Race Report (Harewood 6 August)
Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2016
Harewood 6 August
|Date||Saturday 6 August 2016|
We hadn’t been to Harewood for a couple of years now and many of us were really missing it. With some lovely weather it was great to be back.
We were able to welcome Peter Bottrill back to the championship after his double knee replacement . We all commented that he now looked taller than before rather than his trademark stoop. He ventured “tall, dark and handsome”? No, just taller was the consensus.I had been surprised not to see Keith Wilford’s entry, as I told him at Blyton, since it is favourite of his and his ‘local’.
Apparently there had been administrative cock up at his end and so when he checked the entry was full. Keith did however turn up to spectate with our old mate Gordon Morrison.
Grayham Parker didn’t come to this one though Kenny Lewis, Brian Meddings and Steve Hopkins had entered to boost our numbers.
Geoff Stallard had needed to replace the clutch after Blyton (I wonder why that was?) and he had left the oil level in the dry sump tank a bit lower, not by design, but due to time, and seemingly miraculously the clouds of smoke from Blyton were virtually gone.
We were the first class out for this event and shortly after 9 am we headed off down the hill from the paddock to line up for the start. Steve Millward first, of course.
I had been quite surprised to see that tyre warming was now banned at Harewood though that surely is the future. I’m sure most of us don’t mind lessening the strain on the cars with the double or treble starts per run that are often performed. As Geoff Stallard remarked ” At least the front and the rear tyres will be at the same temperature!”
Steve set a 73.91 that was a couple of seconds off his best. Keith Bristow followed on his first visit and set a sensible mid 77. Lyn Bird, her first time in the Elise, set an 86. Chris Westwood recorded a mid 79 against his best in his previous Exige of 75.78. Botty, inevitably a bit rusty but still giving it a good go, set a mid 75. Ian Parmenter with his Elan in a better spec than his last visit set a low 75 compared with his old best of 73.31. Sarah again was in a different car to her last visit (Elise I think) and the 340R set a mid 75. Jane set a good 73.33, like Steve, a couple of seconds off her best. Dick’s mid 75 was about five seconds off his long standing PB. Steve Hopkins saw a 74.20 compared with his 72.12 PB.
It was Geoff Stallard’s first visit to Harewood in the Elan though hew knew the course well via other cars in his ‘fleet’. A 68.98 was the result. My low 70 second run was, depressingly, some 8 seconds off my silly 2008 PB.
In the race class it was David Gidden off first and his old PB of 67.08 had been set in the ex Glazzard +2 so this first time for the 23B saw a 70.33. Malcolm then set a similar low 70 second time with Kenny a high 71. Stephen Palmer’s first time here saw a sensible but very respectable mid 78. June had a good first run with a high 68 and then Paul also with a low 66. Brian set a low 74 and John Palmer a high 68. The last two, and vying for the championship lead, were Tony Shute and Dave Hampton with mid 67 and a high 75 respectively.
With a large entry it was a while before our second practice runs came round and certainly the proceedings did go quiet several times as cars needed retrieval.
Steve led us off again and improved to a low 72. Keith Bristow was quickly gaining confidence and the high 70 was a big gain. Lyn improved to a low 83 and Chris a mid 78. Botty saw 3 seconds to the good with a mid 72 and Ian P was just a tenth away from his very old PB with a mid 73. Sarah’s 73.30 was also just off her old PB. Dick’s 73.28 was within 3 seconds of his, again long standing, mark. Steve Hopkins got to within 1/2 second of his 2013 PB. Geoff Stallard saw about a 1.5 second improvement for a 67.33. I also went a bit quicker but the 68.76 wasn’t the time I was looking for.
David Gidden set a 67.91 and Malcolm a 67.44. Kenny set a 69.23 and then Stephen Palmer improved to a mid 75. June was going well and closed to within about 1.8 of her PB with a 65.87. Paul’s 64.06 was another improvement and then Brian Medding’s 67.60 was just 0.02 away from his PB and John Palmer’s 66.38 was about a second off his best. Tony Shute was not as quick as I was expecting and recorded another mid 67. Dave Hampton took three seconds off his first attempt for a 62.88.
Paul and I sat down to sort out the handicaps and again, because of new cars, new drivers and spec changes it was tricky to get something meaningful and sensible as the targets.
We were first off after lunch and Steve Millward set a 71.44, 1.44 over. Keith Bristow’s 73.15 was not as quick as second practice and was 5.15 over. Lyn improved a lot and the 78.92 was 2.92 over, just beating Chris’s time of 79.43 that was slower than his best from the morning. Botty set a 70.98 that was 1.73 over and then Ian Parmenter saw a new PB of 71.56 but that was still 2.06 over. Sarah set a very good 69.61 that was clearly a new PB and just 0.61 over. Jane’s 71.24 was 1.24 over, just quicker than Dick’s 71.42 and with the same 70 second handicap was 1.42 over.
Steve Hopkins had a great run to take two seconds off his PB and the 70.08 was just 0.08 over that same 70 second handicap. Geoff Stallard had said earlier he would be pleased with a 65 and with a 65.48 that was realised and it was 0.73 over. My 67.44 was an improvement but, despite really enjoying the run, it was just not good enough and 3.44 over.
David Gidden had a much better run and unequivocally set a new PB with a 65.67 that was 1.67 over. Malcolm also had a flyer and the 65.94 was a new PB but also the first driver to beat handicap. He went 0.06 under. Kenny’s 68.07 was an improvement but still 4.57 over. Stephen Palmer’s 72.42 was another PB and 3.42 over. June improved a couple of tenth’s on her morning best. The 65.65 being 1.15 over. Paul got to within a couple of seconds of his PB and the 62.41 was 0.91 over. Brian Meddings, after his Blyton success was going very well and his 65.05 was again a new PB and just 0.80 over. John Palmer improved run by run as we always expect and his 65.16 was a new PB but still 4.16 over. Tony Shute improved a lot that run and the 64.89, whilst being a second away from his PB was still 0.91 over. Dave Hampton set a 61.75 that was 1.75 over.
So, after the first runs it was Malcolm first from Steve Hopkins and then Sarah.
Our second and final run came round relatively quickly and Steve Millward improved to 70.92. This new PB left him 0.92 over. Keith Bristow set his best time this run and the 68.54 was 3.54 over. Lyn was slower this run but Chris improved to 77.97 to leave him 2.72 over. Botty was a tad slower this time as was Ian Parmenter and Sarah. Jane Millward however set a new PB by just 0.06 and finished 1.70 over (and quicker than Steve!). Dick had a rather slower run than first time up as a carburettor banjo bolt not only came loose but fell out altogether leaving petrol gushing everywhere as he got to the finish. He was very, very lucky for the car not to catch fire. Back in the paddock we were asking him why the banjo bolts were not lockwired. He was not convinced it was needed as the bolts had been tight earlier?????????????. It was later that I was thinking what would have happened in his earlier maritime career if, after an engine problem on the ship, some junior hand would have come up to the Chief Engineer and said “But, Mr Swindall the bolt was tight yesterday”.
Anyway, as Dick didn’t seem to have his trailer with him this time Steve Millward lent him one of the bolts from his car (after cutting the lockwire to release it!). A few minutes later Kenny Lewis found the original errant bolt in a recess in the engine bay. Will the bolts be lockwired at Shelsley?
Anyway, that bit was out of sequence because behind Dick Steve Hopkins and Geoff Stallard had been red flagged. I was on the start line preparing to make a much better effort but then the red flag came out. All I could see was the time clock going up inexorably against Steve Hopkins number so I assumed it was him. Anyway, after some minutes the flags came in and I readied for the start again. The first 64ft time wasn’t bad but then the bit where 1st gear needs to become 2nd gear wasn’t so good. How I fluffed that I don’t know but as we all know a mistake early has consequences. throughout the rest of the run. Despite that I was a bit quicker and should have been able to make a bit more of a challenge to Geoff had everything gone to plan. 67.35 wasn’t the time I expected this day. However, I must say that I don’t hold Dick responsible, well not entirely anyway!
Obviously Steve and Geoff must have filtered into the queue behind me. Steve was trying to break into the 69’s and had a bit a wild ride to be just 0.03 slower than his first run to finish the day 0.06 over. Geoff did take another tenth off to finish 0.61 under.
David Gidden was slower this time as was Malcolm. Kenny improved a lot though and the 65.48 was quite close to his 63.96 PB and he finished 1.98 over. Stephen Palmer took another 1/4 second off and the 72.08 left him 3.08 over. June made a similar improvement and her 65.28 saw her finish just 0.78 over. Paul was about a second slower on that run though he was obviously trying as he was easily the fastest through the speed trap at 100 mph both runs, way ahead of anybody else. So Paul finished on 0.91 over. Brian was slower this time but John Palmer improved again to 64.04 which was another new PB but still 3.04 over. Tony Shute took off another couple of tenths to finish with 64.66, 0.91 over. Last man Dave Hampton went quicker with a 61.30 but I know he had probably had his eye on the John Crook record of 59.47 from 2004. Dave finished on 1.30 over.
So the final result saw the top three unchanged from the first run except that the results were not exactly as Paul announced from the sheet. Looking closer while I was sorting this out I saw that in two situations there was a tie of handicap. Both Sarah and Geoff finished on 0.61 over so they share 3rd place and 9 points each. Paul and Tony also tied on 0.91 over so they share 7th place and 5 points each.
This has ramifications for the championship. With Tony now getting 5 points to Dave Hampton’s 2 they are tied at the top with 53 points each. Also Geoff Stallard moves up to within 3 points of them with 50 with Malcolm and John Palmer joint 4th on 42.
There is another twist to this in that Geoff Stallard will be on holiday for the August Shelsley so will lose the opportunity to score any points then.
In race scratch it was DH first from a speeding Mr Matty and John Palmer third and Tony Shute fourth. This means that Dave Hampton now has 39 points to Tony Shute’s 30.
In road scratch Geoff has been eating into my lead and now is just two points behind my 34 but not being at the next Shelsley could be costly.
Just two more events for the year now.
So it was a great Harewood, I really enjoyed the driving though I have no idea how I managed to do a 62.27 in 2008. I think that the well known saying ‘The older I get the faster I was’ seems quite literally true!
See you at Shelsley