Hagley & District Light Car Club meeting.
Round 1 of the HSA Richard Eggers Championship.
Easter Monday was a cold grey day and it always threatened to rain but in fact remained dry. I drove my car to the hill (as opposed to trailered it) and arrived at about 8.20 which was cutting it fine as I had to report to the start line at 8.45 for a briefing for new drivers. There was no time to walk the hill and I just had time to unpack the boot and put everything into my new little tent, get changed, get the numbers on the side and the beam breaker attached to the front and sign on. There were three drivers who had never driven Loton Hill before and the clerk of the course took us up the hill in his Range Rover and he probably drove up there faster than some competitors.
I decided to drive up slowly in my first practice run to get a feel for the road and did so in about 84 seconds. For the second practice run I dropped the tyre pressures from 30 to 27 and tried a little harder and clocked about 79 seconds.
There were 11 competitors in the 1B Class (Roadgoing Series Production Cars 1400cc – 2000cc) and of these four were in the HSA championship – last year’s overall winner John Gallagher, this year in an Integra instead of his MX5 from last year, and three MX5s, competing in the HSA 1B MX5 class – Tony Thomas in his red and white Mk 1 1600, Michael Tindale in his green 1800cc and me in my Mk1 1600.
In my first competition run I still felt as though I was learning the course and was hitting the rev limiter in second at the end of the Cedar Straight but couldn’t see I had time to change up before the brow of the hill. My time was just under 75 seconds (Results haven’t been posted yet and I don’t have the exact times). In my second competition run I did change up and didn’t lift off before the crest of the hill and the time was slightly faster. It’s the end of the straight that I feel I could make up most time. I think I should be able to keep my foot down all the way up to Fallow (which I don’t) and if I could leave my braking really late for Fallow (just before the 50m board?) I may be competitive. The car handled fine; it was just me slowing things down. Museum corner is blind over the top of the hill but didn’t present a problem and the first part of the course was also OK. Just wish I could practise it a few more times.
In the MX5 class Tony Thomas broke the class record with a sub 70 second time while Michael Tindale was having traction problems on corners – probably down to suspension issues. My car seemed OK – a little gutless in third – but really no complaints. The new tyres seem very grippy and should improve with time.
I think the next time I’ll be back at Loton is 25/26 September and I’ll be looking for sub 72 second times if it’s dry.
I’ll post the results for April 5th as soon as they appear on the Hagley website.