Our opening round began with a a damp track which fortunately dried later. Recent "issues" denied us two members of the Sports Libre community. Whilst conducting a shakedown the previous week new addition Piers Thynne broke the driveline in his Radical SR8, the solution to that issue has been discovered. A few days later when testing of his new car was planned Jeff Wiltshire became a victim of the ice which followed the "beast from the east" and managed to break his fibula, so he's in plaster, although I gather an operation was imminent. A further member of the Sports Libre community unsuccessfully sought entry to the event, two days after it closed! By contrast Nick Houston had entered but didn't appear for what is possibly his closest venue to home.
Terry Holmes and Graham Porrett early on suffered a transmission failure. So the pair toddled home, and after stripping it down the following day the diff output shaft had shattered, so they were hoping to be ready for Croft's Easter outing. The two Mygale's were suffering their own issues. In the case of Pete Goulding the car on one run would appear to run on fail-safe mode, but on the next run would be back to full beans, and that alternate annoyance seemed to happen a lot. Graham Blackwell first of all suffered the front wing flapping madly (which was overcome by installing the original mounting) but appeared to be seeking to set a record for the amount of sparks it could produce from underneath! Glyn Sketchley had to withdraw early on, but for what reason I was unable to discover
It was clear that the second timed runs would be those which would count for qualification. There was little to choose between the times of John Graham, Steve Broughton, Steve Miles, Matt Hillam, Simon Bainbridge & Chris Jones four seconds covered the lot (at a venue where their run times were in the two minute vicinity). Heather Calder lead after timed runs with a time just over a second outside the outright record, with father Colin another couple of seconds further back.
Fortunately this year there were no issues which interfered with a full pair of Top 12 Run Off runs. Chris Bennett made his Top 12 Run Off debut, and undertook the sensible approach of a solid opener (but even that was an improvement on his best timed run) but after that banker improved still further by another second and a half. Graham Blackwell seemed to continue to suffer with shortcomings both his times not matching his best timed run time. Grahame Harden demonstrated he has been doing this for a long time finding quite a few seconds on his second run for 10th spot. Next best was Pete Goulding on his first run setting possibly his slowest time of the day (undertaking a run in what turned out to be the fail safe mode) but his second run was far more like it being his best of the day. Another second and a half ahead was Chris Jones (on his circuit debut) but almost three seconds shy of Bradley Hobday's existing record, Bradley and his dad were along as spectators .....and missing participation! One novelty present among the 2 litre racing cars were Michelin tyres, these being tried out as an alternative. Steve Miles was the bottom of that pile, with Matt Hillam a couple of seconds ahead and co-driver Steve Broughton better than a second further. Among this little lot was to be found Simon Bainbridge, the front of his car displaying some aerodynamic work and his times (almost 4 seconds under the existing record) demonstrating the success of John Hansell's work! Then there were the Calders. Colin first up...new record, then Heather.....another new record, then Colin.... off about the second chicane breaking the diffuser, trying to reset that record, Heather feeling there was perhaps another couple of seconds to come. However not a disaster, the Calder family are now off on holiday so we won't see them again until Pembrey.
|1. Heather Calder||(3.5 Gould GR55-NME||110.85secs|
|2. Colin Calder||(3.5 Gould GR55-NME||111.94secs|
|3. John Graham||(3.5 Gould GR55B-NME||118.23secs|
|4. Steve Broughton||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||118.24secs|
|5. Simon Bainbridge||(4.2t SBR Chrono V8)||119.03secs|
|6. Matt Hillam||(2.0 SBD Dallara F3)||119.36secs|
|7. Steve Miles||(2.0 Van Diemen-SBD RF96)||121.68secs|
|8. Chris Jones||(1.0 Force TA)||124.90secs|
|9. Pete Goulding||(1.6t Mygale FF200)||126.46secs|
|10 Grahame Harden||(1.0 Jedi Mk 6)||129.05secs|
|11. Graham Blackwell||(1.6t Mygale VVTi)||131.52secs|
|12. Chris Bennett||(1.0 Force TA)||134.62secs|