Race Report (Blyton 31 July)

Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2016

Blyton Park 31 July

Circuit Blyton Park
Date Saturday 31 July 2016
Race Report
This was the fourth time the Championship had been to the Blyton Park track in Lincolnshire over the years but this time the MAC had decided to use the 1.4 mile ‘Eastern Circuit’ layout on the old airfield.   Our previous visits had all used the outer circuit configuration.   The Eastern Circuit featured some much tighter sections and these were mainly defined by bales and cones.   Probably about 40% of the this Eastern layout was shared with the familiar sections from our previous visits.  I am not a great fan of bales and cones as they make navigation quite difficult to determine and as you go faster each run that gets progressively more so with commitment sometimes tricky to maximise.  From some of the incidents that occurred I may share this view with some of my fellow competitors.  Equally others were not apparently fazed by this.Having said all that I really enjoyed the event and I, in the end, preferred the new layout to that we have previously used.

It was a disappointingly low entry for the MAC but the decision to start the event later was certainly welcomed by those driving up in the morning.

Castle Combe runners Grayham Parker, Steve Hopkins and Stephen Palmer were sitting out this event.  But again, after his stellar performance at the Combe Geoff’s son Max Verstallard was again guesting in the S3 Elan and continued his great driving.    Only Dave Hampton and Tony Shute eclipsed his times!    How does Iain do it?   David Gidden was back after missing Combe.

We were towards the end of the small entry but after numerous issues and delays from the runners ahead of us in the first practice we were wondering if the late start had been a good idea.  Fortunately things did settle.

Steve Millward, as is now his customary role was first off with a 97.10.   Then Iain Stallard set a 87.40.   Dick Swindall was next with a 93.86.  Dick had told me that from his detailed records that this was the 300th event for the blue Elan!   Jane Millward set a 94.25.  Ian Parmenter recorded a 91.69.   Chris Westwood did not spot the first chicane section properly and bypassed it recording a fail.    Sarah Thorne set a very good 89.13.  I thought the tables were being turned when Geoff Stallard recorded an 83.77, over 3 seconds quicker than Iain.  Later normal service would be resumed!

I set a 89.18 that could have been better if I have been in the right gear in several places.    Keith Bristow had made up his mind to start sensibly and the 97.38 was the result.

June was the first of the race class and saw a 91.64 with John Palmer behind with a 85.33.   David Gidden was going very well and set a 83.23.

Keith Wilford seemed to have got the 23B going properly with some assistance from the Matty garage with the replacement of a very tired distributor amongst other things and set a 93.03.  Brian Meddings recorded a 92.45 and Tony Shute – still in the Exposé while the 69 engine is waiting on some pistons, set a very fast 78.69.   This is just the sort of track where Tony’s skills can shine.    Mr Matty set the second fastest time of that first run with an 81.25.  It might have been the third fastest but for no fault of his Dave Hampton was given an NTR when the timing had a glitch.    Last man Malcolm Thorne set a 84.08.

We were off for our second runs quite soon and Steve M improved some 6 seconds for s 91.14.  Iain Stallard also improved to an 83.28.   Dick set a 90.08 and Jane an 88.97.   Ian P also went sub 90 seconds with a 89.37.  Chris Westwood recorded a time this time with a 100.66   Sarah was going very well and the 86.87 was a good improvement.     Geoff ‘only’ improved by 1 second for a 82.79 – still quicker than Iain.   I went a bit better for a 86.46 and Keith Bristow much quicker for an 88.62.

June took about 5 seconds off for an 86.40 and then John Palmer set an 81.65 with David Gidden a 80.77.   Keith W took 5 seconds off for an 88.05 now with a bit more confidence that the car was not going to stop at any minute.     Brian Meddings improved to 86.61.   Tony Shute was a bit slower that time round.   I don’t know quite why but it was only just over a second..  Paul was pleased with a sub 80 time of 79.62.   Mr Hampton was given a time this run and, not surprisingly, it was the best time so far at 75.12.  Malcolm was just a tad slower than his first run.

Paul and I sat down to try and sort some handicaps.  This was the second time in a week where we were working a bit blind with no previous results to go on.   I had used the outer circuit times as a PB indicator on the sheet  and it seemed then that this layout was around 5 – 10 seconds slower.   So we gave it our best shot.

Steve Millward set a 87.30, 1.05 over.    We had given Iain Stallard a notional handicap time of 80 seconds and, of course, he blew through that with a 78.10.

Dick’s 90.46 was a bit slower than his best practice time.   Jane had a similar issue to Chris earlier and missing the first chicane meant she recorded a fail.    Ian Parmenter set an 88.90 that was 2.90 over.   Chris set a 97.88 but that was quite a long way off his target.   Sarah was also slower than her best of the morning and the 87.48 was 3.48 over.    Geoff Stallard produced a very creditable 80.03, that was 0.97 under.  I was still getting it wrong in places and although better the 83.84 was 1.84 over.

Keith Bristow’s 87.16 was 4.16 over.

June was finding Blyton more to her liking than the Combe and the 84.25 was just 0.25 over.   John Palmer kept the downward trend and the 79.45 was 1.95 over.  David Gidden was a little bit overenthusiastic at the very tight final bend before the finish and had all four wheels off for a fail.   Keith Wilford  set a 88.75 which was slower than his best in practice and some way off his handicap.    Brian Meddings was going well and his 83.94 was 0.06 under his target.  He was quite chuffed!

Mr Shute was really winding up the Exposé and the 75.77 was also under handicap to the tune of 0.23 seconds.   Paul was also going well and the 78.55 was just 1.05 over.

Dave Hampton was a couple of tenths slower than his best (and only) time of the morning and was 1.65 over.   Last man Malcolm carefully emulated Mr Gidden and also had four wheels off at the finish, side swiping the chequer board but mercifully missing the timing beam kit.   I don’t think we have ever seen 3 fails in the class on just the one run.    Paul is mulling over a multiple dipstick award possibility.

So after the first run and ignoring Iain Stallard it was dad Geoff first from Tony Shute second and Brian Meddings third.

The to the final runs.

Steve Millward set a very respectable 86.39 to finish just 0.14 over.   Iain again went quicker and the 76.28 would have been 3.72 under!!!

Dick set his best time of 88.49 to finish 1.99 over.   Jane wasn’t pleased with the 88.07 she set but the previous run’s fail had upset her rhythm and she ended on 2.07 over.  Ian P took a couple couple of tenths off and the 88.71 was 2.71 over.   Chris was a bit slower on his last run and  was not in the handicap running.   Sarah took another couple of seconds off and the 85.68 was 1.68 over.   Geoff Stallard went faster again keeping Iain in sight and the 79.22 meant he ended the day 1.78 under.  I improved to a 82.70 that was 0.70 over.  Keith Bristow took another 4 seconds and the 83.10 was just 0.10 over.

June was really motoring and the 82.56 was 1.44 under.  JP’s final effort was a 76.29 that left him also under handicap by 1.21.    David Gidden couldn’t quite equal his best time from the morning and with the first run fail he finished 3.47 over.   Keith W pared another 2.5 seconds off to finish on 86.15, 4.15 over.   Now the car is running he is looking forward to the winter and buying some more horsepower.   Brian couldn’t equal his first run time and so finished 0.06 under.    Tony took off another seconds to finish with an excellent 74.78 that put him 1.22 under.     Mr Matty was a couple of tenths slower than his first run time so finished 1.05 over.   Dave Hampton left the best until last and the 72.18 was a 3 second improvement and was also 1.57 under.

Malcolm Thorne put a good time on the board with an 81.91 that was 0.09 under.

So in the main championship it was a win for Geoff Stallard with Dave Hampton second from June third.   In race scratch it was Messrs Hampton, Shute and Palmer in that order.    In road scratch it was Geoff from me and then Keith Bristow in third.

Now after the seventh round of the championship Dave Hampton with 51 points is maintaining a slender 3 points lead over Tony Shute.   John Palmer and Geoff Stallard share third place with 41 points each.

In the race scratch contest Mr Hampton is again holding sway over Tony Shute with 34 points to 28.  John Palmer is slightly more distant third with 17 points.   In road scratch I am just keeping Geoff Stallard at bay 30 points to 27.   Grayham Parker is third with 11 and Keith Bristow on 10.

So, immediately on to Harewood this Saturday.

We should have Botty back with us for this.