LLandow Sprint 12 May 2012

After a year out of the HSA Championship (doing the Loton Championship and Toyota Sprint Series) I’ve returned with the ex-Laurence Marks’ Fiat Panda 100HP and it was good to see so many familiar faces in the paddock. This sprint was run jointly by the Bristol Motor Club and the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club and was round 11 in the HSA Championship.

In the event on the day I was in a class of two with Llandow regular Rebekah Edwards in her VW Lupo, but in the HSA event I was in a class of two with Andrew Till in his MG ZR105. I came second in both classes but was quite happy with my performance, with a best time of 98.31 seconds over the one and three quarter lap course, which was faster than three of the MX5s in a big MX5 class.

Here are some photos…

But first a brief video that I took at the start of the day to give an idea of the atmosphere for those who haven’t been to a sprint event. This was when we were waiting for the drivers briefing.

And now some photos…

Charlotte Phelps in her Westfield getting a push from her brother Adam while Dad, John, looks on.

A very jovial Carole Nicholls in her Nike Formula Ford. This was the first time I’d met Carole but after my second timed run I headed off early to see my mother in Crickhowell and as I left there after a cup of tea I’m sure I saw the Nike on a trailer heading that way, so perhaps they are neighbours.

Luke Trotman’s mean looking Mallock. I bet he was reluctant to stick that HSA sticker on the side. Far too colourful ūüėČ

Fyrth Cross getting ready for the off in his immaculate Ensign in which he set a new HSA class record of 80.69 for the Classic Racing Cars and Sports Racing Cars built before 1976 class.

MX5s for as far as the eye can see.

People say I change my cars a lot. How about Gordon Hick! Here he is in his new Ford Focus RS. I never did get to see his GT86 before he sold it.

They had the gearbox out of this. I was dead impressed.

Geoff Stallard in his Elan leaving a cloud of smoke at the start line.

Paul Meadows in his Clio at the start line.

Rebekah Edwards is beautifully colour coordinated with her Dora Motorsport VW Lupo. Rebekah won our class with a time 93.69.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. When Rebekah returned after her second practice run there was a lot of steam and smoke coming from the engine after the water housing exploded on the start line. Her team was quickly dispatched to Bridgend to get a part and they had it all back and fitted (and a new sets of wheels and tyres fitted too) with a minute to spare before the timed runs commenced after lunch. I don’t think she or her team stopped smiling throughout the whole thing – great team work.

I should have brought my GT86 and added to the yellowness. Here’s Andrew Till in his MG. Andrew is comfortably leading my class in the HSA championship and is fifth overall.

Here he is again, rounding the bus stop on three wheels. (My camera decided to malfunction so all these photos were taken with my phone, hence the poor quality of this one).

Andrew Webber’s Lotus Elan +2 which is currently leading the HSA championship.

Paul Jones’s Exige. Paul was fastest in the Modified Series Production over 1800cc class with a time of 82.98.

How didn’t I notice the helmet in front of Chris Howard-Harris’s face? Or did Lynn Gilbert put it there on purpose to steal the limelight?

This is a better photo, taken by someone else and which I’ve ‘borrowed’ from the HSA Championship Facebook Group page. L-R: Charlotte and Adam Phelps, James Robertson, Lynn and Chris.

So, that was my first sprint in the Panda. I can’t see myself winning anything this year, but I think it’s going to be a fun season ūüôā

Curborough Sprint 7 Oct 2017

My best time in the Toyota GT86 prior to today on the single lap configuration was 40.08. The best time I have ever done was 35.78 in the Lotus (which is currently the HSA two litre roadgoing class record).  The day started off dry but very slippery and there were a number of spins but the track soon came good and times fell and on the final run I got a Personal Best of 39.74.  This is well off the pace of the class but I was quite happy with it considering how standard the car is.

Here are some pics…

This last picture is interesting because a stranger came up to me and told me that GH had bought a GT86 and he showed me this photo on his phone. Looking forward to Loton Park next year then ūüôā

My next outing is tomorrow back at Curborough, but for the figure of eight course.

Curborough 10 October 2015

This is an anniversary.
My first ever event (on four wheels) was at the HSA end of season sprint at Curborough in October 2009. Looking back it seems an odd time to start – the last event of the season – but that’s what I did and of course there is a blog entry about it – Curborough October 2009,¬†¬†though that is not the first blog entry,¬†which was about selling my Chevrolet Corvair to buy an MX5 track day car. ¬† Anyway, a lot has happened since 2009. I have competed in 109¬†events ¬†at 16 venues –
Blyton Park
Curborough
Gurston Down
Harewood
Llandow
Llys-y-Fran
Loton Park
Mallory Park
MIRA
Pembrey
Prescott
Shelsley Walsh
Thoresby Park
Ty Croes (Anglesey)
Werrington
Wiscombe Park
and I am onto my third competition car, having sold the MX5, tried single seaters in the form of a Formula Ford and am now back in Roadgoing Class with a Lotus Elise. Since the outset I have competed in the HSA Speed Championship, initially because they have an MX5 class, but then because I like travelling around a bit and visiting different places and HSA membership allows you to do that.
Back in 2009 I didn’t know a soul and of course I didn’t know how events are run or¬†what I had to do. Today I know so many people and the procedures are¬†second nature. ¬†In the 2015 HSA Sprint there were 72 entries, some in their first sprint like me in 2009 and others with a little more experience¬†like Alex Summers, the 2015 British Hillclimb Champion. That always¬†amazes me – that we amateurs find ourselves on the same bill as those at the top of their sport. (Back in 1978 I was overtaken on the inside by Barry Sheene at Paddock Bend at Brands Hatch, but that was a practice session not a race meeting, ¬†let alone a race).
Anyway, back to 2015 – there were eleven in my class including three Honda S2000s and I got the class win and set a new HSA class record of 35.78. It was a cold day and the track was slightly slippery (I span off onto the grass infield in¬†second practice) so I was well pleased with this, especially as it was quicker than anyone in¬†the over two litre roadgoing class too. As far as the HSA championship goes, I think I’ve finished joint 4th with Bradley Hobday, though this has to be officially confirmed. Apart from the championship points it’s been great fun – travelling around the country, meeting¬†old friends and making new ones, ¬†improving by tenths of seconds here, spinning off there, squelching about in muddy fields (Wiscombe and Werrington) and enjoying ice creams on hot days (Loton). ¬†What am I going to do for the next six months?
Let’s have¬†some photos…
 IMG_6371
What a collection of cars! The gullwing is Geoff Twemlow’s Saker GT, behind that is Rowland Turner’s completely original, owned since new, Ford Escort MkI Mexico (Rowland told me that his very first sprint was this event in 1978), and on the right, number 98, is Fyrth Crosse’s Mallock U2, which is currently up for sale. ¬†And here they are in action…
IMG_2294
IMG_2409 IMG_2419
¬†Hiding behind the Mexico in the top picture is another classic roadgoing ¬†saloon – Graeme Williamson’s Hillman Imp, and here he is out on track…
IMG_2399
I mentioned that there were three S2000s. These always interest me as Jacqui has one..IMG_6376
The bronze one belongs to Mike Hawley, who won his class in the HSA championship last year and the other two, belonging to Raymond Worrall (16) and Michael Thomson (14) came down from Daytona Autos, an S2000 specialist in Congleton. They brought with them quite a few followers so there lots of interesting S2000s in the spectators area. [Rob and Gail you missed a treat]. And here they are in action…
IMG_2433s
IMG_2427
IMG_2461
That last photo is out of focus I know but the following one was more what I was aiming at…
IMG_2265
Martin Jones in a Raw Phoenix.
IMG_6374
It was good to catch up with Leigh Andrews, who hasn’t been out this year but decided to come and watch the final round of the championship. However, at the last minute he decided to see if he could get an entry, which he did, and enjoyed 5 runs in his immaculate Mazda RX8.
IMG_2440
Ken Morris was the fastest of the MX5 runners and he and I both got into the class winners’ run off, though neither of us improved on our times so were never in contention for the award.
IMG_2448
Here’s another MX5. Mervyn Brake, probably with standard suspension.
IMG_2370
Another out of focus photo I’m afraid, but here we have Gary Thomas (who got FTD) coming around Fradley hairpin. Love it! The angle of his head compared with the wheels.
IMG_2322
Here’s Wil Ker in his OMS CF09.
IMG_2323
And here’s Richard Arrowsmith in a Force.
IMG_6386
Finally a photo of two HSA members who have always encouraged me… Gordon Hick and Firth Crosse. ¬†It was also good to see Peter Hubbard again, who came to remind himself what it was all about. He took the year off to restore a 1931 ¬†AJS D9 (see his fantastic account on Facebook – AJSD9) but promises to be back with something rather different – ¬†powered by a V8 two-stroke engine out of a boat!
Well that’s the end of this blog post. It’s not meant to be a race report – those appear on the HSA website. ¬†These are simply personal scribblings. So, another season over. ¬†See you in 2016 if not at the HSA Awards Lunch in November, which you can book here – Awards Lunch.
Finally a big thank you to Alan Goodwin of Aldon Automotive for looking after the Lotus. What a car!

Shelsley 19 September 2015

Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb!  So steeped in history and still going strong.

When I arrived it was foggy and the start of practice was delayed. ¬†After about an hour of waiting for it to clear it was decided we would form some cavalcades (this was the term used) and proceed up the hill in groups of six cars in the hope of dispersing the fog. ¬†It seemed a daft idea to me but I was one of the those chosen to participate and it did give me an extra drive up and down the hill.¬†Now, whether we dispersed the fog or whether it just naturally dissipated I don’t know, but after we came down it was decided ¬†that visibility had improved and we could start. However, the delay meant that we only had time for one practice run.¬†At Loton it wouldn’t have mattered to me at all since I know it so well, but the last time I competed at Shelsley¬†was this day five years ago, 19 September 2010, and I could have done with a second practice run to familiarise myself with the pace. ¬†Nevertheless, in the afternoon I managed second in class ¬†to Paul Jones in his Elise 135R so was fairly satisfied. ¬†My Elise ran well and its 200BHP¬†made up for my lack of experience here. My start was excellent – 2.36 at 64ft and my¬†finish speed over the line was¬†best in class – 92, but speed into the Esses (77) was slower than¬†others were doing so tomorrow I’ll try and be braver there and also try to get to Kennel¬†quicker.

This was round 31¬†of the HSA Championship and my time was a new HSA class record, which will have¬†earned me 16 points ( I couldn’t score maximum points as there were not enough HSA people in the class). My lowest score at the moment is a 14 so I can drop that and add 16 to my total giving me 140 points.¬†Whether this is enough to keep me in the top five only time will tell as I don’t know what other people scored.

Anyway, here are some photos.

Great photo by Sam Walker on Facebook of the fog at the top of the hill.
Another photo by Sam of the commentary box at the top of the Esses this morning.
It was good to see Fyrth Crosse again. The first time I;ve seen him since his bog accident at Werrington. As you can see the Ensign has been rebuilt and now sports the livery from its Formula 2 Monaco race in 1973.
It was good to see Fyrth Crosse again. This was¬†the first time I’ve seen him since his big accident at Werrington last year. As you can see the Ensign has been rebuilt and now sports the livery from its Formula 2 Monaco race in 1973.
The Ensign from the rear.
The Ensign from the rear.
Ifan Davies and Mandy Bartlett from Raglan with their Davrian Mk 6.
Ifan Davies and Mandy Bartlett from Raglan with their Davrian Mk 6. There’s an HSA championship sticker on this car and I think it’s Ifan’s first HSA round! Hope we see more of him next year. And Mandy of course.
Two of my favourite cars and lucky enough to be married to someone who has one of them. Just need a mistress with an Alfa now ;-)
Two of my favourite cars and lucky enough to be married to someone who has one of them. Just need a mistress with an Alfa now ūüėČ
At Shelsley you do not practice in the same classes that you complete in so it's sometimes possible to photograph competitors, which is unusual. Here's Ken Williamson in his Elise.
At Shelsley you do not practice in the same classes that you complete in, so it’s sometimes possible to photograph competitors, which is unusual. Here’s Ted Elwes¬†in¬†Ken Williamson’s Elise.
Simon Hamilton, who we last met at Pembrey in the summer, in his Lotus 2-Eleven.
Simon Hamilton, who we last met at Pembrey in the summer, in his Lotus 2-Eleven.
The variety of cars in the paddock was amazing. Here we have Mark Brett in his 1937 Ballamy Ford V8 Special.
The variety of cars in the paddock was amazing. Here we have Mark Brett in his 1937 Ballamy Ford V8 Special.

Next event… tomorrow, back at Shelsley Walsh. Can’t wait!

And here’s a link to my blog from 19 September 2010 should you be interested.

Loton Park 9 August 2015

Another great day at Loton!  The weather was good all day and the atmosphere was as friendly as ever. After travelling around the country all year chasing HSA points, it felt like coming home.

If you read yesterday’s post you’ll know this was supposed to be the day I cracked the 60 second barrier, but again it eluded me. I think I’m driving Mark Dalton and his crew crazy as they’ve been following my endeavours for years and I’ve promised them all a drink when I do it. ¬†On Saturday I knocked five hundredths of a second off my PB. Today I knocked off another 0.34 seconds so I am down to 60.29. ¬†There’s nothing for it, I’ll have to go back and try again.

I didn’t feel too bad though as I thought¬†I drove quite well and on my first practice run got the HSA Championship class record. On my second run I tried a higher gear through Loggerheads and down to Triangle. It didn’t really work for me¬†but it was worth a go. I was also pleased to have beaten Roger Fish (Honda S2000) who beat me at MIRA. I think ¬†my car is more suited to Loton than his and of course I know Loton¬†better and in trying to match my times he twice had offs. The last one, on his final run, ending in a lucky escape as his Honda careered between two trees at the start of the Cedar Straight and emerged unscathed ¬†We have a final showdown at Curborough in October ūüôā

Here are a few photos.

IMG_0438
Mark Dalton had an excellent day in his OMS 2000M on Saturday with a PB of 52.30. Today he was three hundredths slower.
IMG_0448
Nick Tart in his March – my old adversary in the Formula Ford class.
IMG_0495
Martin Garner with his MX5. We once double drove a Formula Ford at Blyton.
IMG_0452
Where are you going, Martin? You’re on the grass going the wrong way. You’re supposed to go down to Triangle not up to Fletchers Dellow.
rachel
Ah! What a difference a day makes! Big smiles all day from Rachel Gascoigne as she steadily improved all weekend to finish with a very impressive PB of 71.04.
IMG_0493
The Ludbrooks seem to have a good relationship. They have an S2000 each. Babs has a blue one too precious to race and Phil has a red one. Babs had an off road excursion in the red one and Phil fixes it. If you like photos of S2000s, here are a few of ours – S2000
bob 3
Another nice photo of me in the Elise by Rob MacDonald. Follow him on twitter @RobMacShots.
IMG_0531
People seem to do this sort of thing in front of me when I wander up the hill. Jo Briars falling off the road after Fallow.
IMG_0536
And then aiming right at me!
Another Rob MacDonald shot. Rachel, Roger Bibby, Me, Ruth Marshall and Martin Rutter at the top of the hill.
Another Rob MacDonald shot. Rachel, Roger Bibby, Me, Ruth Marshall and Martin Rutter at the top of the hill.
IMG_0558
Neil Hastle also found it difficult to get around Fallow. The times I’ve done that! Not so much in the Elise though. It was the Van Diemen and MX5 I had trouble with.
gordon
The end of an era. Gordon Hick has just loaded his Fisher Fury Spyder onto the trailer for the last time and it’s up for sale. He’s already sold his Megapin and plans to replace them and the trailer with a tin top he can drive to events (and stay dry in).

Wiscombe Park 25 and 26 July 2015

With the Lotus repaired we headed down to Devon on Friday night for rounds 25 and 26 of the HSA Championship. However, due to a combination of heavy holiday traffic and accidents it took us five and half hours to cover the 150 miles Google Maps say can be done in 2 hours 55 mins.

The events were organised by Woolbridge Motor Club and as at Llys-y-Fran all the HSA championship contenders were put in the same class. ¬†This means we had OMS single seaters in the same class as MX5s, ¬†but this didn’t bother anyone as it was nice to be all parked together for a change and be able to meet one another.

The biggest HSA class by far was Class 2.1 (my old MX5 class) with no less than 7 drivers and 6 cars present Рall Mk 1s and 2s and it was good to see Stephen Dally back with a new diff after breaking down last Saturday and missing Llys-y Fran. Nick Mugglestone beat his dad and the rest with a time of 48.10.  A full race report will appear on the HSA website in due course.

Saturday was sunny and dry and  on my first practice run I went into Wis Corner far to fast on cold tyres and the car made no attempt to turn and I slammed into the bank. The Elise is flat bottomed and it rode up at a crazy angle before rolling back.  Amazingly there was no damage done at all. I took it very easy on my second practice run just in case but concluded all was OK.

After lunch I did a 47.86 which was good enough for an HSA class record and on my second run did a 46.88 which I was slightly disappointed with as my PB time in the Elise is 46.64. But this will be another 2 points to my championship tally (dropping a 13 and adding a 15 – only top nine results counting).

We awoke on the Sunday to heavy rain and it continued all day.  In the HSA Class we were joined by Nigel Hodson (MX5), James and Sarah Davies in only their second event together in their BMW 330ci and Graham Proctor in his Abarth 500SS. I, like many other people, opted not to take first practice because of the heavy rain and some people decided not to compete at all and went home.  I then did one competitive run but my time of 55.88 was not good enough for any points and we loaded the car onto the trailer and headed home rather than stay and maybe get caught up in a mess of cars and trailers in a muddy field at the end.

Here are a few pics.

Moment of impact at Wis Corner
Moment of impact at Wis Corner
HSA Class on the Saturday
HSA Class on the Saturday. (Must remember to put my teeth in for photos! And it occurs to me that many people won’t know they were knocked out in an HSA related accident – tripping while carrying a box of trophies and falling face first on top of the first place prize before last year’s awards lunch.)
Nick Blight's very quick Fiesta
Nick Blight’s very quick Fiesta
Sarah and Colin with their BMW 330ci
Sarah and Colin with their BMW 330ci
A racing car at The Gate.
A racing car at The Gate.
Two very lucky birds at The Gate.
Two birds at The Gate.
Never has a Fiat 500 looked so large. Most of the HSA class on the Sunday.
Never has a Fiat 500 looked so large. Most of the HSA class on the Sunday.

 

wet
A break in the rain.

 

A wet Sunday
A wet Sunday

A proper race report will appear on the HSA website in due course.

Llys-y-Fran Hillclimb 19 July 2015

From Llandow (see previous post) we headed west to Llys-y-Fran for round 24 of the HSA Championship, passing Stephen Dally stranded at the roadside in his MX5 with a broken diff. (Hope you got home OK Stephen. Shame you missed LyF.)

We put up the tent in the field adjacent to the paddock and Jacqui and I headed off to a pub called Tafarn Sinc (In English РThe Zinc Tavern) which is a great place to eat Рcorrugated zinc walls, sawdust on the floor and masses of  interesting stuff on the walls and ceiling.

IMG_9711

After a gloriously sunny day the heavens opened in the night and I thought the field would turn into a quagmire, our trailer would be stick in the mud and the event would have to be cancelled. However, by the time we got up the sun was shining and everything dried out nicely.

Llys-y-Fran is my sort of hill and I felt much more comfortable driving it than Llandow.  (For a description of the hill see my 2011 blog post Llys-y-Fran 17 July 2011).  I beat the existing HSA record (53.69) on my first timed run (51.22) and knew I could also better that on my second run by dropping to first gear for the final blast up through the gate to the finish line.

I did this and felt it was a bit quicker¬†but maybe I was a bit brutal with the gear selection because when I got back to the trailer field I realised I’d lost all forward gears. ¬†I backed it onto the trailer and just as I was getting out an official ran up asking me to have a re-run as the timing equipment had failed. Well I couldn’t do that but here’s a video of me breaking something expensive no doubt.

[I’ve had reports that some people do not see the video embedded on the page. If not, here’s a link to youtube]

(Must get a better camera and better place to mount it!)

IMG_9812

I’ll post more photos on the HSA Facebook Group page in due course.

My next outing should be¬†Wiscombe this weekend but I’m not sure the car will be fixed in time. Chris Berrisford showed me a photo he’d taken of a sticker at Llandow… ‘Race it, Break it, Fix it. Repeat’. ¬†For me¬†the Fix normally means ‘Hand over loads of money’.

POSTSCRIPT. 16.43 July 20.

I dropped the car at Aldon Automotive this morning. They’ve just phoned and said it’s all fixed – Spring retaining clips were missing from gear selector, I think they said. What would I do without them?

Llandow 18 July 2015

bob llandow 2015

It was a very early start from Kinver to get to Llandow, in the Vale of Glamorgan South Wales, in time for scrutineering but probably easier, in retrospect, than going down the night before and camping.

Last year I concentrated on hillclimbs but this year I thought I’d do a few more sprints and I’m glad I did as I’ve enjoyed the ¬†challenge at both Llandow and Pembrey of longer faster circuits.

The event (round 23 of the HSA Championship) was organised by the British Automobile Racing Club (Wales) and, as at Pembrey, I was entered in a class called ‘Road Going Lotus Elise and Elise Derived Cars’ rather than the more usual¬†‘Roadgoing up to Two Litre’ class. I was happy to ¬†improve my times throughout the day (best of 89.42) but I was no match for Elen Worthington or of course Simon Hutchings in his turbocharged VX220. However, I was also slightly disappointed not to have beaten Andy Mitchelmore’s HSA record of 89.05,¬†though¬†so was he! ¬†I think for me to improve on circuits I need more circuit time so may look at some ‘Lotus on Track’ track days when this season is over. ¬†Doing four timed runs at a Sprint when you don’t know the circuit just isn’t enough time to learn the best lines and braking points.

Me at the start with Andy in his Elise S2 behind.
Me at the start with Andy in his Elise S2 behind.
Elen with her very well presented and fast Elise S1.
Elen with her very well presented and fast Elise S1.

 

Simon Hutchings coming around the Bus Stop in his VX220
Simon Hutchings coming around the Bus Stop in his VX220
Andy Mitchelmore in his Lotus Elise 111S
Andy Mitchelmore in his Lotus Elise 111S

I’ll post some more photos on the HSA Facebook page in due course.

After Llandow we loaded the Elise onto the trailer and headed west to Llys-y-Fran near Haverfordwest. But that’s another story.

 

MIRA 23 May 2015

No photos are allowed at MIRA (the Motor Industry Research Association) where the Midland Automobile Club held a sprint last Saturday. So no pics of the competition in this blog entry.  This was round 12 of the HSA championship and in my class (A2) there was just me and Roger Fish in his Honda s2000, although 23 of us from the HSA entered.

On my first practice run, just after the start, there was an almighty bang from the back of my Lotus as I changed into second and the noise continued to accompany gear changes for the rest of the run.  I also experienced fuel starvation on the long sweeping left hander before the straight and on the left hander after the second straight.  The fuel issue was easily sorted by filling up the tank (though I did not think of this until lunchtime) but the banging noise was a broken oil filled engine mount.

After much discussion with fellow competitors as to whether I should take further runs (with some people saying no way and a few others saying it would be OK if I was gentle on he gear changes) I decided to risk it. ¬†In the end Roger beat me and the existing HSA class record (set by another S2000) and I¬†came away with 13 points being within¬†1.25% of the existing record –¬†58.63 compared with the previous record of¬†58.52. So close!

Here are the broken parts which were replaced by Aldon Automotive today, so I will still be able to do Pembrey this weekend.

engine mount 2

engine-mount1

 

 

Werrington 2 and 3 May 2015

IMG_5319

The last time I visited Werrington in Cornwall was in 2011 (see blog for 2 May 2011) when I drove down from the Midlands in my Mazda MX5. This year I returned with a Lotus Elise on a trailer. Nearing the hillclimb I recognised a shortcut and departed from my predetermined route to learn the hard way that though an MX5 can cross a 6ft 6in bridge, an 8ft 2in trailer cannot.  It took us quite a while to turn that trailer around.

narrow bridge, wide trailer

Back in 2011 I was parked near Neil Catling (Lotus Elise S2) and Tom Mayhew (Toyota MR2) and I remember them enthusing about the Le Mans Classic. The following year Jacqui and I went in her Honda S2000 and I told Neil this when I saw him again this year.

On the way to Le Mans

Coincidently his wife, who was also at Werrington, is also called Jacqui and she also has an S2000 and they’ve also taken it Le Mans.Strange eh?  Here are the photos I took at Werrington in 2011 Р2011 Photo Album.

Anyway, back to Werrington 2015. Scattered showers were forecast on both the Saturday and Sunday and they did scatter quite a lot of water on us. The hill was often damp and greasy but we occasionally got a dry run between the wet ones. The result was that I wore Wellington boots most of the time, completed all my runs with the roof on and recorded some of my slowest 64 foot times ever Рin the region of 4 and half seconds sometimes. I was not alone in this and there was much discussion about how best to get off the line Рfoot hard down or as gingerly as possible, in the middle of the track or to one side, in second gear perhaps etc etc. No matter what we did, the wheels span.

IMG_9010

I mentioned that I ran with the roof on. A couple of weeks ago I bought this extortionately expensive kit from Elise Parts.¬†It replaces¬†the catch that the roof cant rails fix into on an Elise S1¬†with a catch more like the S2 fixing. ¬†Well worth it! ¬†It used to take ages to put the roof on as the cant rails would keep falling out, but with the new clips they slot in with a reassuring click and stay there. For once I wasn’t worried about the roof falling in during one of my runs.

cant rail adapter clips

When you get to the top of the hill you have to reverse down this lane beside the old church and wait until the end of the batch before the organisers let you back down the hill. Here we can see¬†Neil Lotus and Tom’s Toyota.

IMG_5346

There was no HSA Class A2 record for the hill before this weekend so on the Saturday it was for me to set. The track was very slippery and greasy at the start and through the Courtyard and I was fairly happy with a time of 46.74 seconds which was less than two tenths slower than Neil, who was third in class, though a little behind Martin Ellis in his Mk2 Escort who did a 45.02 for the class win. Just behind me came James Hudson in his Golf with a 46.77 and the three of us – James, Neil and I had a good battle all weekend, our times being very similar.

We stayed the night at The Countryman Inn just minutes from Werrington and can highly recommend it, especially as the staff got up extra early on both the Saturday and Sunday mornings to fix us our breakfasts before we left.

On the Sunday everybody wanted to improve on their times but the weather was very fickle and even within the same batch some people had dry(ish) runs while others had wet ones, with the result that some people managed better times and others did not. My first two practice runs were wet Рwith wipers on Рbut after lunch there was a brief respite and I managed to improve my time and get under 46 seconds.  The heavens then opened and I did not take my second timed run.

IMG_5373

Jacqui towed the trailer down to Cornwall and I tried to persuade her to drive the Lotus but she says she prefers her own car and keeps reminding me that it is more powerful.

IMG_9069

Jacqui’s sister, Trace, and her husband, Paul,¬†came to their¬†first hillclimb. Trace¬†cheered for Jenny and Alex Howells (Hillman Imp) because¬†they are nice people and have¬†a dog.

IMG_9090

Neil and I with his lowered Elise S2.

IMG_9092

Comparing times…¬†Sunday’s first competitive run times:

Neil  2.59, 21.16, 37.38, 54mph, 45.30

Me   2.83, 21.09, 37.37, 54mph, 45.53

More photos on the HSA Facebook Group page.

Loton Park 18 and 19 April 2015

bob loton small

The weather forecast was good so I didn’t fit the soft top and headed off for Loton Park, about an hour west from my home in Kinver, at 6.30 on Saturday morning. In the passenger footwell and on the passenger seat was all my gear, including a pop-up tent, and I was wearing my racing overalls to save packing extra clothes. It took five minutes only to realise my mistake – that it was freezing and the heater threw its heat straight out the open roof. Too late to go back – Jacqui asleep and the front door key buried somewhere in bag of stuff – if I even had it.

When I signed on at Loton an hour later I found my photo in the programme and felt very honoured. Saturday was round 5 of the HSA championship and I knew I could break the class record.  If I had played a strategic game I might have taken it easier on the Saturday so as more easily to be break my own class record on the Sunday. However, perhaps more important than points to me is breaking that 60 second barrier at Loton, so I went all out for that.  My previous best in the Lotus was 62.41 on 31 August last year so I was pleased to chip a little off that in practice and record a 62.25. In the afternoon, when it counted, I put in a 61.80 to claim first in class and was hopeful to beat that on the Sunday. My closest rival in the class was Fred Currell in his Golf with a time of 62.33.

Photo of me at the end of the Cedar Straight courtesy of Rob MacDonald
Photo of me at the end of the Cedar Straight courtesy of Rob MacDonald

I drove home after prize giving and returned on Sunday morning with lots of warm clothes. It was overcast and much colder than on the previous day. In practice I got my time down to 60.68 and felt positive about a sub 60 second run in the afternoon and extra HSA points for beating my own new HSA record. However, things did not turn out like that.  Over lunch the temperature dropped and I, being car 27, was one of the first to go up the hill. A combination of cold track, cold tyres and over confidence saw me lock up and overshoot the first corner. I seemed to fall off the track on the right hand side and come to rest against the crash barrier with cones stopping me moving off again.  The marshals told me that the car was undamaged, which amazed me as there had been a bang, so they moved the cones and off I went up the hill. However, the run was deemed a FAIL and no time was recorded.

Here’s an in-car video which is quite amusing…

Less amusing was a big off on the Cedar Straight by Sheryll Brown in her Porsche. ¬†Sheryll was taken to hospital but I’m¬†pleased to hear through Twitter that she’s now back home and OK, if a little bruised. Best wishes & get well soon!

Sheryll Brown
Sheryll Brown

On my second run I was far too circumspect and my 62.51 was only good enough for second in class to Fred who put in a¬†60.89, which was a PB for him. ¬†On the way home it started to rain but luckily not much came in as long as I kept moving. I must take the roof next time whatever the forecast says. ¬†The championship points have not been posted on the HSA website yet, but I would imagine that I’ll be able to use the Saturday score but will drop the Sunday one.

Fred Currell's Golf
Fred Currell’s Golf

My next outing is Warrington in Cornwall on May Bank Holiday weekend.

Here are some photos of other Lotus at Loton. ¬†I took lots of photos of the HSA guys too, but I’ll put them on the HSA Facebook Group page. I’ll post the HSA report as soon as the scores are posted on the website.

Steve Phennah
Steve Phennah’s Elise S1
Chris Westwood’s Exige
Sarah Bosworth, who traded MOT, Tax and Insurance for Slicks in Mod Prod and did a 57.52. Photo courtesy of Rob MacDonald
Ben Burggraff's Elise S2
Ben Burggraff’s Elise S2
Paul Jones Elise S2
Paul Jones Elise S2

The HSA website –¬†http://www.hillclimbandsprint.co.uk/

The HSA Facebook Page –¬†https://www.facebook.com/groups/theHSA/