News Update – October 2007

 You put your left foot in and your left foot out!


The last few weeks have been troubled times for the Scalpel team.  We have seen real problems with the Lola restoration, which resulted in an aborted Goodwood entry, followed by an equally troubled race debut.  Then we sold one car and have just bought another!!  Nothing stands still for very long in this team.

OK, lets cover the bases, starting with the Lola Mk1.  As regular followers who have been paying attention will know, the Mk1 didn’t make it to Goodwood but finally hit the track in the hands of Simon Diffey at the VSCC SeeRed event.  A troubled debut for sure, with strange handling only one of many problems to be addressed.

Because I had a cancelled legal day turn up I jumped at the chance to take the car for a run during one of the general test days at Donington Park.  The faithful Stuart Riley had everything in place and off I went for a few tentative laps.  Oh dear, it was indeed ugly!!  The handling was awful – I managed a 720 spin at Coppice after two laps – and there was a terrible misfire of an electrical nature.  The steering was incredibly heavy and the car did not inspire confidence at all.

Ace preparer and driver Simon Hadfield was on hand and willingly hopped in for a couple of laps.  His verdict?  “Gruesome – there is so much wrong I don’t know where to start”.  Not very kind but sadly true.  I decided there and then that enough was enough.

One phone call later and the car was packed up and on the way to Bourne to be sorted out properly by Rick and Rob Hall who have lots of Mk1 experience.  The latest verdict is that much has been done and the car is already considerably better.  A limited slip diff is being sought and the suspension settings have all been changed.  Mallory Park on Wednesday is the plan and we will make a decision at that point regarding the Silverstone Finals on October 20th.

A car is sold.

Yes indeed the Chevron B28 has passed on into the tender loving care of new owner Darryl Taylor who was insistent on buying the car having just failed to by the sister car of Bob Birrell.  Although I had no plans to sell the car a sensible offer did the deal.  The car is in top condition and in my view certainly a race winner in the right hands.  Why did I sell it (apart from the price)?  Well to be honest it was one of those instances where car and driver did not seem to gel properly.  Sometimes you jump into a car and immediately it seems right.  The Brabham BT35 and Huffaker were both like that but the B28 never did it for me in the same way.  I am sorry to see it go though because I do love the F5000 cars.  They do tick all the boxes – looks, sound and performance.  Well done Darryl for choosing a good one and I am sure you will enjoy a special and rare car.

A car is bought!

Now you would not expect me to linger long with money available, would you?  Since the Chevron was sold I had been thinking about many options, one of which was to look for a 2-litre sports racer.  You know the type – Chevron B19/21 or a Lola 290 series.  These are all cars from the same period as the Chevron – the early 1970’s – but otherwise they could not be more different.  These animals are lightweight and nimble and really fly with various engines in the back such as the Ford BDG, BMW or Hart 420.  They are also pretty hard to find and tend to be quite pricey – the Chevron B19 costs about £120K for example.

Anyway, the search began for something suitable and after a few weeks I came across a tasty looking Lola 294 in the US.  There seemed to be some discrepancy in terms of the chassis number, age and model so I determined to seek expert advice from someone who knows!!  Then things started to happen quite quickly.

Yes he was happy to help when he was back from Spa – Oh and by the way, why didn’t I consider the Warsteiner Toj that was for sale?  Well and good I said but I was about to travel to New Orleans on business.  In the 24 hours before travelling I did a bit of research and soon realized that this car was well worth tracking down.

While in New Orleans I discovered that the car was in the process of being rebuilt after some work had been completed – rebuilt corners and rebuilt BMW engine for example.  I also discovered that Ron Maydon and his Masters series had announced a new series for 2 litre sports racers!!  This was serious stuff because of course it was likely to boost the value of all the eligible cars.

I therefore asked anther friend – yes I do have more than one – if he would arrange to go and see the car and let me know.  The following morning I got a call to say I had bought the car!!  It seemed the vultures – or some animal like that – were gathering and a fast decision was required.  Well an offer was made and accepted so deal done!

What have I bought then?  Well the Toj – pronounced “Toy” – was basically a modified GRD sports car that was altered by the German driver and dealer Jorg Obermoser.  He went on to race both the open wheel F2 car as well as a series of the sports racers starting with the SS02 – my car.  The cars raced in the very elegant Warsteiner livery because it was they who paid the bills.

Personally I think the car is stunning looking and I have no doubt will be very competitive in the right hands.  Stalwart friend and enthusiast Frank Lyons will be doing the preparation work and my aim would be a testing day before the end on 2007.  Another case of watching this space!!



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