Report 25/07/21

Three Sisters Circuit – 25th July 2021

Here we went again, just a week later after the fun at Shelsley Walsh.

Again, the weather was being kind to us. Although Sue Wilford had said that she had been in contact with the Dobsons and as they have not been unable to join us at any of the events, she was blaming for them for the strange weather.

Upon our arrival with many motorhomes, campervans and cars with trailers in tow, there were many discussions about parking arrangements – Dick would have loved it!  Finally, with an agreement by all, we settled in for the night. 

After a leisurely start, then drivers’ briefing and sound check done, our first practice began. The dual drivers went out first with Briony Milner experiencing her first time ever on a circuit. She did brilliantly with some great lines. As soon as the first of the dual drivers had been out, the second driver went out and came back to the pits before the rest of group had chance to put on their helmets on.

Soon it was the rest of our group’s first practice run. Off went Dave Hampton and John Palmer, with no issue, followed by Chris Westwood, then came Pete Bottrill! During Pete’s run, and before launching himself into the long right hand bend, he approached it great speed, chipping the green painted edge then headed onto the dirt with a great plumb of smoke. He continued to drive over the red and white rumble strip which appeared to pull him around the bend. Amazing to watch!  Pete did mention later that this happens to him every time he drives here!  Then Pete was red flagged and was stopped on the track. Unfortunately, Chris Westwood had an incident just before the finishing line. Apparently, a wheel locked under heavy braking which spun him round and he ended up in the tyre wall. Fortunately, Chris wasn’t hurt but the same couldn’t be said about the car. Also, Stephen Palmer had been on the track and was red flagged. Once the track was cleared and the Tyre wall repaired Pete and Stephen drove slowly back to the paddock which that meant their practice was over. The rest of the group drove without any problems, but it was game over for Chris.

With not many other competitors driving and the way the event is run, our second practice came upon us very quickly. The dual drivers slotted back within our group as normal. When it came to Iain Stallard, Dave Hampton and John Palmer’s turn, for some reason the timing decided not to work properly so they were later given another run. As this track was a different route from two years ago it was challenging the drivers – even Paul Matty had lots of ‘wiggles’ and wheels on the grass.

We then stopped for lunch. Dave Hampton, Clive Buffey and Paul Matty gathered together and the handicap times were set.

After lunch it was time for our first timed run. Panic stations with Stephen Palmer as his seat belts were stuck under the bodywork. With a bit of persuasion, they were put back into the correct position and off he went, followed by Clive Buffey. Clive, first time at this circuit, was flying down the final stretch and passed the finish line when he touched the brake, kicking out the rear of the car. As this did not slow the car down sufficiently, he applied the brakes again which sent him into 360 spin. Fortunately, he ended up on the track and returned to the paddock unharmed. The marshals did a great job in red flagging the session which meant the Keith Wilford and Anthony Shute would have to have a re-run. Meanwhile Malcolm Thorne had a flat battery so was going to have to start his Lotus 35 off a separate battery.

Our second timed run came around very quickly and off everyone went, with no known issues and most people’s times improving. In the end, Jonathan Bibby, with a brilliant drive, won the round with a time of 52.15. This was -1.70 off his handicap.

With only two events remaining, the Championship is very close between second, third and four place, with only 5 points between them. It is also very close between fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth place with only 3 points between them. It is even closer in ‘Scratch’ as in the Road Class Pete Bottrill is just ahead from Jonathan Bibby by 3 points and in the Racing Class only one point separates Tony Shute and Dave Hampton.

So, it’s still all to play for!