View Report 19th May 2019

Paul Matty Sportscars Lotus Championship 2019

Loton Park 19th May 2019


As I had said in the Saturday report the weather for the Sunday was supposed to be better.  We got to the track with the BBC weather app saying it was heavy cloud cover to find a big area of blue sky above and bright sunshine!   It was also possible that there could be isolated heavy showers later.  Oh Joy!

This was a slightly smaller entry for this meeting and, with the customary stoppage for the church service over the road, between 10:00 and 10:30, we were a little uncertain whether our batch would be called before the curfew started.  Luckily were spared that so our first practice was just after 10:30.

The running order was just the same as the previous day but, of course, without Keith Bristow.  The PB improvements from the Saturday were noted.

The first runs passed with little excitement I suppose except for Keith Wilford getting another new PB on 60.42.   The other talking point was that Dave Hampton’s 54.80 was only 0.39 outside his own long standing class record from 2012.

It wasn’t long before we were off again although by this time we were seeing some heavy clouds about and even lightning to the South East.    The first problem this run was that Karen had an off on the left hander at Keepers and struck the tyre wall (I assume) with the rear offside.   The car wasn’t badly damaged at all and, of course, the most important thing was that Karen was fine.    

John Palmer set his best time of the weekend so far with a 65.87.  Geoff Stallard was in the 59’s again and I was relieved to get into the 60’s.  With brakes now more reliable I was confident of giving Geoff a run for his money later.    Sarah Bosworth however was in a different league and she was pleased with a 56.69.

Stephen Palmer set a 61.08 that was just 0.05 outside his PB.    Keith Wilford improved yet again with a new PB on 60.01.    As with any of us that have been in that situation he was rueing that little gap of 0.02 that would have seen a 59!

The best of the ‘Fast three’ was again Dave Hampton with a 54.62 that was now just 0.21 off his class record.   We could see that record being seriously threatened later.

Paul and I set the handicaps, many the same or similar to Saturday’s but with a few amendments.

After lunch as it was getting towards our runs a very light drizzle started . Whether this was helped to fruition by our Rainmeister Mr Shute earlier waving his umbrella around when it still wasn’t raining!

As we were lining up we could see some much better weather to the North West but it too late to try moving the hill up there.   The drizzle started to get a bit heavier.  Steve Millward, in the previous batch must have suffered as he went up the hill.    Botty was first off in the main batch but clearly found (as we all did but it was a new discovery for each driver) that the rain got heavier the further up the hill we went until it was much more than drizzle.   Ian Parmenter went well in the circumstances with a 71.32 but there is always a slight advantage for the car that is driven regularly of the public roads in wet conditions.  Messrs. Bibby, Hopkins and Swindall went quite well also and the previous comments probably apply there.

Geoff Stallard told me later that he tried to convince himself that it wasn’t really that damp but getting a bit further up the hill soon disabused him of that notion.

I was pretty instantly aware of the lack of grip as I got the back of the car way out on line and that was just tyre warming.   I tried to give it a go but wide slicks are not ideal in these circumstances and I had my second moment of the week at Hall as I just scrabbled round again but this time via the grass.  I soon realised that this was a lost cause and from then on the most major effort I made was just reaching for the wiper switch whilst trying not to come off.   Obviously I need to change the slicks to the water repellent ones that Sarah had on behind me and her astonishing 61.42 was the fastest time that run and over a second faster than Mr Shute managed.

So we all returned to the paddock somewhat damp and deflated.    Nine drivers, me included, in the end decided that the risk and reward equation was biased too much toward risk so decided not to take a second run.     Of course, having started the pack up process the rain stopped and a few were having second thoughts.    Just as the remainder of the class started to line up it started to rain again so the wimps felt a little better.

Steve Millward was a bit slower than his first run but Botty was a lot quicker.  Ian P was a second quicker  much the same as John Palmer.  Jonathan Bibby was slower but Steve Hopkins was a bit quicker and Dick was a lot quicker.

Geoff Stallard would also have been quicker I’m sure but as he was tyre warming the engine made a popping sound and lost all power.   This he later found when at home was the breakage of the exhaust camshaft in front of the first bearing.   So there is some stripping down required to determine what damage has been caused and, maybe, the cause itself.  He is taking his TVR to Prescott but has scratched from Pembrey. Sarah got into the 59’s.

David Gidden took four seconds off his first run time as did Kenny.      Tony Shute set a 57.58 just ahead of Dave Hampton’s brave 57.65 (Dave hates the rain).   Tony Wallen set a 59.07 and he will have to face days of cleaning of the 69 to recover it’s previous condition.

So the second run did change a few things with fortune favouring the brave with Mr Shute first apparently justifying his rain dance, from DH and then Steve Hopkins.

Race scratch was Shute, Hampton, Wallen and Road scratch was Sarah (with a minuscule 5 second margin!) from Steve Hopkins and Jonathan Bibby.

So looking at the Championship positions it is quite tight at the top with Tony Shute leading on 22 with Sarah Bosworth and Steve Hopkins joint second on 21.

The Race scratch championship also has Tony Shute out front on 15 with a bigger margin to second and third.  Tony Wallen on 9 and Dave Hampton on 8.

Road scratch not surprisingly also has a big margin with Sarah on 15 from the joint second place drivers on 9 points.  Geoff Stallard and Steve Hopkins