Report – 09/08/2020

PAUL MATTY SPORTSCARS LOTUS CHAMPIONSHIP 2020

 

SHELSLEY WALSH – SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST 2020

 

After it looked as though we would be writing off our championship for 2020, with much speculation, uncertainty and too-ing and fro-ing with the various clubs, we finally managed to put together a reduced championship of 5 events – all of them at Shelsley Walsh, as they had managed to obtain a permit to run some trimmed down events. Our first event was the Reg Phillips meeting.

With Jon taking a sabbatical this season and Marion not present to collect the times due to Dave’s engine problems, Clive and Helen very kindly agreed to step in and compile the results.  With apologies to Jon, Paul and I have put together a report of the day.

The weather was baking hot on Saturday with the forecast for Sunday slightly cooler but still dry. However, Sunday started quite cool and misty and the sun didn’t appear until late afternoon. But, most importantly for us all (bar Tony!), it was dry. Hallelujah!

It was a two 1-day event weekend with the VSCC meeting on Saturday.  With the strict Covid measures, no spectators are currently allowed and we were not allowed to enter the paddock to unload our cars on Saturday until after 5pm and the VSCC meeting had cleared. There are strict measures in place. All competitors have to sign in online before the event. On arrival, temperatures are taken, wristbands issued and your name ticked off the list. The paddock has every other shed left empty to distance competitors, so the entry list is much reduced.

So, we all got our cars unloaded into our designated sheds.  However, David Gidden had noticed a problem with his 23b when unloading so Paul and Tim got to work and after a couple hours’ intense labour, managed to solve the problem.  As the fish and chip supper at the Shelsley restaurant was calling, they decided to arrive early on Sunday morning to put it all back together.

It was quite different to a normal meeting with no spectators or commentary and no split times, just the finishing time so we resorted to our mobile phones to check them on Resultsman!

There were only 16 of us competing for various reasons. Some are unable to do all five meetings. Jane was still convalescing due to a neighbour’s excitable dog crashing into her leg, breaking her knee and Chris Westwood has broken his hand falling over whilst walking dog. Aren’t dogs supposed to keep you healthy?! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.  Steve Hopkins is missing this season as his father’s health is not good. We wish him well. Dave H was missing as his engine blew when testing at Curborough. It is hoped he will be able to join us soon, and two of our new competitors were self-isolating. JJ’s partner, Briony, has joined us for the first time and is sharing his Elise and Iain Stallard shared Dad Geoff’s Elan S3.

First practice saw us all lined up and eager to go. First off was Iain, warming the car up for Geoff, and JJ, doing the same for Briony, then Steve, John Palmer who was in his Elise 111R as his 61 is not quite ready yet, then Pete, Geoff and Briony.  All did a steady first run except for Karen who had a smoking exhaust problem.  After inspection it was discovered the Elan had blown a head gasket, so that was the end of her meeting and the first of the day’s casualties.

Tony Wallen got the race class going with a respectable 33.68, setting the pace for the rest of the class. Stephen Palmer went next in his first competitive run in the newly acquired and beautifully turned out 51, then Clive in his 61.  June was next and was going well until Crossing when she suddenly slowed right down and coasted gingerly the top.  On return to the pits, Tim, Paul and Roy investigated and found a rather serious engine failure, so that was the end of June’s competition.

It is hoped both Karen’s Elan and June’s 69 can be repaired in time for next Sunday’s meeting. Fingers crossed.

Paul was behind June and was turned around to restart, followed by Dave Gidden, now repaired and running well. Brian was next followed by Tony S who did an impressive 32.15.  We discovered on his return that he had lost the brakes on one side.  Maybe the reason why he got such a good time?!   He managed to fix the problem and got all the brakes working for the remaining runs.  Sarah and Malcolm finished the first practice run.

After the second practice, Tony W and Clive agreed to work out the handicaps as Paul was loading June’s car and checking a problem with the air suspension, or lack of it, on their transporter. It turned out to be a squirrel had chewed through the tube!  Fortunately, it worked just enough to raise the suspension to get it home.  Paul sat in for the final check of the handicaps and we were set for the timed runs.

First timed runs went well with everybody trying very hard to beat their handicaps.

Then on the final run of the day, we were lined up ready to go and the meeting was held up due to a problem at the top paddock. By the time it was sorted, we had all been sitting in our cars in the hot sun and only about half managed to improve on their first run. Notably John Palmer, who was first on handicap, followed by Steve in second place and Iain in third, a bittersweet result for Geoff, proud Dad but miffed competitor! Although he did predict that Iain would get a 32 on his final run.

So we go back to Shelsley next Sunday to continue the battle! 

June and Paul