Race Report Harewood 5th August 2017

For me anyway it was great to get back to a proper track where you could see where you were going.  At least most of the time!   Harewood is one of my favourite hills and with the weather forecast looking pretty promising it was good to be back and enjoy the great view from the top paddock.

It was the first time at Harewood for Jonathan Bibby and Clive Buffey.  We also had Iain Stallard guesting again in Geoff’s Elan.  He had driven (and crashed!) at Harewood before.      David Gidden was back as was Tony Wallen.

What we thought was a hydraulic problem for JJ’s Elise at Blyton turned out to be clutch failure and it was replaced at Paul’s garage during the week.

It was Keith Wilford’s first Harewood event in the 23B

The top protagonists in the main championship and the race scratch contest were Tony Shute and Dave Hampton.  Tony was 6 points and 2 points ahead respectively so things were hotting up with just the three rounds remaining.

Malcolm Thorne was entered in the 35 but I assume that it was still not quite ready and he brought the 15 Buick.   I the event that was to no avail as a family emergency cropped up early that Saturday morning and he and Sarah had to hot foot it back down south without even taking the car out of the trailer.  Malcolm did, at least, get one point for the car being at the meeting!

We were the first class in the programme and Steve Millward and Geoff Stallard led off for us to come back to the top to swap for Iain and Jane.

 These first runs were fairly pedestrian though Chris Westwood was within a second of his PB and Tony Shute in the 69 was very close to his best Exposé time.  Keith Wilford also beat his 7 S4 time though was not near the best he had done in his Europa.

After that first run it was clear that the organisers were confusing the Stallard’s times and whilst we were clear ourselves that seemed to last through the meeting.   I see that the official results, now out, credit Geoff with first place on scratch whereas Iain was actually fastest.

The event was going very smoothly and our second run came round very quickly.  People were going a bit quicker now.  Steve Millward was just a second off his PB and Geoff two seconds.  Chris Westwood set a new PB with 76.38 as then did Ian Parmenter with a 71.25.    Iain improved to 66 .12.

Keith Wilford now set a more representative time with a 67.20.   Stephen Palmer also set a new PB with 70.53.   Tony Shute now eclipsed his Exposé time with a 62.92 with DH just keeping him at bay with a 62.29.

We had found out that it was likely that our first timed run would be before lunch so Paul and I quickly got down to sorting out the handicaps as usual applying ourselves with our normal diligence and skill!!!   After that Paul had to provide warranty assistance to Mr Bibby as the newly fitted clutch did not want to cleanly release.    Fortunately a quick clutch system bleed fixed the problem.

As predicted we were called for our first run before lunch but we were held for quite a time following some on track issues.

Steve Millward set a 71.54 that was 1.04 over.    Geoff’s 66.11 was 0.81 over.  Jonathan Bibby’s 74.33 was another improving run and that was 1.33 over.   Chris was a bit slower than his best practice as was Ian Parmenter.     Dick did improve to a 72.04 that was 1.69 over.  Botty was picking up speed in the Elan and the 71.35 was 1.85 over.   Jane had a very good run and her 70.52 was not only a new PB by 0.18 but also just 0.02 away from the target we had set her.     Stallard the younger then went quicker, of course.   The 64.12, whilst not counting, as such, was still 0.18 under the notional handicap we had allotted.   I improved  a bit to 67.19 that whilst still way off my 2008 PB was at least quicker than last year.

In the race class Keith Wilford  was going well until a gear change hiatus coming into Orchard left him coming in over 70 seconds.    Tony Wallen improved and the 62.80 was 1.55 over.    Clive, learning this technical hill, was three seconds to the good over his practice best with a 71.76.   I think Stephen Palmer was also going quite well until he couldn’t get inside the finish marker posts after Quarry and went round them instead for a fail.    David Gidden was chipping away and his 66.25 was 1.25 over whilst Kenny Lewis’s 65.33 was 1.87 over.   June also improved to 65.79 that was 1.69 over as did Brian with a 66.58 that was 2.48 over.   We had given Tony Shute a 61.25 target and his run was just 0.35 shy of that and, of course, a new PB.  John Palmer  was getting faster in his accustomed steady way and the 66.58 was 2.8 over.   Mr Matty was trying hard and the 64.26 was his best so far though 3.26 over.   Last man Mr Hampton kept his distance from Tony Shute with a 60.66 that was 0.56 over.

So, after the first run it was Jane leading from Tony Shute and then Dave Hampton.

It was a little time after the lunch break that we assembled to go for our second runs.   It seemed likely, the way the meeting was going that a third climb would be offered but as per normal practice only two runs would count for the championship.

Steve Millward set a 71.17 and whilst this was a couple of tenths away from his PB it was also 0.67 over.    Geoff Stallard was a bit slower but JJ was a lot faster and his 72.79 was 0.21 under handicap.     Chris Westwood exactly equalled his best practice time of 76.38 and confirmed that as his new PB.   Ian Parmenter improved a bit but it was still nearly 2 seconds slower than his second practice.   Dick was a bit slower but Botty was a bit quicker and his 71.18 was 1.68 over.   Botty may have been quicker after Dick lightened his wallet during lunch. 

In their normal fashion there was, initially, Ice Cream involved and Dick bought a big one for Pete.   A little later they had a look at the food tent and one of them expressed enthusiasm for the Lasagne.   The other agreed and then Dick reminded Pete that it was his round so Botty emerged from the tent with some Lasagne but also £17 the poorer!

Jane had a slower second run and Iain was also a tenth slower than first time up, probably under Dad’s influence to not bend it.    I was a bit quicker for a 66.90 and I was quite pleased with the way I was going, just that the times did not confirm it.

Keith Wilford then put in his best time for the day with a 66.91, 1.91 over.   Tony Wallen was a bit slower as was Clive.    Stephen Palmer however did put a time on the board this run with an identical 71.89 to Clive’s.   I had to question Marion if there was any sort of mistake as two identical times next to one another could be a error.  Of course it wasn’t a mistake from Marion, perish the thought!!   She knows she has to get it right to keep such a well rewarded job!

David Gidden now got into the 65’s and the 65.97 was 0.97 over and just 0.30 slower than his PB.    Kenny Lewis sneaked a couple of tenths more off this run and the 65.16 was 1.66 over.   June was a tenth slower as was Brian.   Tony Shute had been red flagged twice on this run.   The first when he appeared at the finish only yards behind an MG Midget.   I’m not sure what the second reason was but despite warm tyres and more track time he was just 1/100th slower than his first time up.    Paul had a much better run and the 63.44 was 2.54 over.   DH was half a tenth slower than his first run and was annoyed that he couldn’t get closer to his PB (Tell me about it).

So after that last run it was Jonathan Bibby that was the only driver under handicap and took the win.  Jane Millward was second with the intense battle between Messrs Shute and Hampton ending with Tony in third and Dave fourth.   In race scratch it was Dave ahead of Tony Shute with Mr Wallen taking third.   In road scratch it was Geoff from me and then Jane a commendable third.

So now Tony Shute has a 7 point lead in the main championship on 53 from DH on 46 with Geoff Stallard third on 43 from a resurgent Jonathan Bibby on 42.   In race it is Dave Hampton on 29 now just one point behind Tony Shute on 30.  Mr Matty third on 11.   In road Geoff Stallard has a convincing 6 point lead over me, 31 to 25, with Keith Bristow still holding on in third with 14.

As I thought, a third run was offered.   Most decided not to run, particularly those that had a long way to drive home and having already suffered at the hands of the Friday afternoon traffic – it took Geoff Stallard 7 hours to get up there from Surrey!

I was staying locally so decided to have another run, as did Dave Hampton, Keith Wilford and Stephen Palmer.  I record the times in italics on the sheets.  Dave Hampton’s 60.27 was just 0.20 away from his PB.   I went better on 66.44.  Keith was a bit slower but Stephen was faster but still a bit down on his best practice.

The weather held well for us despite a few shower clouds on the horizon..  Tony Shute keeps complaining about the dry events but I don’t think he is suffering too much…………………….

So now just two Shelsley’s to go and things are getting tense.