since 2001. I was happy with this since the standard road brakes were fading fast… Managed to select 3rd instead of 5th down the Senna straight which didn’t help but eventually caught Scriven’s Escort on lap 9 and got a better exit out of Sear. He moved to the inside line so I went around the outside at the Esses, braking very late and catching the kerbs on the right approaching the right hander. He defended well and managed to squeeze back in front as we completed the turn, leaving me scrabbling for grip on the drive up to the Esses. I got a better exit out of Russell too but it was too late and I reached the chequered flag right on the Escorts bumper with Andrew Guy just ahead too.

 

The car then went on to survive the Classic Thunder race too in Steve Barber’s capable hands. The lap time despite the awful brakes was with 4/100s of a second of my fastest ever record lap so there is clearly nothing wrong with the car – and that’s with the ignition timing set by sight after the distributor came loose. There is hope for the SPN Golf yet.

 

Next race – Donington Park, 21 October.

 

Photographs (click to enlarge)

 

Golf loaded up and ready to go – except it needs a head gasket

Peter cool and collected before the Group One Race

Steve even cooler before the CT race

Andrew Guy in his RS1600i

Hassling the SD1 of Alan Roper

Some Production BMWs having fun

The Faber Camaro locks up

The SPN Golf in action

This led to the Escort rolling into the tyres at Russell

 

Video

 

..\Video\MOV06949.MPG – Tim Scott Andrews spins his SD1

 

..\Video\MOV06939.MPG - Andrew Guy squeezes past Alan Roper at Russell

 

..\Video\MOV06955.MPG – everyone avoids Tim Scott Andrews spin

 

..\Video\MOV06958.MPG – Celia locks up and loses a place