SILVERSTONE, 27 APRIL 2002

A SUCCESSFUL DAY

The paddock at Silverstone was full for a very busy days racing for the HSCC meeting at their home circuit hopefully guaranteeing an entertaining days racing. The weather however was less certain with menacing clouds producing regular showers. This was a particular worry for us as we were out with new tyres all round. Replacing the historic Dunlop rubber with a new set of Avons since the last meeting we had not had time to scrub them in. if the track was wet we were in for some real trouble. However the Avons were reputed to be worth a few seconds a lap so it was worth the risk.

Otherwise the car was pretty much unchanged having run faultlessly at Donington. We had managed to fix the brakes and now had a new master cylinder and pads to go with the new tyres. Silverstone is essentially foreign territory to me as last years event was the start of our engine trouble. Two laps in practice and one in the race had not really been enough to learn the circuit in any way so we would have to feel our way as quickly as possible. original items and praying for good luck.

The Classic Sports Car Race entry was as full as usual with the standard gaggle very rapid Marcos 1800 GT’s. Running in the invitation was class we were once again up against the very fast John Bladon in his Merlyn Mk4. This time however there were a couple of new Lotus Elans – one prepared by Tony Thompson and sure to be very quick. Qualifying went quite well as I learnt my way. As usual there was lots of traffic and it is quite difficult to get a clear lap as well as try and learn the braking points required. I did manage to overcook it entering Copse at the end of the start finish straight. After a high speed 360o spin I can now attest to the effectiveness of the new sticky asphalt that has replaced the inner layer of gravel. With no harm done I carried on and was quite happy overall. Second place on the grid was very pleasing 0.18 secs behind John Bladon.

The race proved to be a much more incident packed affair over 15 laps. I made a good start and lead into the first corner – a position I held for two laps before being passed into copse third time around. Now I had Bladon to catch and Chris Reece in a very fast (and pretty wild) Lotus Elan behind. Two laps later the black and yellow flags appeared. This is our version of the safety car. Essentially we all follow the leader at 50mph until everything is sorted out. In this case there was debris at Becketts where a wheel had come off another car and collected two others. We did two laps like this until the green flag appeared.

I did not notice this and was immediately passed by the Elan – very annoying. Two laps behind him convinced me that he was better off behind if possible! Coming up to Copse I slightly missed my braking point and had to pull inside him to avoid contact. The car went into a significant slide which I just managed to hold converting a mistake into a very successful passing move! The rest of the race was spent harrying Bladon. I almost had him into Luffield a couple of times but finished 0.7secs behind as I started in second place – overall a good result considering everything.

 

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