To say that I was nervous about racing this beautiful car was really a huge understatement. As you are by now aware, if you’ve been following my restoration diatribe, its taken 14 months to restore and race prepare this beauty. So you can imagine that the car was still an unknown quantity in race mode.
The weather while travelling up on Saturday was cold and wet but, when we arrived at Mallory (I love this name, as it conjures up 2nd World War RAF Ace, Leigh-Mallory and isn’t what we do a might risky. Yes, but it’s worth it!).
We were given a two hour window of opportunity to unload the car, erect the marquee and wash the car ready for race day.
On Sunday, I was really nervous! So I was first into the Assembly Area for Qualifying, as I thought that if I could clear the traffic, then I could put a couple of ‘Banker’ laps together before the Big Healeys caught me. It paid off and I qualified 3rd in the XK race.
That afternoon at 15:05, it was my turn to see whether I could convert my quali into a good race result.
When the red lights went out, I was a little sluggish off the line, while wrestling my 1955 3 Synchro Moss gearbox and Colin Youle is his inimitable style shot past me going into the first corner at Gerrards. Oh B***** I thought, now it’s going to be an uphill battle to regain the advantage.
And so it was, that Colin and I ‘Duked’ it out for some 7 or 8 laps, I lose count. But all I knew was that there was only one passing opportunity and that would be coming out of the Shaws Hairpin and going round the Devil’s Elbow. Anywhere else and Colin would make his XK120 as wide as he possibly could.
Finally, coming out of the Hairpin, I was right behind Colin with only inches to spare. I had to slip-stream him and then get him on the inside and cut back to the centre to prevent him re-taking me going into Gerrards and then I went defensive to close the door on him.
During this foray I set my fastest lap of the day and a second faster than in quali. Not withstanding this is a smaller engined car, with an old gearbox, only two SU carbs, AND drum brakes, I beat my own personal lap record set with my XK150.
To sum up then, I picked up two trophies:
1. First in Class ‘A’ (FIA Appendix ‘K’).
2. Best Driver of the day award (For having a drum brake car and mixing it with the 3.8 Litre Disk-braked brigade).
…… and I was third in the race.
This was quite a result considering it was my first race with the new ‘Beasty girl’.
I would classify this as an excellent day at the office;
Our next race will be at Silverstone on
Saturday the 22nd May.