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Silverstone


Following on from my initial successes at Mallory Park, the question for this weekend was whether the very high ambient temperatures would affect the performance of the car.

We arrived on Friday night, unloaded the car and went for a little drive around the Outer Paddock and, oh no, she was misfiring and getting worse. Luckily, John Burton was at this meeting and had experienced similar symptoms with his XK120 Roadster in the South of France only a month earlier. His problem turned out to be an ‘Iffy’ condenser.

Therefore, as Steve set to work on the evening BBQ soiree, it was front off-side wheel off for me to gain access to the Distributor. On a Mallory Dizzy, the condenser is attached to the side of the Dizzy and, of course, it absorbs all the engine vibration and heat from the engine.

Having completed the task, I started the ‘Young lady’ and she sounded very sweet. But, the acid test was a 70 mph thrash around the outer car park at around 8:30 pm and she didn’t miss a beat. Having breathed a great sigh of relief! I detest having to spend a weekend working on a race car that should have arrived in pristine working order!

After this exercise, Steve, Colin Youle and I set about the wine bottle, Aberdeen Angus beef-burgers, Woburn sausages and a very lovely bottle of Italian Montepulcianno and camcorder footage of my last outing with the Bentley Drivers club at Silverstone last August. We all slept very soundly!!!?

On Saturday, our practice with the Big Healey Boys was at 10:55 hours and it was getting very hot. The outside temperature was 23 Degrees ‘C’. I was a little twitchy (Situation normal) and wanted to be first out from the Assembly Area to put in a few ‘Banker Laps’, as they say in F1, and before the Healeys had warmed their ‘Slicks’.

It paid off and I was only about 1.5 seconds a lap slower than my best time in my XK150 with the 3.8 Litre engine and with Disks Vs. Drums, as a Class ‘A’ FIA Entry.

Returning to the Paddock the engine was a little warm, to say the least, but with the fan left on for 5 minutes, she soon cooled down and, more to the point, the water system contained all the H2O with no over-pressurisation.

Out of 25 cars of mixed marque in the race, I qualified 19th, but only 6th out of 8 XK’s.

Our race was at 16:15 hrs and, by that time we were reading 26 Degrees C on the ‘Richter’ scale of temperature (Joke). This was going to be a testing race for the car and for me.

The race became a race of attrition. With a combination of overheating cars, a very slippery circuit from all the races throughout the day and a good many ‘Offs’! We lost some seven cars.

I had a wonderful start overtaking three cars and by half way through the lap I had passed another two.

It was hot, but once I had cleared a lot of the masses I settled down to race smoothly and watch all the dashboard ‘Dials’, especially my water temperature gauge, which settled at about 95 Degrees C. I overtook another couple of cars and fended off a rather quick Harvey Woods in his beautifully turned out Austin Healey 100M, who was also braking with drums.

I finished 11th overall in the ‘Lackford Engineering Austin Healey Championship race with the JEC XK Series’ out of 25 cars.

My results from the race were:

3rd overall in the Jaguar XK race and

1st in Class ‘A’ for the FIA Appendix ‘K’ Jaguar cars.


My next race will be at Brands Hatch on Saturday the 26th June with the AMOC.

Hope to see you there!

John D R.

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