Race Report (Anglesey 18 June)

Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2016

Anglesey 19th June

Circuit Anglesey
Date Saturday 19 June 2016
Race Report
When the weather is nice Anglesey it is a great place to be and the track is equally great to drive.  Fortunately, we, as Saturday competitors, had some really good weather.  Fine but not too windy nor hot.   I must mention that this was in complete contrast to the poor souls entered in the Sunday event as the day started damp and by about 11:00 it was tipping down with a strong wind and remained so for the rest of the day – at least judging from the other side of the Island where I was staying.It had been nice on the Friday as well. Dick turned up just after midday and spent the afternoon wondering around looking at the track day entertainment.  Unfortunately, he only had a small Lotus baseball cap on his head which did not provide him any real sun protection and on Saturday morning he was emulating the shade of a boiled lobster.This wasn’t the only unfortunate occurrence as when Mr Matty, in his newly acquired two car van transporter, was fairly close to arriving at Ty Croes when it developed a very noisy wheel bearing.   It was clear to him that whatever the actual fault it wasn’t going to make it back on the Sunday.  This was doubly frustrating as June had driven up in their new Motorhome.   The first some of us knew of this was when Paul was at the track unusually early on the Sunday to meet the commercial breakdown truck which duly winched the  ‘van’ on the truck and they set off back to the Midlands.   June following in the Motorhome.  So that was two less for our class and obviously very frustrating for Paul and June who saw their best laid plans fall flat.Neither Keith Bristow, Geoff Stallard nor Brian Meddings were entered which was a shame as they would have gone really well here.  Of course we were also without Messrs Bottrill and Hopkins and indeed John Crook who invariably comes to Anglesey.

Tony Shute was in his new 69 and, of course, there were plenty of other factors waiting to confuse the handicappers.   It was Stephen Palmer’s first visit to Anglesey and Grayham and Chris were in different cars to last time.  It was also going to be interesting to see how the Millward’s new engine would perform as the circuit would probably suit it better than the hills.

I looked around for a handicap partner to fill in for Paul and I asked Grayham to do the honours with me.

As usual Steve Millward was first off for us and with a fairly modest entry it looked like the meeting would run through pretty quickly.  Most of us were a few seconds off our PB’s where they were applicable.   The exceptions were Ian Parmenter whose 112.90 was within a second of his PB though his car was much improved from when that time was set in 2013.   Jane was also well within two seconds of her best (and faster than Steve) with a 112.01.   Best time that run was John Palmer with a 98.50, about 4 seconds off his PB.

Our second runs did come as quickly as expected.  Steve improved to 110.21 and then Dick to 111.27 just faster than Ian P who recorded 111.54.  I also went faster with a low 102 and Chris set a low 117.  Grayham P was getting used to the Exige and improved to a low 108.  Jane set a time of 110.81, just 1/2 second slower than Steve.  Sarah recorded a mid-112 and Lyn a low 121.   Tony Shute had set a 99.91 first run and this time pared a bit more off for a 99.37.  JP set a 96.83 and Kenny Lewis a 103.

Stephen Palmer was, as at previous events, playing himself in steadily with a low 117. Keith Wilford seemed to be making progress with the fuel issues during the meeting and went round this time with a mid-111.  Dave Hampton after his normal steady first run set the best time with a 94.72.   David Gidden, despite the new tyres, was slower than I expected with a high 106.

The only driver that was slower on that run was Malcolm Thorne who had started to hear a knock from the engine and, very understandably, did not push the car too hard.

At some point in this rather busy period I had gone over to see what the situation was with Malcolm’s car.  He was debating whether to drive it.   He started it up at idle and from the quite severe and harsh metallic knock in the V8 I told him that were it my car I would certainly not run it as to do so would risk more extensive damage.  He agreed that this was probably best and then he asked if he could run in Sarah’s 340R.   I said that we had no problems but that not having practised the car would probably be an obstacle. He approached Dave Nursey and we agreed that Malcolm could run first car after lunch as a practice run to enable him to compete in the 340R.   Grayham and I had to make a stab at the handicap we would give him.

With the handicaps now all set and printed out we were ready to go.   Lunch rather passed me by as it was very soon that we were called for our first competitive run.

Steve Millward set a 108.85 which was just a new PB for him but also 1/2 second shy of his handicap.  Dick set a 108.97 that was within 3/4 second of his PB and 0.62 over. Ian Parmenter had his slowest run of the meeting though I’m afraid I can’t recall  the reason.  I was fairly pleased with a 100.85 though I knew there had been some mistakes on the run.  That was 1.35 over for me.  Chris Westwood was 1/100th slower than his best practice and the 114.59 was 2.59 over.  This was going to be Grayham Parker’s only run as he had to be sat down to eat at 7 pm at Celina’s sisters birthday meal.back in the West Midlands.   He did it justice however and his 104.57 was 0.43 under.  Jane had a good run and set a new PB on 110.11.   Sarah set her best time so far with a 110.95 but that was a good way off her best of 106.63 set last year.  Lyn B didn’t have a good run with a 125.25.   I’m sure exactly where in the running order Malcolm took his run but now in the road class the 103.58 was just 0.58 over the handicap time that Grayham and I had guesstimated.

In the race class it was Tony Shute first off and another new PB on 91.92.  1.17 over his target time.  Then John Palmer reset his long standing PB and the 94.34 was also 0.16 under.  Kenny Lewis had his best run but the 101.03 was somewhat off his previous high 95 pace from some years ago.   We had given Stephen Palmer and Keith Wilford the same handicaps for their 23B’s and since their engines were nowhere near as powerful as David Gidden’s he had to go a bit faster.    Stephen was making good progress with his car but the 115.10 was some way off his target.    I think it was this run where Keith had a fuel problem in the start queue and had to return to the paddock.  He found the problem with the carbs – some finger trouble on some reassembly if I recall, and was able to return to take his run.   It was worth it as the 105.59 was 0.41 under.   Dave Hampton was taking his normal steady build up but equally now going very fast.  In fact whilst the 100th improvement to his PB could not quite be described as smashing the class record it was nonetheless just that.  A new class record with a 90.97 and just 0.19 over the tough handicap that we have given him (and Tony).   David Gidden was about three seconds slower than his best practice time and equally some way off his 100 second handicap.

So after that first run it was Grayham leading from Keith second and John Palmer third.

Grayham’s car was loading on the trailer about the time we went off again.  Before we had a chance to go again there was quite a serious accident to one of the big Goulds immediately after the start.   The car snapped left almost head on into the Armco.  I can only think a driveshaft failed.   Fortunately the driver was unhurt and the car was not too badly damaged.

Steve Millward was a bit slower that run as was Dick.  Ian P improved but the 111.69 was still not as quick as his best practice and he finished on 3.69 over.   My run wasn’t bad though this time the mistakes and the good bits all seemed to be in different places and despite that the run was only 2/100ths different though, unfortunately, slower.   Chris Westwood set his best time of the day and the 113.08 was just 1.08 over.   With no Grayham it was Jane next and she really found something this time to improve by over two seconds and the 107.76 was easily a new PB and also was 0.59 under.  It was also the first time at Anglesey that she was faster than Steve.    Sarah was a bit slower this run but Lyn improved to a 122.11 though she had gone faster in two of her practice runs.    Malcolm had probably overcooked it somewhere this run as he was over 3 seconds slower than first run.

Tony Shute improved again with another new PB on 91.77 that was only 1.02 over the maybe slightly tough time we had given him.     JP was a bit slower this run as was Kenny, Stephen and Keith.  Mr Hampton was clearly in the mood for setting new class records as he did it again, just slightly more emphatically this time with a 3/100ths improvement to leave the record at 90.94. That was 0.19 over.  David Gidden improved to a 102.88 that was 2.88 over.

So that left us with a win for our current champion Jane Millward from Grayham second and Keith Wilford third.

In race scratch it was the usual three suspects and in the usual Hampton, Shute, Palmer order.  In road scratch it was me from a surprise entrant in Malcolm Thorne with Grayham third.

So the main championship now has Dave Hampton on 40 points, 6 points ahead of Dick Swindall who is just 1 point ahead of Tony Shute.

In race scratch it is DH on 24 from Tony second with 21.  John Palmer is third but suffering from missing Prescott and is some way behind with 12.

In road scratch I am first with 23 from Geoff Stallard on 17 and Messrs. Bristow, Swindall and Parker jointly third with 7 points.

So, after a fairly stressful but nonetheless enjoyable Anglesey it’s on to Castle Combe where I predict everyone will get a new PB!