ECURIE SCALPEL NEWS - OCTOBER 2003

MACAO AND SLOW BOAT TO CHINA.

2003 sees the 50th anniversary of the Macao Grand Prix. This wonderful event has provided a stage for some of the most exciting races over those years with drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard being amongst the stars.

To celebrate this anniversary a special historic race is being organised through the good auspices of the HSCC and Graham White. So it was that I received a call from Graham asking if I would like to take part in this event driving the ex-Moss Elva MK7S. The organisers were offering free transport for the car, three crew and of course free hotel accommodation – overall a once in a lifetime opportunity. Then the blow – November 8th – I am giving a lecture in exotic Edinburgh!!!

Having recovered from this blow it was soon decided that if the owner was out then at least the car should not miss this event. Bob Birrell took some persuading (!!!!) before agreeing that he would have to step into the breach – lucky man.

Of course now we had the problem that Bob has never driven the car before. Mad panic ensued before the sensible decision was made to take the car testing at Mallory Park for a days familiarisation. Then a second plan – why not take it to Simon Hadfield And his ace team for a check over and a back to back comparison with the very very pretty MK7S he has been running this year for David Clark.

Come the day the car, Simon, Bob and the ever faithful Don Haldenby gather in the autumn chill for the test. The weekend has seemingly been spent making a few changes to the car. A front shock absorber was found to be on the blink (“…it must have been undrivable like that….”) and the brakes were bled along with the seat being changed. Simon and Bob were soon circulating in the two Elvas and times compared. Simons best in the Moss version – 51.4 secs. Trying hard he managed 50.8 secs in the beautiful white version.

Overall therefore pretty good news in that the car can definitely do the business given the right driver (!!). Clearly the winter holds some work for us as I am delighted to day that Simon also agrees that the brakes need modification (I have been saying that all year). Bob soon got into the swing of things and having started very gingerly ended up confident, comfortable and champing at the bit for Macau.

The car leaves on September for the Far East and will not re-appear home until December 16th. This is clearly the actual slow boat to China but I am still very envious.

A special thanks to Graham White and his team at the HSCC for the invitation, Simon Hadfield for his help and expertise and of course Don for having it all ready so quickly.

 

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