CADWELL PARK, 14 JULY 2002

SUCCESS WITH A BANG

Glorious sunshine greeted a full paddock for the HSCC annual visit to Lincolnshire’s own “mini-Nurburgring” at Cadwell Park. This famous circuit is mostly used for the bikers and is best known for the Mountain loop where the bikes become airborne. For the cars it does not involve flight but is exciting for all that as the cars become very light exiting this section. Overall the swoops and curves of this great circuit make for a great racing experience.

We were entered in three races with the 300 contesting the Formula Junior and Classic Racing Cars events and the MK7S looking for success in the Classic Sport Car race. The last two ran back to back which would require some rapid changeover with no break to cool down – a problem on such a hot day.

Practice and qualifying went well without problems. We were 7th on the grid for the Junior event only headed by those armed with 5-speed gearboxes disc brakes and bigger engines. In the Racing Cars the 300 lead the class although of course with was near the back of the grid and this event is made up mostly of ex-F2 cars of a later vintage. The MK7S did us proud finishing second and putting us on the front row alongside the very rapid Lotus Elan of Chris Reece (see the first Silverstone Race Report).

The Junior event started spectacularly. Around the first corner and up the hill all was well until the field entered Charlie’s – a long sweeping right hander. Edwin Jowsey headed straight for the scene of the accident taking pole man Robin Longdon and Paul Smeeth with him in a cloud of blue smoke and a flurry of spinning cars. Picking my way through we were now in third – but not for long. Jowsey was out on the spot but Longdon was on a mission. Some 13 seconds down on the leader at this stage he went on a charge and setting a series of fastest laps he regained the lead scoring a fine win ahead of Marcus Mussa. The 300 held on well and finished 5th some 16 second ahead of the next man. Our race was quite hectic for a few laps being harried by the very rapid Kieft of veteran racer Reg Hargrave – last years Junior Champion. Every lap he caught up through the twist stuff but fell away around the faster section making for an exciting rime until he pulled out with broken electrics.

The Classic Racing Cars event was less eventful and a quiet race mostly spent avoiding the faster men – big speed differentials can be very tricky in such events – brought us home in 18th place, but first in class. Pulling off after the race I drove straight into the holding area for the next race where the cars were ready to go. I had just enough time to leap into the MK7S and have a quick slurp of liquid before doing up the belts and setting off for the warm up lap trying to remember where the gears were and the differences in handling and braking between the two cars.

Knowing that Chris Reece was slightly faster meant that a good start was essential. At the green light away we went leading into the first corner with the green and red Lotus darting around behind looking for a way through. The race soon settled down into a pattern. We would pull out a few yards lead over the fast section at the back and this would soon disappear from the Mountain through the hairpin to the finish. As the race progressed Chris became more and more adventurous/anxious in his attempts to get by until 4 laps from the end he lunged down the inside where there was no gap. Contact was inevitable but luckily for us he came off worse spinning off on the spot. However he was not done and as I eased off with the new gap he soon caught up again. Entering the last lap the battle was on again and once more tried a banzai manoeuvre into the last bend. He spun again – this time without contact! We were through for the win – this time without being disqualified!! A great result and worth the extra work. The cars ran perfectly all day thanks to Don and hopefully Sir Stirling will be pleased.

 

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