View Report 11/08/18

Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2018

Shelsley Walsh 11th August


This was the second Shelsley event for us this year and we were doing one day, the Saturday, whilst over the two days there was a British Hillclimb Championship meeting.  There was a seemingly enormous entry including bikes and our road class was situated in the Orchard.   With a very iffy forecast I decided to withdraw my entry as last time I was in the Orchard, and it was wet, I couldn’t get the Plus 2 out up the slope.

Anyway, the Saturday was largely dry until towards the end of the meeting but in view of the number of cars that had to run Paul had taken the very prescient decision for our class to only take the first run as practice and then the second official practice run to be, for us, as our first competitive run.  Luckily all the class did get a second competitive dry run and that was it for our competition.  In the event we could have had our fourth run, and some did, but by then it was raining.  So it all worked out quite well though despite there only being a half hour lunch break, but had there been any sort of major incident on the hill things could have been very different. 

It was the first event for Brian Meddings lovely new 35 F2 though I must say that they are becoming a bit common now!   Jane and Steve were in their Elise 111R though Jane was still suffering just a bit of neck pain.   The Elan was now at Mr Matty’s. Steve Hopkins had finally got his problems sorted via a new alternator.   Keith Bristow had entered the 19 but sadly the engine was still not finished so he resorted to the Exige.

The day had started badly for Keith Wilford who had discovered a nail in one of his rear tyres when he unloaded.   Race tyres don’t get puncture repaired and despite BMTR being on site they did not have any tyres on board to suit the 23B.    Mr Matty kindly went home, fortunately not too far of course, and fetched two wobbly web wheels with suitable tyres fitted so Keith could live another day.    Dick Swindall had experienced misfire problems on the road coming down and had bought and fitted new the usual suspects for a standard ignition set up.

The first practice saw Tim Grasby set a new 39.81 PB in Mr Bristow’s Exige.   Karen also set a new PB with a 48.16.  Dick found that the misfire had not improved and was scratching his head back in the paddock.   June’s engine seemed fine and her 33.97 was a very good first effort.     Stephen Palmer set a new PB on 34.89.   Brian Meddings set a 37.31 on his first run in the 35 but was finding the gear lever gate taking a bit of getting used to.    Clive Buffey had some gear issues as well. Last point of note is that Tony Shute’s 69 was wheeled back to paddock as the starter wouldn’t operate.  A fuse in the solenoid circuit had blown.   He fitted a larger fuse and all was working and he took his run later.  Also taking the later run Keith Wilford had heard noise from the back of the car on his run and had backed off.   This was revealed to be that the loaned rear wheels were just fouling the caliper (I think).  This issue was solved by the insertion of washers to space the wheel out a bit further.

Paul and I set the handicaps based on dry conditions.

So on our first competitive run Tim Grasby set another new PB on 37.57 and Keith Bristow also with a class PB of 32.73.   He had gone a bit quicker than this at other events hence the handicap we set him.   Ian Parmenter improved to 38.71 and then Karen set another new PB with a 46.35.  Dick’s car was not going well at all and anything much over 4500 rpm under load resulted in a misfire.

Geoff Stallard had an excellent run with a 33.84 that was a new PB for the car in this spec and 0.18 under.    He had done a 33.64 at the August 2014 meeting but with a lower axle ratio so we had being using 34.07 as his previous PB.  John Palmer set a new Elise PB with a 38.01 and Chris Westwood was only just behind with his new PB on 38.24

David Gidden set a 33.80 that was 1.05 over and June’s 33.96 was a smidgen quicker than practice and 0.38 over.   Keith Wilford improved to a 35.83 which was quite good since I expect the loaned tyres were not quite in factory fresh condition!   Stephen Palmer had the bit between his teeth and his 34.11 was not far behind David Gidden and was a new PB and 0.14 under.    Sarah was also going very well and the 34.40 was an emphatic new PB and 0.60 under.    Mr Meddings improved to a 36.35 and then Clive Buffey blew us all away with super 32.63 that was 0.87 under.   Tony Shute, still ruing the fact that it still wasn’t raining, set a 31.05 that was only 0.07 off his PB but just 0.05 over.  Tony Wallen was not far behind with a 31.92 just edging Mr Matty’s 31.93 but Paul’s run was 0.07 under and one of his best for some time.

Malcolm was taking the fight to Tony Shute and his new PB of 31.27 was just 0.22 over.      Last man Dave Hampton also had a good run and his 30.34 was just 4/10ths off his class record from 2013 and 0.34 over.  He told me that he record had been set when the engine was 1600cc compared with the larger and torquier 2 litre he has now.

So after this first run it was Clive leading from Sarah and then Geoff.

It wasn’t until close to 4:30pm that the the class got their first official timed run (our second) and there were just a few spits and spots starting to appear.     I don’t think it would have compromised the run too much but, in the event not many people improved.   Tim Grasby did and his 36.67 PB left him 0.67 over.   Botty improved by just 2/100ths and the 37.91 saw him finish on 1.16 over.   Steve Hopkins also improved to 36.89 but that was over a second shy of his PB and 0.89 over.

Next driver to set a better time was June with a 33.63 that was 0.38 over and then Brian getting things sorted with a 35.79.   Tony Wallen was quicker with a 31.67 that left him 0.62 over.   Dave Hampton was determined to get a quicker run this time but, as he dropped the clutch, the U/J on the near side drive shaft cried enough, fortunately without much peripheral damage.    The large inboard doughnut had restrained any flailing about and the failure had happened before there were two many revs on the wheels.   Dave was wheeled back and the marshals then spent some time collecting up the needle rollers released from the bearing cups as the joint broke.   He should be back in action for Blyton.

Dick had been  still suffering with the misfire despite ministrations from Mr Matty.  To compound his problems his headlights had failed so it looked increasingly like his few days break in the south before Blyton was going to compromised.   The plan was for him to go to Bromsgrove on the Monday.   Hopefully things are getting sorted.

So, after our second run it remained a clear win for Clive with Sarah in second and Geoff Stallard taking a good haul of points in third.   Race scratch saw  the order being Hampton, Shute and Malcolm.       Road scratch was Keith Bristow, Stallard and then Jonathan Bibby.

As I said few hardy souls did take a final official run, in the rain, whilst the more sensible headed for the bar.   The rain came just that bit too late for Mr Shute!

So in the main championship Geoff now has 53 points, 12 ahead of Dave Hampton.  Clive Buffey has rocketed up the order to assume joint third with Tony Shute on 40 points.

In race scratch Dave Hampton on 33 has a five point lead over Tony Shute.  Malcolm is third on 16.    Geoff Stallard leads the road scratch on 26 points from me on 22 and Jonathan Bibby on 19.

On to Blyton