To begin our weekend we were on the anticlockwise set up of the course. Saturday's event didn't begin promisingly having rained late the day before, overnight and first thing in the morning. Matters were held up by the late arrival of the Doctor but then first practice began, with a variety of tyres used by the competitors. We were advised by our local contact that any rain would stop by 11am and be gone for the rest of the day. Stewart Robb ventured out on a full slick set up but on his second lap, between Church and the Chicane (where there is adverse camber) and Stewart was one gear beyond where his traction control would operate, he spun and contacted the bank damaging both his rear wing and left front suspension. Very sadly Stewart was done for the weekend. Not to be left out Steve Miles spun into a gravel trap requiring a tow out of his predicament. Terry Holmes and Graham Porrett began a trying day as they suffered issues with their gear change throughout the day. Otherwise all seem to go smoothly. Competitors (particularly those new to the practice) seemed to have only positive words to say about the practice of each of our "sessions" being determined by their place in a provisional timetable for the day (the times in which became varied slightly as the day progressed.) Customarily we tend to require rather less of our allocated time in each "slot".
Times largely were somewhat shy of record territory, but competitors seemed to be settling well, particularly those who either had not experienced the track before, or had not done so for many years. All competitors were enhancing their times from Timed 1 to Timed 2. Graham Harden took just the one timed run to secure qualification. During Graham Porrett's first timed run (Terry Holmes having already taken his) the gear change again decided to act up. He had set a time to qualify but they decided they would try to attend to the problem again before the Top 12 Run Off. In this instance Colin Calder outqualified Heather Calder who in turn outqualified John Graham; Steve Miles outqualified two litre compatriot Nick Algar. These were being pursued by Sports Libre ace Simon Bainbridge (the only one to better his record) and newcomer Graham Blackwell.
Graham Porrett ventured out and set a time, but it was unrepresentative, so the pair decided then to give up the unequal struggle for the day and he and Terry Holmes tried to solve the problem for the following day. Grahame Harden struggled manfully against the shortcomings of an 1100cc single seater at Knockhill with its rises and falls of track. Eventually managing a time only a few seconds shy of the 1100cc single seater record. Graham Blackwell of course was in mew territory for a car such as his and steadily improved his times over the course of the day as he learned the anticlockwise Knockhill course. Simon Bainbridge managed to take a couple of seconds from the Sports Libre record. For some reason, never ultimately explained, both Steve Miles and Nick Algar were both some distance from the 2 litre racing car record. The battle among the Gould GR55s was fascinating but eventually Heather Calder secured a new unlimited single seater record, with it the win and the 2017 British Sprint Championship, as her then points total could not be surpassed. At that point she had managed 9 events, of which she had won 7 and in 5 of those she had broken the existing unlimited racing car record. It was perhaps appropriate that she finally secured her opening British Sprint Championship "at home"?
|Heather Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55)||81.85|
|Colin Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55)||82.98|
|John Graham||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||85.86|
|Nick Algar||(1.3t DJ Firehawk)||92.21|
|Steve Miles||(2.0 Van Diemen RF96)||93.01|
|Simon Bainbridge||(4.2t SBR Crono V8)||93.59|
|Graham Blackwell||(1.6t Mygale Ecoboost)||98.13|
|Grahame Harden||(1.0 Jedi Mk6)||101.87|
|Graham Porrett||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||107.18|
|Terry Holmes||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||DNS|
On Sunday matters then took to the clockwise circuit. As Graham Blackwell was our "new boy" he discovered what all others have discovered the two course formats are so radically different from one another. Miss Calder had one thought now in the forefront of her mind, that was to break this course record too (it being held by former British Sprint Champion Stewart Robb jnr). In both her timed runs she was clearly heading in that direction, the 2nd timed run time only a tad over three quarters of a second away from that elusive time. The work conducted by Terry Holmes and Graham Porrett in the previous evening and first thing on Sunday morning proved to be successful and the pair were able to enjoy a fulfilling complete day. The two litre runners were rather closer to their record target. Simon Bainbridge was again sub Sports Libre record on his second timed run. Grahame Harden again conducted just the one timed run sufficient to qualify. Graham Blackwell improved every time he went out.
Grahame Harden again struggled with the long uphill out of the final hairpin and left pleased with his weekend. Similarly Graham Blackwell continued his improvement path, during the course of which he depressed the clutch rather than brake and discovered how much faster he could go! Simon Bainbridge got into something of a "horlicks" exiting the hairpin on his first Run Off run, but continued to set a time but it had effected him and his second run was only slightly less disappointing (slower than his best timed run). Graham Porrett concluded his weekend with a pleasing time at the end of a trying" experience. Nick Algar overcame Steve Miles in the 2 litre battle and concluded with a new 2 litre racing car record. Terry Holmes and John Graham seemed to be closely matched, the latter overcoming the former by about three quarters of a second. During Heather Calder's first Run Off run she finished just 2/100ths outside that record. On her second run she was 4/10ths up on the split time (and her second full lap time had been 1.5 seconds better) so an 82 second run was "on". And then just as she approached the hairpin for the final time the car stopped - a small cable had become detached! So was denied her (deserved?) target. Colin had already taken half a second from the record.
|Colin Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55)||83.70|
|Heather Calder||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55)||84.22|
|John Graham||(3.5 Gould-NME GR55B)||90.78|
|Terry Holmes||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||91.59|
|Nick Algar||(1.3t DJ Firehawk)||92.56|
|Steve Miles||(2.0 Van Diemen RF96)||93.29|
|Graham Porrett||(3.5 Lola Tegra V8)||95.34|
|Simon Bainbridge||(4.2t SBR Crono V8)||97.82|
|Graham Blackwell||(1.6t Mygale Ecoboost)||99.64|
|Grahame Harden||(1.0 Jedi Mk6)||104.38|