As most of you know that before Motor Racing took off, competition either on two or four wheels started with Hill Climbs and Sprints. Well, as I have a new (Older) race car, I thought I would go back in time and try my hand at The Sprint.
I called John Hutchison, the Competitions Manager at the Aston Martin Owners Club and asked whether I could join in with their Hill Climb and Sprint fraternity at Goodwood last weekend. The answer of course was a ‘Yes’ as grid numbers are the name of the game in such events these days.
I soon realised that my ignorance of such events had surfaced, as I didn’t know what a ‘Timing Strut’ was. Philip Venables who was my MSA Scrutineer for the day, kindly offered me some assistance. He called his wife and asked her to go into the garage and bring over some Aluminium and cutters and some BA nuts and bolts.
However, time was marching on and it was David Reed and his wife Anne, avid Aston racers with their very speedy DB2, luckily had a spare strut in their mobile workshop. Unbelievably the strut and its associated bolt fitted perfectly into one of the bolt holes where the XK140 valance should be. With a secured nut on the end of it, I was ready to go sprinting.
First comes the convoy of cars to make us aware of the circuit. Then came the official Practice. This comprised of four cars on the Start Line with ‘Struts’ duly aligned with the mobile TSL Timing Electronics. The cars are then set free at ten second intervals. I was first out of the trap and headed towards Madgwick corner, with its double apex.
Over the years I have covered many laps at Goodwood and, this is truly a racers’ circuit, with practically all corners being ‘Blind’ ones and a very fast lap, over this 2.38 mile circuit! But only if you don’t fall off! This was a new take for me in that one has to set a time in that one and only lap. With drum brakes this is not so easy, as there is no opportunity to warm up the brakes first. This left me with a very long pedal for all four sessions that I completed.
A point of interest is that I have calibrated the speedometer to the rolling radius of the new MWS 16 Inch Light Alloy wheels with Dunlop CR48 Cross Ply racing tyres fitted. Putting this combination to the test my terminal velocity was 140 mph along the Lavant Straight. Therefore, on the approach to Woodcote, the poor brakes were really mumbling and grumbling in an effort to stop the car.
The net result of these endeavours and, from a standing start, I achieved a
1 minute 49 second lap time. This compares quite favourably to my best ever ‘Flying’ lap time of 1 Minute 43 seconds.
My result for the day was that I came 3rd in Class. If my School Master had written a report on my achievement, I’m sure he would have said that it was not a bad result but can do better next time.
I was certainly very pleased with this first attempt and it certainly helped to improve my race starts and, a very enjoyable day out, which attracted many people to the MWS garage.
Next up will be a race of some 45 minutes, which will be the next phase of shaking down the car this season. The event will be with the JEC and The Masters.
The Masters / Top Hat Event at Castle Combe will be take place on
Saturday the 31st July.