The Masters Series Top Hat Racing at Silverstone - 8th/9th August 2009
The racing gets better
The Silverstone National Circuit was the scene for the Bentley Drivers Club 60th Anniversary weekend on the 8th and 9th August.
I haven’t raced on this circuit for some two years and I thought I would be very rusty. In addition, this was Read G’s first opportunity to race here and especially as he has never tested on this circuit. So it was a “Watch This Space” sort of a day.
The weather on Saturday was superb yet again, so we didn’t need the ‘Wets’ on! Having checked the car over and fitted the data-logging equipment and with ‘Scrutineering’ out of the way, we prepared for the Practice / Qualifier.
Read and I both qualified the car but we were baulked by traffic on the circuit with such a large grid size of 34 cars, which, believe me is a lot of cars for this short and twisty little circuit.
The best we could do was a 1 Min 17.54 Sec lap which positioned us number 25 on the grid out of the 34. However, we had a starting grid position next to the Pit Wall.
As Read hadn’t raced at Silverstone and he was starting the race from a grid position next to the Pit Wall, I advised him to stay next to the wall off the start line, through the first (Copse) corner and up the hill into Maggotts and Becketts corner.
Come the race, it proved to be the safe option, but not the fastest one as this approach can lead to being blocked which is what happened and Read lost a couple of places. However, once he got the bit between his teeth, he started clawing places back until a wonderful ‘Spin’ at Copse Corner. But all was not lost!
At the half way change-over point, Read came into the pits and I took over the remainder of the race. Well, to say that I was a man with a mission would be an understatement. I was out of the ‘Traps’ like a greyhound! With about 22 minutes left of the 45 minute race I set about the task of catching and overhauling as many XK’s as I could manage.
While waiting in the Pits, I noticed that Graham Love was posting 1 Min 19 second lap times and my objective was to beat those times if we wanted to succeed.
The first lap I posted was a 1 Min 17 second lap, then I started to post 1 Min 16’s from then on and I needed to be consistent for 18 laps. It was a fantastic race for me, as I overtook about 8 cars in the process. As I mentioned, Graham Love was the chap I needed to beat and, at the end of the race, I was only 30 yards behind him at the finish line (JUST ONE MORE LAP – PLEASE!!)
In conclusion Read and I had our best result to date i.e. 4th in Class and a creditable 18th place in the race out of 34 and, hauling ourselves up seven places from 25th on the grid (compared to 5th in Class at Castle Combe and 6th in Class at Brands Hatch) and more Championship points.
“The BOY Done Good” and what a team effort!! We are going from strength to strength and only 30 yards off a trophy for 3rd in Class. Next time!
Our next race will be at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps for the Spa Six Hours
on the 25th, 26th and 27th September 2009