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Brands Hatch

I had thought that Mallory was hot in May, until I arrived at Brands Hatch on the Friday the 25th June for Testing.

My main objective for the Friday was to ‘Bed-In’ the new rear drum brake linings, during the afternoon sessions.

‘Bed-In’ was the understatement! I almost ‘Smoked’ them in, with a little too much adjustment, together with an extremely hot engine and I wasn’t even trying to go very fast.

However, I achieved the correct ratchet adjustment in readiness for the race on Saturday, followed by a relaxing glass of wine with Steve in the Kentagon Restaurant at Brands.

Saturday was a beautiful day and I proceeded to do my pre-flight checks on the XK and found that I had broken a spoke on the off-side front. I hurriedly changed the wheel for the spare and made my way to the most nerve-racking part of any race event (For me) Scrutineering!

Luckily, everything was fine and I prepared for Qualifying. With the temperature at 28°C I thought I’d get to the Assembly Area first, so that I could put in a few ‘Hot’ (In more ways then one) laps, before the faster boys caught me and the Vredestein tyres ‘Went Off’’.

Having past the Noise Test at a reading of 97 Decibels, I proceeded to the front of the grid. When the Green Flag came out, I was like the hare out of the trap and I managed four laps before anyone caught up with me. By this time the tyres were very hot and the car was under-steering quite badly at ‘Graham Hill Bend’ and at ‘Clearways’.

To prove the point about the tyres, I achieved my fastest lap time on Lap 3 with a 1 minute 03 seconds (1:03:388), which was as fast I had achieved in my XK150 with a 3.8 Litre engine and Disk Brakes. So I was quite pleased with that as this is not a good circuit for the XK140, with an original Moss Gearbox where the gearing is wrong and, with Drum Brakes. She’s a long-legged car that demands a longer circuit like Goodwood or Spa etc.

However, the engine was showing a 100°C during Quali so, on the last lap, on went the radiator fan to start cooling her down. In the Paddock, the needle went completely off-scale and I needed the fan on for a further 15 minutes, with intermittent starting of the engine to circulate some ‘Cooler’ water’. But the cooling system contained all the water, so Sigma Engineering has done a good job on the engine!! Thanks Peter!

Luckily, my race was at 17:30 hrs, and I was hoping the ambient temperature would have started to cool by then. Yes, by about 1°C.

There weren’t too many cars in the race and I was 4th on the grid. When the Red Lights went out, I was overtaken by the Aston Martin DB2/4 of Glynn Allen going into Paddock Hill Bend, which displeased me somewhat. I knew I had to get the position back before the tyres went off again. I was still trailing going into Druids and down into Graham Hill Bend. BUT, coming out of GHB, I had the run on him, as he went a little wide and, I shot through to regain my 4th position and left him behind for the first half of the race.

Towards the end of the race he had started to claw his way back, as my lap times dropped back 1 minute 04’s and his Lap Board was showing 1:03’s. But I held on  until the chequered flag and hung on to 4th place in the race behind David Reed in his very rapid Aston DB2, Xavier Sanz de Acedo in a Healey, Mark Pangbourne in his Healey 100M.

A great day, a great race and a hot one! The new brakes linings were by now bedded in and, I had drunk 5 Litres of water.

At this point Steve handed me a book he thought I might be interested in called, the ‘Motorsport Fitness Manual’. Thanks Steve!!

For my next event, I have decided to go back in time and enter the ‘Goodwood Sprint’, again with the Aston Martin Owners Club. I’ve never done one of these before, so it should be fun to do

The Goodwood Sprint will be take place on
Saturday the 17th July.

Hope to see you there!

John D R.

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