View Report 18th May 2019
Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2019
Loton Park 18th May 2019
This was the first of the two one day events at Loton, back to back as in recent years.
The weather was looking at bit iffy for this Saturday event but was forecast to be better on Sunday.
Both Messrs. Shute and Hampton had suffered car problems at Shelsley. Dave Hampton’s car had been well and quickly repaired by the Matty emporium after the ‘nose job’ suffered at Top Ess. Tony Shute’s engine issue was found to be a cracked head adjacent to an exhaust port. Too difficult to fix quickly so Tony bought a new head and fitted it in time. Maybe not quite up to the spec of the old head but he was going again. The third Shelsley casualty had been another Ess victim and although the 61 could probably have been fixed prior to Loton, Clive Buffey could not be sorted quite so quickly. The pain he was experiencing in his right hand at Shelsley turned out to be a broken bone and he can’t drive (at all) for 6- 8 weeks. He was at Loton to support Karen.
Peter Bottrill had been on holiday for that first meeting but was now back with us. It was also the first meeting for John Palmer still in the Elise 111R as the 61 was not yet finished. It was June’s first visit with the 69 and Brian Meddings hadn’t yet been here with the 35.
As the meeting started, though we were a late batch, a heavy drizzle started to fall. It had stopped by the time of our first run but the track was pretty damp. I wasn’t going to try too hard as I was bedding in new front brakes and on slicks as usual. Maybe unsurprisingly Tony Shute was fastest but only just behind was Sarah Bosworth on her slicks!
By the time our second batch came round, a bit delayed after some on track stoppages, the track was quite a bit drier and everyone improved. This run Dave Hampton and Tony Wallen just pipped Mr Shute. I was still slow after a big brake grabbing experience coming down to Triangle. Keith Wilford was just 0.02 off his PB and Steve Hopkins 0.14 off.
Paul and I sat down to do the handicaps at lunch and based them generally on favourable conditions.
The entry wasn’t all that big so our first time runs came quite soon. Steve Millward had a good 65.65 run to be 0.65 over. Karen Buffey easily set a new PB on 81.99.
Steve Hopkins also set a new PB with a 62.08 that was just 0.08 over. Geoff Stallard set a 59.94 that was 0.44 over. Sarah Bosworth recorded a 57.09 that was 1.09 over.
Keith Bristow in the lovely 19 was going faster and recorded a 62.56. Keith Wilford then set a new PB by 0.40 seconds and the 60.60 was 0.30 under and that, unusually, just beat David Gidden on 60.69. Although not very close to their handicaps the usual fast three were virtually inseparable. Fastest was Tony Wallen on 56.12, with Tony Shute 2/100ths behind and DH a further 2/100ths!
So after that first run at was Keith Wilford first from Steve Hopkins and then Geoff Stallard.
The weather though occasionally looking as we could have some rain held out for our final run of the day.
It was again dual driving Steve Millward that started in the previous batch and improved to 65.29, leaving him 0.26 over. Botty also improved to 63.12 and that was 1.12 over. Karen was a bit slower this run but Ian Parmenter took about 3/10ths off and the 67.05 was 1.05 over. John Palmer improved to 66.11 that was 1.36 over. Jane was a bit slower this time but Chris Westwood was quicker and his 65.31 was a new class PB (though he has been in the 64’s at Loton) and was 0.81 over. Jonathan Bibby also improved to 63.54 that was still 1.29 over. Steve Hopkins obviously had a big moment somewhere (was it Fallow?) and was much slower. Dick Swindall was also a bit slower and was not a happy bunny – we were considering giving him the number for the Samaritans!
Geoff Stallard was in his usual ‘always try’ mode and set a new 59.23 PB that was 0.27 over. I still hadn’t got confidence in the brakes but also I bogged on the start and then in a certain raised level of dudgeon hurtled into the first left-hander at Hall, forgetting the brakes weren’t quite en point and just avoided a straight on moment, scrabbled round, and the final time was only a tiny bit slower than first run but an opportunity certainly lost for an improvement. Sarah Bosworth was about 1/2 second slower than her first run.
First of the race class cars was Keith Bristow but as he headed up to Hall corner the car erupted in a cloud of steam. I hope it is something not too serious for the lovely V8 Climax.
June was 0.15 faster for a 60.61 but Paul was a little slower. Brian Meddings improved to 60.24. Stephen Palmer improved to 61.27 that was 0.17 over. Dr Wilford was slower this run. David Gidden improved to 59.38 that was 1.23 over. Kenny Lewis had a very grassy moment coming out of Museum towards the finish and whilst taking some cones with him for the ride and was consequently much slower.
Tony Shute improved to a 55.51 that was 1.01 over. Dave Hampton just behind on 55.63, 1.19 over. Tony Wallen was slower than both these guys and some way back on handicap.
So the day ended with a win for Keith Wilford with Geoff Stallard second and Steve Hopkins third.
In race scratch it was Messrs. Shute, Hampton and Wallen in the order.
In Road scratch it was Sarah Bosworth from Geoff Stallard and the Steve Hopkins.
I’m not going to go through the Championship positions as that can wait for the Sunday report.