Curborough 12 June 2011

This Sprint – the Graham Hill Trophy Sprint – was organised by the Owen Motor Club and this year was a double lapper.

The weather was absolutely atrocious, though when I left home at 6.30 in the morning it looked OK and so I left my tent behind, thinking I wouldn’t need anywhere to store all my stuff. This was a big mistake as everything I had became saturated including my map, which caused me to get lost on the way home. Anyway, there were four MX5s present  – three in the HSA MX5 class  – Tony Thomas (who unfortunately has missed lots of rounds this year looking after his sick father and so hasn’t been able to seriously defend his title) in his 2 litre Mk 3 and Ken Morris (in only his third event) and myself in our almost identical Mariner Blue 1600 Mk1s – and Paul Webster in his Mk2 MX5 in the Mod Prod class.

In both practice sessions I couldn’t get off the line because of wheelspin and then had a job keeping it on the track . Clearly my driving was lacking a certain finesse and as we stood sheltering under the canopy outside the Signing In Office watching the later classes slithering about, my fellow competitors – who were much faster than me – were on hand as usual with helpful advice.  Tony counselled more haste less speed – drive like you’re on the way home from the supermarket and Ken suggested I start in second gear and just go gently.  I was mulling over this ‘sensible’ advice  when there was a loud bang and lots of smoke.  This was Eric Morrey blowing up his Clan right in front of us between the start line and the escape road.  Never a dull moment. Well, that’s not true in this game so we all, except Eric, welcomed the distraction and peered into the smoking engine compartment and marvelled at the hole in the side of his crankcase.

At the end of the second session Paul (Webster) came over with his critique of my abysmal showing -‘You’re being far too cautious, Bob. The others were way quicker to where I was standing’.  Wheelspin I thought but OK I’ll factor that in too and so all this advice, together with Eric’s deposited engine oil,  goes some was to explaining what happened on my first timed run and why I never made it to the first corner. What I don’t quite understand is Paul’s clapping and Eric’s thumbs up at the end of the video though. Ah, good to be back amongst friends.

I didn’t even look at my second run’s time and though I know it now I won’t mention it here. Suffice to say it was very slow.  I can’t really explain why I was so slow but on the way home I drove extremely cautiously and yet still managed to get sideways on a roundabout in Wolverhampton. I’ll blame my tyres (Toyo Proxes T1-Rs).

Some regular readers have noticed (I know because of the complaining emails I have received) that this posting is a few days late.  Well, apart from real life which has a tendency to get in the way of blog writing, I have been delaying posting because I wanted to see the official results. These have still not been posted by the Owen Motor Club so I can’t tell you with any certainty who won their class awards, but I do know that in the HSA MX5 class Ken beat Tony, which is a great result for him and I hope will encourage him to enter more events. And others seemed to relish the conditions with Chris Flavell beating Paul and collecting a very nice class trophy, Fyrth Cross going  exceptionally quickly (73.39)  in his beautiful Ensign and picking up 14 HSA points, Graham Cashmere collecting 13 points in his Davrian and Peter Hubbard in his newly repaired Marcos collecting  9 points behind Jonathon Plowe (Gilbern) and Geoff Stallard (TVR). I saw Peter’s old KBS and someone said they saw it spin but I missed that – I was probably wringing out my socks at the time. Must get some over-shoes. This is not intended to be a race report – if it were, it would be ridiculously biased towards MX5s and the people I know but I should say that Gary Thomas in his Force PT made Fastest Time of the Day with a 70.44 ahead of Simon Andrews and Bernard Kevill in their OMS, which they are still getting to grips with in the rain.

So, exceptionally wet.  I got lost on the way home, was stationary for a while on the M6 due to an accident further south, almost spun off the road in Wolverhampton but got home to find the Canadian Grand Prix on and delayed because of the rain over there so was able to watch Jenson pip Sebastian to the post. Wonderful stuff.

Someone (Paul I think) told me I had a brake light out but when I checked before the MOT (which was today – Wednesday) all the lights were working.  Maybe the water got into the wiring.  It failed though – on wiper blades. Now this I find odd because at Curborough I would have said that of all the parts on that car they were the ones that worked best.

The next HSA round is at Mallory on Saturday but I’m missing this (at about £100 a go I can’t afford to do them all) and I’ll be out next  at Prescott on 25/26 June.  It was at Prescott that I crashed last year, but I’m looking forward to this year’s event where there’ll be a good turnout in the HSA MX5 class – Nick Mugglestone, Ken Morris,  Tony Thomas and me with Alan Mugglestone and Paul Webster in their MX5s in other classes.

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