Saint Goueno 2017

One of the highlights of 2016 for me was competing at Saint Goueno in France.  Entries have just opened for 2017 and although I don’t think I’ll enter next year in the GT86, I haven’t ruled out a quick trip over there to watch and meet up with some of the people we met last year.

When I  got the email to say entries were open, I had a look at the website and found a couple of photos of me which I hadn’t seen before…

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Here’s a link to my blog from May this year – Saint Goueno 2016.

Here’s a link to the official website and the entry form.

I can’t recommend it enough. It was a great experience.

Farewell Elise

Although it was  fantastic to drive the Elise, in the state of tune it was it was just too raw and impractical for the road. This meant that all my money was tied up in car I was using only about twelve times a year, so I’ve sold it.  Here are some of my favourite photos of it.

lotus-engine-bay-copy
NO ROOM FOR LUGGAGE WITH THE AIR FILTER IN THE “BOOT”.

 

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TOO WIDE – ON THE WAY TO WERRINGTON 2015

 

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RACING IN FRANCE EARLIER THIS YEAR

 

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HAVING FUN AT LOTON PARK

 

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BRAKING LATE FOR FALLOW (LOTON PARK)

 

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WHEN ROGER MORAN BORROWED IT TO TAKE A REPORTER UP LOTON 

 

THE ‘SCREAMING’ VIDEO WITH ROGER AT THE WHEEL

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AT SHELSLEY WALSH

 

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A WET SUNDAY AT WISCOMBE 2015

 

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THE DAM AT LLYS – Y – FRAN

 

ON PUBLIC ROADS
ON PUBLIC ROADS

Farewell Elise! Good luck Mark Waldron! And watch out Sarah Bosworth!

As for me, I have my eye on something, but first a little holiday in Spain.

 

Saint-Goueno, Brittany, France 2016

Being un pilote in France.

An official photo of me coming out of the hairpin.
An official photo of me coming out of the hairpin.

Before we left England Brittany Ferries sent us a text warning us of delays disembarking because of a port workers’ strike.  In actual fact it worked out fine as this gave us an extra hour in bed. They also warned us of fuel shortages due to the French tanker drivers going on strike, so we planned to fill up before getting on the ferry at Portsmouth. However, I completely forgot this and we arrived in Saint Malo with only half a tank of diesel in the Accord. However, on Thursday night we went for a meal in Moncontour, where we stayed in 2013, and the small  family owned petrol station there let us have as much as we wanted.  The weather forecast from before we left the UK until we returned was dire (and in fact we have heard since returning that people were killed in thunderstorms in northern France) but for us it was warm and sunny as you will see from the photos. So, many a warning but in fact everything worked out perfectly.

The gite where we stayed.
The gite where we stayed.

We arrived at the gite, which we were sharing with some other competitors, just before lunch on Thursday and called Anne, who had organised the accommodation, and were invited to a barbecue lunch at the lake in Saint Goueno.  We left the Lotus on the trailer at the gite and headed for the lake which was a sight to behold with race cars and trailers everywhere! This set the scene for the whole four days. Good food, lots of wine and good company.  After lunch we returned to the gite to collect the Lotus and moved it into the paddock in Saint Goueno and then headed north to Moncontour.

Setting up in the paddock was easier for us...
Setting up in the paddock was easier for us…
... than for some of the others who seemed to have brought a lot of unnecessary stuff.
… than for some of the others who seemed to have brought a lot of unnecessary stuff.
Some even brought a few cars.
Some even brought a few cars.

Friday was spent wandering around the paddock, meeting people and watching historic regularity cars going up the hill, and then signing on and getting our race numbers. In the evening in the salle des fêtes in the village there was meal for all drivers and their crews and live music – the first night of a music festival that was run in conjunction with the motor racing. The Saint Goueno Course de Cote is a round of the French Hillclimb Championship so all the top teams and drivers were present. Unlike in the UK where events are run by motor clubs, this event is run by the local community and the Saint-Goueno Hillclimb Masters (in which I was entered) is a separate event for UK and Irish drivers that is run alongside the main French event.

In the music festival I found this, covered in silver foil and full of coloured lights. SOme of the panels were better than those on mine!
In the music festival I found this, covered in silver foil and full of coloured lights. Some of the panels were better than those on mine!
Talking of which, here she is. I know you're curious.
Talking of which, here she is. I know you’re curious as to how things are progressing.

On Saturday we had an untimed sighting run plus two timed practice runs.  The hill is 3.2 km long (over 2 km longer than Loton Park), it’s 3.5 km from the paddock to the start line and then over a kilometer back to the paddock on the return road. So, very different to a British hillclimb.  My first time was 1 min 59 secs but over the weekend I improved on every single run to finish with a 1.53.201 on my third run on the Sunday.  This placed me 31st out of 69 and second in class behind Peter Cummins in a Darrian T90 GTR.

The Lotus ran faultlessly, which was a big relief after the recent problems which necessitated a new alternator and clutch, and it was very well received by the French who declared it tres cool. It was the only Elise present though there was a roadgoing Europa which was lined up ahead of me for most runs.  There was a long break on Sunday for lunch, which was laid on in a huge tent near the hairpin. Aperitifs and wine with the meal. Very French 😉  Then after the event, on Sunday night all the drivers in the Masters were provided with a free farewell meal in the salle des fêtes.

Wherever you looked in Saint Goueno there was interesting machinery.
Wherever you looked in Saint Goueno there was interesting machinery.
Not all of it very fast.
Not all of it very fast.

Back in 2013 I blogged about the differences between UK and this French hillclimb (see Saint Goueno 2013) but being a pilote this year I noticed two more differences: 1) if you catch a slower car you are allowed to overtake it and 2)  they don’t use timing struts (which begs the question, why do we?).

All in all it was a terrific event which was exceptionally well organised by very friendly and welcoming people. A big thank you to John and Wendy, Graham and Eddie and everyone else whose names escape me now. Merci!

Here are some more photos and there are lots more in an album on my Facebook page.

Tom and Marguerite are organic farmers from Australia who have taken six months off to tour Europe in a motor home with a Westfield race car in tow.
Tom and Marguerite are organic farmers from Australia who have taken six months off to tour Europe in a motor home with a Westfield race car in tow.
John Lloyd, who is the main driving force behind the Saint Goueno Masters, with his TVR.
John Lloyd, who is the main driving force behind the Saint Goueno Masters, with his TVR.
Loton regular Dave West with his classic Mini rather than his normal Loton drive his Peugeot 106 GTI. The French love Minis.
Loton regular Dave West with his classic Mini rather than his Peugeot 106 GTI which he uses at Loton. The French love Minis.
Next to us in the paddock was Neil Gould with his completely mad Clio with a turbo charged Subaru engine. He calls it a Subareno Cliopreza.
Next to us in the paddock was Neil Gould with his completely mad Clio with a turbo charged Subaru engine. He calls it a Subareno Cliopreza.
No cars in this one but it also sums up the weekend. Perfect weather, good food and drink and lots of socialising.
No cars in this one but it also sums up the weekend. Perfect weather, good food and drink and lots of socialising. This was Saturday night before we went to the meal.

More photos.

 

The Lotus is back – Loton Park 16 May 2016

lotus engine bay - Copy

Well, the Lotus got fixed and was ready in time. New Super twin plate racing clutch, new clutch master cylinder, new slave cylinder, new alternator and new engine mounting. I’m broke!

However, it got me to and from Loton twice this weekend – an hour’s trip each way from Kinver, and performed faultlessly on the hill.

This was a two day meeting, a format which seems to me to be universally disliked around the paddock (at least by those I speak to). We had three practice runs on the Saturday and two competition runs on the Sunday. My first was at about 08.45 and then my second was hours later, after lunch.  It was good chatting to people throughout the day, but I would rather have had more runs, especially as I did a PB of 60.21 on my second run and the conditions were perfect for another try at a sub 60 second time.

paddock and lotus

It was a round of the Paul Matty Sports Car Championship so there were lots of Lotus entered and I was pleased to record a faster time than any of the other Elises or Exiges and to pick up the class win.

It was a beautiful sunny day and everything in the deer park was very green, though not Tony Adams’ and Paul Jones’ Elise. Their green Exige still wasn’t running properly so they were out in a silver Elise S2. Here’s Tony coming around Triangle.

tony adams

However, despite a terrific day I’ve decided to sell my Elise after the Saint Goueno event at the end of May and get something a bit cheaper and a bit more practical for the road or maybe share a drive if anyone offers. We’ll see.

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This was the first event that I’ve worn my new HANS device in.  When trying to connect it to the helmet at home I was finding it difficult, especially when sitting in the car, but Graeme Williamson gave me some useful advice at the last Loton event – keep it tethered and put the whole thing on together.  That worked a treat and I was able to get in the car with it on and do up my harness without assistance.

One reason for selling the Elise will seem crazy to many people (especially as it’s now got so many new parts in it), but I have my new baby to look after and I need to buy some tools and new parts and it all costs money. Here she is… as you can see I have not been idle.

renault 16 MAy 2016

Maybe I should find a Gordini engine for it and enter La Vie En Bleu at Prescott. Only kidding.

I was going to write up the restoration on this blog, but have decided not to do that, but to write it up in the Projects section on Clementine’s Renault 4 Garage’s forum as there are lots of very knowledgeable Renault 4 people over there who can give me advice.  So if you want to see a blow by blow account of what’s going on and look at lots of oily and rusty things, here is the link – 1985 GTL C840LEW.

 

Strange Bedfellows

renault and lotus

Before introducing my new toy, yes, as you can see I have the Elise back.  It needed a new twin plate Super Clutch, new master and slave cylinders and a new alternator. Those new windows for the house are never going to get bought at this rate.  I need to drive the Lotus a bit on the road this weekend to make sure it’s all OK, but it should be ready for Loton on 14/15 May and then Saint Goueno at the end of the month.

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The old clutch

 

So what’s with the Renault 4? Well, one thing all this hillclimbing has highlighted is my complete lack of mechanical know how.  I work in a university as a educational technologist and my working life is sat in front of a computer dealing with words like these…

learning wordle

All the work on the Elise is done by someone else and I am very envious of people who can maintain and fix their own cars.  So I’ve decided to teach myself some new skills.  I reckon with my knowledge of the internet and how to connect with the right people online and find the information I will need, I should be able to do it.

So the plan is to deconstruct the little Renault (though how large it looks next to the Elise!), fix anything that’s broken and then put it all back together.  It’s a bit daunting, but I like a challenge and this 4L is certainly going to be one. It’s been sat rotting for a few years and has been home to some mice, but it cost less than the clutch on the Elise and if I had bought a good one, what would be the point of taking it all apart?

I explained all this to Jacqui who reminded me of my clocks phase.  That was about 30 years ago and it is true that I deconstructed quite a few clocks back then and not one told the time afterwards.  But this will be different!  I have the World Wide Web and am going to learn a new language. Watch this space.

car wordle

And why a Renault 4? I like them. They’re simple, have a separate chassis so you can lift the body off and most parts are readily available. Also, they’re small and light (600 kg) so it will fit in my garage.

 

 

 

Loton Park 17 April 2016

Where would this blog be without Rob MacDonald and his camera? This one is me going round Fallow on all four wheels and not on the grass.
Where would this blog be without Rob MacDonald and his camera? This one is me going round Fallow on all four wheels and not on the grass.

So, following on from yesterday… I was in the S2000 for Sunday’s event. This was interesting but a little frustrating because it meant no championship points for Round 6 of the HSA Championship nor for Round 2 of the Allswage Loton Park Championship as I was not competing in the car which I had entered. And of course I got no points on Saturday as I was unable to compete at all. All in all not a great start to the season. A bit like Hamilton’s. Missing the first rounds of the Loton Championship is the biggest blow as there are only eight rounds and all count. The HSA Championship has 32 rounds with the best 9 counting. However, I was planning on doing only four local rounds which I could drive to (rather than trailering) and trying to win the Peter Stevens Memorial Trophy (best result from only four rounds). Anyway, as I say, it was interesting driving the S2000.

Interesting because the S2000 produces its power between 6000 and 9000 revs, whereas my Lotus is a like a steam train from 1000 revs all the way up to 8000. So driving the S2000 fast requires a whole different technique and I didn’t manage to perfect keeping within this rev band in the four runs I had up the hill. It was also very strange to drive without a safety harness and in a car with standard (soft) suspension, which meant that I was not able to keep my foot down the whole way up Cedar Straight. It was also interesting as it reminded me of my MX5 days and how easy it is to arrive and drive in a car with a boot and interior space. A far cry from the Lotus which has so little space for either my stuff or myself. I think that after Saint Goueno at the end of May I’ll look at changing the Lotus for something more usable on the roads.

Even though I was unable to gain championship points, it was, as always, good fun to be at Loton and as the Honda has a good old fashioned steel chassis I was able to return to the ‘Roadgoing up to Two Litre’ Class. The Lotus, this year, is in a separate class at Loton for non-ferrous chassis cars that seems to include both roadgoing and modified production cars. It doesn’t matter too much to me since the event classes do not affect either of the two championships I am in, but it does seem a bit odd.

My best time of the day was in second practice with a 70.46 (about ten seconds slower than the Lotus) and my best in competition was 71.40, which was almost last. Rachel Gascoigne and Michael Tindale (with a PB of 70.56) both relished the fact that they had beaten an S2000 (and me of course), but to be fair both drove really well and I was too cautious. Still, I was just happy to have completed the four runs without incident and been able to return the car to Jacqui in one piece.

My next outing is the National weekend on 14/15 May, assuming the Elise is fixed and my entry is accepted.

Here are a few photos. I have uploaded others to the HSA Facebook Group page. The HSA report will follow shortly (tomorrow) on the HSA website.

Alistair Clark's Elise.
Alistair Clark’s Elise.
Simona Andrews on his way to a class win.
Simon Andrews on his way to a class win.
Sarah and Colin Davies in their second year with the HSA.
Sarah and Colin Davies in their second year with the HSA.
My S2000 amongst the Lotus.
My S2000 amongst the Lotus.

Loton Park 16 April 2016

snow

Let’s start with a bit of dialogue.

Me – Are you coming to Loton tomorrow?
Jacqui – No, I fancy a lazy day. I’ll come on Sunday.
Me – OK.
Jacqui  – Can you feed the cats before you leave? I  don’t want them waking me up.
Me – Not a problem.

The relevance of this will become apparent soon.  Last week I had a new clutch fitted in the Lotus but I only picked up up the car yesterday and there was no time to test anything. This morning I woke at 6 a.m. to find it snowing quite heavily. I stuffed all my gear into the passenger footwell, put the demisters on, the headlight on, the wipers on and headed off to Loton. (It’s all relevant). About five minutes away from Loton I was no longer able to change gear and  coasted to a standstill in neutral. Then I switched off the engine. And then I was truly stuck. Flat battery.  It’s now about 7.30.  More dialogue?

Me – Hi Jax,  I’m afraid I’ve broken down.
Jacqui – Uh? What day is it?
Me – I’m near Loton. Can you bring the trailer?
Jacqui – Uh? Haven’t you got the trailer?
Me – No you’ll have to bring it.
Jacqui – what time is it?

brokendown

So I wait patiently. Jacqui of course is hitching up the trailer and getting the whole caboodle on the road.  And then who should turn up but Tony Adams. He’d already arrived at Loton but someone had told him his old car was broken down on the A458 and so he’d come to rescue me.  He connected the Lotus to his Range Rover with the shortest tow rope I have ever seen and we set up for Loton. I had no power and no wipers and the Lotus windscreen was soon covered in slushy muck thrown up by the Range Rover. It was the most terrifying trip I have ever had.

The Lotus is then in its paddock position at Loton and various people look at it but although we can start it on a battery pack we cannot engage gears. During the lunch break we move it so it is easier to get onto the trailer but we don’t leave until mid afternoon and get back about 5pm. On the way home my wife and I have a nice chat.

Me – What a waste of money. And of course I’ve already paid for tomorrow too.
Jacqui – Can’t get it back?
Me – Too late now…  What would you think if I used your car tomorrow?
Jacqui – I thought you said it wasn’t any good because it was completely standard.
Me – Well… no, it would be fine and I won’t drive it very fast.
Jacqui – OK.  It doesn’t matter that it hasn’t got a harness or roll bar ?
Me – Nah, it’ll be great. Thanks.a lot, Darling.

So tonight I’ve made a timing strut for it and taken out all Jacqui’s things and tomorrow I’ll be back at Loton in the Roadgoing up to 2 litre class. Should be fun!

Final conversation just now.

Jacqui – You’re not racing next weekend, are you?
Me – No. Prescott next weekend but I’m not entered.
Jacqui – Do you fancy going to stay with my Mum?
Me – Hey, that sounds great!

s2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loton Park Practice 2016

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Members of Hagley & District LIght Car Club are offered two members’ only practice days before the first Loton competition and I booked myself a place on the second day, Easter Sunday. It was  cold, wet and windy but it was good to be back at Loton Park and we had eight runs up the hill.  There were six Lotus present – four roadgoing – myself, Jonathan Bibby (who for the last couple of years has been in an MG ZR160) in a standard Elise S1, Chris Westwood  in his Elise 111R and Mike Henney in his classic Elan, and two Modified Production cars – Sarah Bosworth in her Elise S1 and Tony Adams and Paul Jones in their Elise Motorsport car.

I was happy with my times in the wet (best of 66.52) and with the fact that I didn’t have any excursions onto the grass, but on the drive home I sensed something wasn’t quite right with the Lotus. Yesterday it was nice and sunny when I got home from work so took it around the lanes to check it out. It soon became apparent that it was not wheelspin on a wet road I was feeling but a slipping clutch and the thing gave out completely on a bend on a steep hill. I pushed it into someone’s garden and had to go home and get the trailer. I’m off to Brands tomorrow to watch the first round of the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup so the car’s booked into Aldon’s on Monday. More expense and we haven’t even started the season yet!

It was good to see Rob MacDonald and Gail again and Rob, as usual, had his camera with him.  Here are two of his photos.

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Dave West, of Allswage UK, who are sponsoring this year’s Loton Championship, was offering free corner weight measurements and I had the Elise weighed. Slightly heavier than when I bought it but still pretty light – 718 kg.

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Heading up Cedar Straight. It wasn’t raining at this point, but you can see the rivulets at the edge of the track heading in the other direction.

My first competitive event is on 16 April so there’s plenty of time to get it all sorted out. I hope.

Looking back on 2015

It’s a long wait until the new season.  Here are some photos from my blog this year to remind us what we’re missing.

It started on April 19/20 at Loton Park…

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Then came Werrington in Cornwall on 2 and 3 of May and the bridge that was too narrow…

though we got there in the end…

Then came the broken engine mount at MIRA on 23 May.

By the 30 and 31 May we were in South Wales for a sprint at Pembrey.

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On 14 June we were at another sprint, this time at Curborough with lots of Lotus.

We had a break in July and drove drown through France, over the Pyrenees and on to Spain…

We were back to South Wales and a sprint at Llandow on 18 July where I did a 360 degree spin right in front of the paddock.

Then onto the dam at Llys-y-Fran in Pemrokeshire on the 19th where my gear linkage broke…

It was all fixed and we were in Devon on 25 July at Wiscombe Park…

But the Sunday wasn’t so nice…

A wet Sunday

Back to Loton Park on 8 August…

and 9th August…

and back at Loton again at the end of the month  – 29 and 30 August – for some off roading…

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Then it was off to Shelsley Walsh on 20 September…

I didn’t get an entry on 27 September at Loton but went to watch anyway. Here’s Sarah Bosworth smoking down to Triangle…

Went to watch again at Prescott on 4 October. Here’s Alan Goodwin.

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Then came my last event of the year at Curborough on 10 October…

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Can’t wait for 2016!

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…
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 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…
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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…
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That last photo is out of focus I know but the following one was more what I was aiming at…
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Martin Jones in a Raw Phoenix.
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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.
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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.
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Here’s another MX5. Mervyn Brake, probably with standard suspension.
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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.
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Here’s Wil Ker in his OMS CF09.
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And here’s Richard Arrowsmith in a Force.
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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 20 September 2015

Ten milliseconds!

Photo by Rob MacDonald.
Lining up for the start. Photo by Rob MacDonald.

One thing is clear. I need more than a weekend to get to grips with Shelsley Walsh.  The Elise is running fantastically on the public roads and up the hills so I have no complaints there; I just could not master Bottom Ess. Nevertheless I got third in class and was second fastest Elise (out of eight) on the day, being beaten once again by Paul Jones.

My times over the weekend are interesting. On Saturday we only had three runs as I mentioned yesterday.

  1. 39.99 seconds
  2. 35.90
  3. 35.47

Remember this time. 35.47  seconds.

Sunday started as Saturday had, foggy, but we knew what to do and once again I was part of the cavalcade despatched to disperse the fog. I’ve got the hang of it now so if you need any moved on, give me a ring.  So today my first three times were as follows:

  1. 37.86
  2. 35.56
  3. 35.56

3556

Two runs with identical times! How weird is that? Not even as quick as yesterday but never mind, still second in class behind Paul (who did a 34.41) and ahead, by four hundredths of a second, of Dave West in his Peugeot 106GTi.

So then came the last run and I drove it differently, much more committed up through Kennel and Crossing (or so I thought), but messed up a gear change in the Esses, going up there in third. The time?

35.47.

Exactly the same as yesterday!!

After me was Paul – 34.70, not as good as his first run but still leading the class. Then Dave West.  35.46.  That’s one hundredth of a second quicker or ten milliseconds quicker. And that was the last meeting at Shelsley for 2015 so I’ll have to wait until next year to try and sort it out.

Here are some photos.

Morning at Shelsley
Morning at Shelsley
My main rivals this weekend - Paul Jones (Lotus) and Dave West (Peugeot).
My main rivals this weekend – Paul Jones (Lotus) and Dave West (Peugeot).
Me going around Bottom Ess. Another great photo by Rob MacDonald.
Me going around Bottom Ess. Another great photo by Rob MacDonald.
My son took this one. Tony Jarvis turning left instead of right in the Esses.
My son took this one. Tony Jarvis turning left instead of right in the Esses.
What a lovely scene!
What a lovely scene!

This wasn’t a round of the HSA championship but yesterday’s result leaves me in fifth position, six points ahead of last year’s overall winner, Chris Howard Harris. However, with one round remaining – Curborough on 10 October, I could easily get knocked down the standings.

I didn’t get an entry for next weekend’s Loton Park meeting but will go along anyway and snap some snaps.

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 😉
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.