SILVERSTONE, 28 JULY 2006

SIMON DIFFEY RACING...

Brilliant timing by The Professor had found him on summer vacation bored abroad, whilst we were having a heat wave at Silverstone and me available to take his drive in the Ecurie Scalpel Surtees TS 8.

By a superb stoke of luck, Roger Tolson, one of the engineers at Classic Performance, who prepare my Lotus 20, is an tall middle aged chap with long hair, side burns and 70's moustache. He has a wonderful air of been there, done that and I could show you a thing or two sunny, way about him and guess what, he worked on the F5000's in period. When I arrived with the Surtees, he stopped work on the Porsche 906 and said " leave this to me Diff, this is a mans car.".....

Back to the Future

I arrived at Silverstone in good spirits as there was a new engine in my Lotus 20 for the Junior race and ex- Shell Sport and TWR race engineer Roger Tolson who had worked on Surtees in period, had fettled the gear box with some new dog rings of the correct type and not the Hadfield sequential ones that had failed, but he had also fitted the softer Ferrodo brake pads all around as requested by the Professor, who hated the slow to warm up Carbon Metalic pads we had tried at Snetterton.

Practice for the Junior went as planned and I put it on pole with a 2.02. However in the race I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, when I avoided leader Hibberd hitting a wayward back marker on the last lap allowing Mark Gillis through from 3rd to win. Consolation was 3rd at the flag and fastest race lap of 2.02.

Derek Bell Trophy practice in the Surtees 5000 went well and I posted a 1.47 and 5th fastest, along with Maxteds Lola, Allens Fittipaldi and Lyons Eagle. Hadfield was second quickest with a 1.44 and Stretton steamed in with a 1.43 before crashing and losing all 4 corners in the process.

On returning to the paddock I noticed that the front tyres had become wavy with an odd grain to them and the old hands pronounced them dead so a new pair where fitted.

Saturday and Race part 1 was uneventful as I had been told to take it easy on the new tyres for 3 or 4 laps and so I lost a few places, but as Frank Lyons retired along with Steve Allen I finished 4th with a 1.49. It certainly felt fast, but Frank said there was oil down all through the complex, The Surtees lacks down force and slids about in slow corners, so I must admit I had'nt noticed.

Sunday Race Part 2, was the race for real and Hadfield was up front, with Maxted alongside, then Dunn in the March with me alongside and Dryson and Dwyer behind.

Again a rolling start and Hadfield slowed to a crawl as the pace car went in and I guessed he might do his drag start thing and jumped on his tail leaving Maxted and Dunn for dead. For the first 2 laps I actually stayed with Hadfield, but he then he started to open up his customers cheque book down the straights and pulling away. On lap 3 I was struck in the near side rear tyre by Maxted who had out braked himself into Luffield and spun.

With the Profs "Mansell style" blow out at Snett still in my mind, I came off the pace for a few laps incase I had a deflating rear, this allowed Dunn to catch up and pull away. I needn't have worried as the tyre was fine, but I was releived to limp home in 3rd place.

Sadly Derek Bell didn't turn up for prize giving, but I was chuffed to be on the Podium with Hadfield and Dunn, all of us in F5000's.

 

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