Rain, rain and more rain greeted us as we awoke on Sunday morning. Dodging the puddles in the paddock and in the garages (there was at least one burn running through them) was the order of the day but the forecast predicted it would dry up as the day wore on. Before any of the cars turned a wheel in anger we had our first casualty. Steve Miles managed to crack his head on the trailer door and had to be rushed to the medical centre. After intense examination they were able to patch him up and did confirm that he had suffered no brain damage that they could detect.
Practice, onm this new anti clockwise layout that nobody had seen before, saw eight competitors spin out in the treacherous conditions. Top of the practice time sheet was that man again Colin Calder as he was over seven seconds quicker than his nearest rival Grahame Harden in the one litre Jedi. Third fastest in the wet was Terry Holmes whilst Heather Calder had another spin on her second practice and was far from a happy bunny! Other spinners were Craig Sampson, John Graham, Brian Woffenden, Mark Smith, Paul Horrox and Bill Gouldthorpe. Gary Thomas on the other hand was baulked on both runs but as he completed the course botn times and time was limited he wasn't offered a re-run.Paul Horrox managed to spin after the finish and just clipped the tyres and creased a rear wing support however Bill Gouldthorpe’s spin was the most damaging. He too spun into the infield and hit a tyre wall but it demolished his rear wing. This was fixed by the combined efforts of Team SBD plus Team Calder, Mike Musson, Peter Howgate, Brian Woffenden and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
Into qualifying and the first runs were on a wet track but the second set were on a damp and drying track as the rain had slowed to drizzle. Again Colin Calder led the way and the times however as the track dried Terry Holmes and Heather Calder closed down the gap. In the wet Graham Porrett had been as high as sixth but dropped back to qualify tenth fastest. Mark Smith just held off Craig Sampson in the best of the two litre battle with Steve Miles third. In the 1600 class Gary Thomas qualified on top with Glyn Sketchley over 5 seconds adrift. Bill Gouldthorpe’s repaired OMS was 14th fastest in the wet but Bill aborted his second run rather than risk further damage. Grahame Harden pushed hard to qualify the Jedi and in Sports Libre Paul Horrox, despite the spin, qualified a magnificent sixth fastest to take Sports Libre honours. Chris Bennett set the new FF160000 standard whilst once again the Tin-tops indulged in a really great scrap. Colin Metcalfe, who after the first practice run was not only 11t fastest overall but also one of the three driest competitors, managed to keep ahead of William Jarman and Angela Jones despite the Pug drivers closing the gap on the drier of the two runs!
Glyn Sketchley was the first to the line and with his ‘Top 12’ boots on he was way quicker than in qualifying posting his first sub 100 second run of the day. Next was Mike Musson and the big white Pilbeam also picked up the pace but not to such a great extent as the preceding Force so Mussie slotted into second spot.. Grahame Harden was delighted to be in the run-off and clipped nearly four seconds off his Q-time however it put him third. Graham Porrett then took nearly ten seconds off his Q-time to move into the lead. Craig Sampson was next and he slotted into second behind Porrett with his best time over seven seconds quicker than in qualifying. Heather Calder then rolled the GR55 forward and immediately caught the eye; on her run to the Intermediate spilt she set the fastest time so far and at the finish had a comfortable six seconds lead over Graham Porrett.
Steve Miles set the ball rolling for the second half of the Top 12. ’Patch’ flew round the lap to the split knocking four seconds off his best and at the finish was ten seconds quicker than his Q-time. This slotted him into second place but could he cling on? Gary Thomas was next and he too carved off huge lumps of time to finish on a 99.58 but it was only good enough for sixth and put him behind Glyn Sketchley. Paul Horrox had qualified for his first run-off and was nearly five seconds quicker than in qualifying however the Juno driver slipped down the order despite the increased pace. Mark Smith needed the points as he has just one event to go before the end of his season. Initially he was on the pace at the Intermediate split but being nearly two seconds up on Steve Miles but at the finish this had dwindled to just a 0.09 lead! Terry Holmes was in determined mood and his first run was a cracker. He was over a second quicker to the split than Heather and eked out an even bigger lead by the finish. Then it was the turn of the 2013 Champion in waiting Colin Calder. The orange Gould leapt off the line and thundered down to the Hairpin. Round the sweeping turns at the back of the circuit the Gould appeared to be on rails. Past the pits and the V8 was howling away and that split time had him over two seconds ahead. Once again he was flying round the back of the circuit and as he burst through the finish just before Leslie’s he had the lead by a huge margin.
Back to the start of the rota and it was Glyn Sketchley in the Force. The Leicester driver chopped an impressive 4.12 seconds off his first run to move into fourth. Mike Musson also improved as he clipped over seven seconds off and moved up the order to seventh. Grahame Harden also improved but with only one litre to play with his improvement was just over two seconds and left him in twelfth. Graham Porrett was now sitting on the line in eighth. His second run was superb as he powered his way round the sweeping curves and knocked over five seconds off his first run time to move into fourth – a position he would hold to the finish! Craig Sampson was equally impressive clipping two seconds off his time to the split and over three and a half seconds off by the finish – this moved him ahead of Mark Smith again! What could young Miss Calder do now? Heather was rapidly off the line but by the split was over a second adrift of her father’s time. Her super smooth style for once didn’t pay off as she finished over four seconds shy of her father’s time. This did elevate her to second but would she finish runner-up?
Gary Thomas then set about his task and at the split he was ahead of 1600 rival Glyn Sketchley. However his pace stuttered and by the finish he was 0.39 shy of Sketchley’s best time and would finish eighth. Paul Horrox, who had been so quick in the wet, was now sitting in eleventh and despite clipping over a second off his first run time he would remain eleventh. As the Welsh wonder came to the line he was once again faced with the prospect of his team mate beating him. Could Mark Smith respond? He was absolutely flying round to the split and was over six tenths up on Sampson’s time. No problems on the flying lap and he was through the finish in a flash and moved back up to fifth spot just behind Graham Porrett. Next up was Porrett’s co-driver Terry Holmes. He had to beat 89.59 to move into second and initially it looked good as he was three tenths up at the split. The Lola looked great all the way round the track with very little to indicate a drop in pace. At the finish the clocks told the tale – Holmes was second by 0.57. Meanwhile in the Pit Lane Team Calder had been monitoring the situation and Colin Calder immediately declined his second run as there were no Bonus Points on offer at this ‘new’ track.
It was certainly a wonderful weekend for Team Calder – a win each for Heather and Colin and Louise on fine form in the 1100 Jedi with the Junior Challenge trophy in her sights. Roll on Brands!
1. Colin Calder (3.5 Gould-NME GR55 V8) 85.53s
2. Terry Holmes (3.5 Lola-Judd ERH) 89.02s
3. Heather Calder (3.5 Gould-NME GR55 V8) 89.59s
4. Graham Porrett (3.5 Lola-Judd ERH) 93.32s
5. Mark Smith (2.0 Reynard-Duratec/SBD 903) 94.56s
6. Craig Sampson (2.0 Reynard-Duratec/SBD 903) 94.82s
7. Glynn Sketchley (1.5 Force-Suzuki PC) 95.00s
8. Gary Thomas (1.4 Force-Suzuki PT) 95.39s
9. Steve Miles (2.0 Van Diemen-Duratec/SBD RF96/MM11) 96.36s
10. Mike Musson (4.0 Pilbeam-Judd MP97) 96.77s
11. Paul Horrox (2.0 Juno-Honda SSE) 99.96s
12. Grahame Harden (1.0 Jedi-Honda Mk 6) 101.31s