WSM - RACE NEWS 04
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You never forget your first - Clive Cocks made his racing debut at the Jaguar Car Club organised Top Hat event in WSM 210 - and with Cobra, E-Type, Mustang and GT40 for company, it was literally a baptism of fire. Practice for the 45 minute enduro was dominated by Simon Hadfield in his Lotus 23B, but the mighty flame spitting Ford GT40 (chassis number 5) of Leo Voyazides in second drew the crowds. Class D was easily headed by Rae Davis in the Mini Marcos (57.6s), followed by WSM 301 (58.6), Ivor Miller in his Midget (1.00), the number 41 Lenham GT of Dave Stubbings (1.10) and the left hand drive WSM 210 - with Class E's Guy Loveridge, three Spridget based cars were at 1.10s.
Drivers briefing included a general telling off from Top Hat organiser Julias Thurgood (left) for contact in practice and an oil pressure problem on WSM 210 was fixed just in time to join the twenty five car grid scramble through Gerards and cram through the chicane at Shaws unblemished. Predictably the Hadfield Lotus and Voyazides GT40 ran away from the field, but like no other, the Mallory circuit keeps everyone in the thick of the action and very few beat practice times. Cocks and Stubbings were never far apart until the mandatory pit-stop between 15-30 minutes, and WSM 301 had XK120, E-Type and Lotus 23 as sparring partners for the duration. Both Mustang GT350's bit the dust at 35 and 38 laps, and there was contact at Shaws hairpin between WSM 301 and the Lotus 23B of Michael Doyle. WSM pit lane organisation by Paul Woolmer contributed towards the 12th o/all finish of WSM 301 - the hot engine failed to fire after the engine-off pit stop and a push from the team got the car out still with 13th placed Doyle - while no-one could live with the class winning Rae Davis Marcos. Cocks got the better of Stubbings and Loveridge to finish class D 4th (18th o/all) and Ivor Miller finished in class D third (15th). The WSM cars were in one piece if not unmarked, Paul Woolmer is again due thanks for spannering both cars, and DW-S met ex-rally driver Pablo Raybould who has a collection of 60's rally plates that includes items from DW-S's Monte Carlo entries. Also met Rob Pepper, an old adversary from Healey championship days in the 1990's who is considering a come back with his Sprite to this sort of event.
Thanks to all the marshalls, and to Julias Thurgood and the Top Hat team who produced a fitting tribute to Mallory's 'First Lady' of motorsport, the late Edwina Overend, and to Miles Townsend, a regular Top Hat competitor who drove his last race in 2003.
Not a bad end to a season that kicked off on March 21st at Donington with the MGTeam - 2005 should see WSM's 202, 207, 210, MGB and Sebring BXN out racing together. Great prospect.
Mallory In Focus . . courtesy of photographer Paul Webb. Left to right -
Bob Pepper's GT350 Coupe sending messages Apache style to the pits . .
WSM 301 & Lotus 23 kissed and made up at Shaws . .
" . . Thought Mallory was clockwise . . ? "
Clive Cocks in 210 - "Must hang in there . ."
WSM pedal and metal meet on start/finish straight . .
Eeeeee Type . .
Under duress, Clive Cocks was kind enough to share his innermost thoughts of a first race :
' 10th October 2004, a date that will stay with me forever. Not only is it the day before my 29th wedding anniversary, but it also created the same kind of feelings as 29 years ago . .."WHY AM I DOING THIS ?". But just as 29 years ago, I am glad I did.
7.30am at Mallory Park, Leicestershire, cold but dry, at a Top Hat racing event with me and WSM 210 entered in race number 2. The first outing for WSM 210 in many years and the first ever race for yours truly.The "Cloth Cap" race included a diverse range of vehicles from a superb GT40, through AC Cobra, Lotus 23, "E" Types including CUT 7, and Ford Mustangs, to the two WSM's, a Frogeye, a standard Midget and a Lenham Midget.
With signing on done,
licence handed in and tyres, oil and water checked it was time for practice.
The plan was to do a few steady laps and purposely keep close to the
rear of the grid for the race (120% race time rules did not apply to
this race) The plan worked too brilliantly as I was slowest and last
on the grid !
Tony went into quiet mode as the race approached, as I went into pale faced frustration mode. Wife Sue (bless her forever for putting up with this) wanted to be left alone. The final call for cars in race number 2 was blaring over the loudspeaker as the last nuts and bolts were tightened and the bonnet replaced. Turn the key. She started and the pressure gauge did what it was supposed to do.
Pic courtesy of journalist Claire Furnell
Sitting in the assembly area facing the grid leaders was daunting. The GT40 of Leo Voyazides - which added insult every time it overtook (which it did quite a lot) by belching out flame from its central exhausts - the mean looking Jaguar E-types, the XK120 looked gigantic and the shining Lotus 23B of the eventual race winner gleaming like a silver bullet. It was comforting to be next to Guy's Frogeye ( thanks Guy and Claire for your friendliness and encouragement ). Time for formation lap, green flag lap, then sit and wait for the lights. The grid leaders seemed a long way up the straight. I looked to my left and there was Guy's Frogeye slightly ahead, looking very much the part and behind him the crowd standing in the sunshine. Straight ahead the Lenham Midget. How many of the crowd knew me and figure this was my first attempt - would a stalled engine on the grid be the highlight of my afternoon ?
Engines revving, red lights went out, clutch released and we were off. Remarkably well even if I do say so myself, and with more experience (and nerve) I think I should have taken the Lenham. So this was it. Forty five minutes of concentration. The raceleaders quickly caught and lapped me (far too many times), consistency was my byword and after the compulsory pitstop where I was cruelly manhandled by Paul and Graham out of the car and back in again, we were off on the second stint. Time to push on but trying to stay with an experienced driver in a car slower than yours is hard work. However, staying up with an experienced driver with a faster car is impossible. Rae "Flyer" Davis effortlessly overtook and was close enough to have wiped the nose of 210 every time he came past in his Mini Marcos. Tony showed no mercy and overtook anywhere in his vain chase of Davis (I thought there were some team orders about keeping the two WSM's together for photogenic reasons ?) All too quickly the chequered flag and that was it, WSM 210 had held together (not too sure about me). Twenty five starters and I finished 18th (ok, there were five non-finishers) and that all important first signature on my race licence.
Will I do it again ? Yes, (wife permitting) and WSM 210 will be out again next year. Probably not setting any records but hopefully giving its owners lots of enjoyment. Do I need to modify the car to make it go faster ? The only comment I overheard was that we require bigger balls, but I have no idea where to buy them and where they fit on the car ?'
Oulton Park - 6th September 2004 . .
A Friday afternoon thrash from Liverpool to Bedfordshire to collect the WSM MGB and back to Cheshire to drop the trailer with Geoff Hill in Longdendale was rewarded on arrival in the paddock with the intoxicating smell of bbq and wine. New to the MGTeam with his recently completed roadster, Rob Cull catered for an appreciative MGTeam gathering and cooked his way into pole position.
The MGTeam's grid at the 750 Motor Club meeting may have been down on numbers from the MGCC July Silverstone count of twenty-nine but the 2.7 mile International circuit at Oulton Park ranks amongst the best in the country for non-stop involvement and entertainment value. Forty five minutes racing and pit-stop at the uprated Oulton facilities beckoned.
Two very different generations of sportscar car designers were spotted chatting in the scrutineering line. 1960's designer Douglas Wilson-Spratt met Lee Noble by the WSM MGB and it was apparent there was mutual appreciation of each others work. Pictured left, Bob Allen, Lee Noble & DW-S
Oliver Bryant topped the 11.10am practice on Saturday with a 2m 08s, followed by Tom Smith 2m 09s and James Cottingham 2m 10s. Of the MT1 class, Andrew Actman lead at 9th in 2m 17s, Bob Allen a worthy 11th with 2m 21s in his underpowered MGTC after a recent engine change and James Willis, his event again blighted by mechanical woes, did not practice. An unimpressive 2m 25s for 15th from the WSM MGB was the result of a new rattle, subsequently found to be a disconnected speedo cable rotating beneath the car, and MGTeam organiser Jim Lowry rounded up drivers without transponders.
The MGTeam were carded as race number seven which gave time to wander the trackside interior and enjoy sunshine and racing. The plunge down Cascades and subsequent appearance over Hilltop and through Knickerbrook is entertaining, and seeing who was flat or not through Island Bend was educational. A leisurely stroll was interrupted by a message that the race sequence had changed and every car on the MGTeam grid bar the WSM was sat in assembly waiting to start race number five. Run, strip, change, belt and bolt - thanks to Christophe Willmart who had the presence of mind to arrange all the necessary gear.
Click on picture, Ron Watt and DW-S talk MGB turkey in the paddock.
At least we had an excuse for a lousy start, but every cloud has a silver lining and we finished the second lap behind Terry Bryant in his white MGA. For seven laps we fought nose to tail, while Rob Cull got away and Bob Allen closed up behind. Huge fun factor but a solution needed. The answer came with the pits opening for compulsory stops between 15-30 minutes into the race and clear track then beckoned. Lap times came down, as interpreted by DW-S pit crew thumbs up, but a spin through Cascades lost time that may have brought us up with Andrew Actman in 8th. The Cottingham MGB had the pace, a 2m 08s on lap 8, but similarly a spin cost places to 5th. Oliver Bryant brought home the bacon - 2m 07s best - with Brian Lambert 2nd and Malcolm Johnson 3rd. Andrew Actman finished 8th, (best 2m 16s) the WSM MGB 9th (2m 15s) and Bob Allen 11th (2m 18s).
A competitive and enjoyable race to sign off the WSM MGB's season for 2004, and the WSM still had enough puff to beat DW-S in the Audi back to Liverpool to catch the 7pm ferry, while the MGTeam look ahead to dune dodging at Zandvoort in a few weeks.
At home with Octagons Big Week-End . .
Silverstone July 24th & 25th 2004
Whats Bernies beef ? Brilliant facility, great track layout, easy access. First time back for WSM in seven years and the home of British motorsport is unrecogniseable. The MGCC event ranks as the third best attended meeting at HQ and not hard to see why. Well organized, plenty of variety, loads of racing and like minded company
Friday 5.45am off to the Liverpool ferry. 10.00am on M62 to collect WSMs. To the newlyweds in Whittlesea (Peterborough), collect WSM 301 and deliver with Claire to trackside Silverstone 3pm to put tents up. Off to Woolies Wonderland in Bedfordshire, pick up WSM MGB and convoy back to Silverstone with WSM 202 and the Mars car. Traffic jams and hot weather cause Mars car to boil over. Transfer Junior Woolies to my car, abandon Senior Woolies to fate on A43. Lizzie (left) says she loves me. Arrive Silverstone 8pm, Andrew Roberts welcome party at the gate, tents partly up, Claire sizzled and sozzled. Senior Woolies arrive later. Install the fleet in MGCC marquees. Text messages galore from MCL at Le Mans re sun, champagne and ambience at the Le Mans Classic - good to hear Claire Furnells Dad going well and ready for 12am and 8.00am races. Richard Woolmer, son of Paul, is designated official WSM salesman for the week-end (pictured right). Two beers, one BBQ at chez WSM, horizontal by 11.00pm.
Saturday Never could sleep in bloody tents. Early start anyway for signing on, scrutineering, sort transponder and spanner WSM 301. Meet David Howes, owned a red WSM in 1960s can only be XPP or VLY 540 David will search for pix. Mega interest dawn til dusk in 793 XPP / WSM 202 up for sale. Practice on the International circuit for Midget race - our WSM 1m 56s would not have troubled the fire tender. Engine and mechanics fine but something amiss loads of understeer and Copse unfathomable. Have I forgotten how to drive on Yokohamas ? Concensus is lower tyre pressures. Sponsor Andrew Actman also disappointed his times not bad but three in class bust lap record. Catch up with MGs Chris & Mavis Parker both aviators yet Mavis the most nervous race spectator and MGCC stalwart Brian Rainbow.
Actman Midget Race car transformed by tyre pressures - 1m 50s laps. Four cars damaged and out in first lap fracas. Make a few places in six laps, Graham Prosser and Ian Staines in Midgets contest ownership of our patch of track vigorously but misfire kicks in and lose them before 8th lap chequered several moments squeezed onto grass and have to keep red mist at bay. Greet Alastair Naylor, a regular Manx Classic visitor in the 1990s with his gorgeous MG TCs and adversary in the Thornley Trophy tomorrow. The Woolies and the Sprouts put world to rights in chez WSM with BBQ and beer.
Sunday bloody tent. Never again. Early morning rain no help. Give the WSM MGB a bleary eyed check over with Paul. Practice for the Thornley Trophy at 12.15pm so explore the extensive offerings infield. Whichever MG grabbed your spokes, from whole cars to a washer, it was there. Met Murray Henderson - racing a Midget in two-driver race with Ian Hewlitt - who exposed my mechanical limitations by fixing the WSM MGB nearside mirror in 5 minutes. The B goes like a train in practice 1m 54s reasonably happy mid grid but like school reports always said . . can do better. Diff oil all over rear offside, plug popped, temp fix we hope. Met Mike Abbott, an SODC member who hill climbed at Woburn etc with DW-S in the 1960s, now marshalling honcho. Drove WSM 202 around in case not another chance before change of ownership. German TV want interview tell them our faces suit radio better, translation failure - I collar Paul, he collars me, safety in numbers at least. We burble and gesticulate as best we can. Lizzie still loves me.
Naff start for Thornley Trophy race but great scrap with Peter Edneys MG TB and Bob Allens MG TC. Got down to 1m 51s and took 16th place on last lap from Peter and Bob with 27 finishers. Tom Smith and James Cottingham top dogs in MGBs. Watched Murray and Ian get sixth place in the enduro. Chat with Tom Coulthard. Thank Andrew Roberts and all the MGCC crew, trailer up, nearly forget to return transponder (thanks to Andrew for the legwork), convoy out to chez Woolie asap. Mars car breaks down 3 miles out and Claire in the WSM MGB and Paul get stuck on M way traffic. Arrive Woolies, Bedfordshire 7.30pm, abandon cars, dash for Liverpool 10pm ferry with Paul guiding shortcut to A14. Got it, just. Not much legal though - November 5th in the rear view mirror most of the way. Back to Silverstone next Saturday for BRDC race. Not in a tent. Cannot wait.Thanks to Peter Browning, Maggie Yeadon, the organising team and all the marshals. Without you none of us get to play.
BRDC Summer 500 . .
Whizzo in Wuzzum
Some combination. Sounds like a mythical beast saddled with a cartoon character. Barry Williams stepped into WSM 301 for the first time two minutes before practice and set a blistering 4th place qualifying time of 1m 14s around the Silverstone national circuit. Although Barry and DW-S go back a long way, there had never previously been an opportunity for Barry to pedal a WSM, but he certainly made up for lost time - only the two ETypes of Ian Guest and Les Ely and the MGB of Hamish Cook made better progress. Unfortunately the car was only a reserve entry and did not make the grid but other opportunities will surely come. In the race, the E-Types buzzed off some 4 seconds a lap quicker than third placed man Hamish Cook, but down the field Barry Sidery-Smith scored a worthy 8th place, Neil Hardy scrapped for 12th in the Healey 100 and Allan Cameron 16th in his Healey 100M. The WSM MGB fought with Christophe Willmarts MGB for 18th place until the Frenchmans engine died and caused retirement. Andrew Actman was sidelined with half-shaft failure, while the famous Sprites of Chris Clegg and the Martin Davidson driven Jack Wheeler car both suffered mechanical gremlins.
Dinner next door to the BRDC gin palace gave us a chance to catch up with Healey driver David Smithies and commentator Neville Hay, while the unmistakeable figure of Jack Brabham also enjoyed a spectacular buffet. Carriages arrived and departed at 1.00am, leaving the Wheeler, Davidson and Wilson-Spratt party to be chucked out by the weary bar staff . Thanks to Paul Woolmer for his help with the WSM's, Barry Sidery-Smith, Jim Lowry, Christophe Willmart and the MGTeam for organising the grid, and to Guy Loveridge for his sponsorship of the Sportscar race. Fingers crossed that the resuscitated BRDC Summer 500 becomes a regular fixture once again.
|James Willis explored many different lines during practice at the Grand Prix De L'Age D'Or in 2004, and his trackside demeanor was impeccable. On questioning, he explained the picture with the . . "I was going to scrutineering" excuse.|
Donington Park 21-03-04 . .
The 750 Club event at Donington featured TheMGTeam race, entries including MGA, TA, TC, MGB and the Reliant Sabre Six of John Leslie. Although practice was dry, race conditions were initially atrocious. WSM 301 qualified 2nd in class 1m 39.9, 15th overall for the ½ hour race to Tim Patchetts MG TA 1m 38.4, but Andrew Actman 1m 42s in the gorgeous Sebring and James Willis 1m44.8 in the very special Jacobs Midget were suspiciously slow (Andrew mollycoddling a new engine and James had a misfire). After a torrential downpour caused a delay on the grid for the 24 cars, things went pear shaped after two green flag laps. Late offline braking and triple-sulko in the WSM across the grass infield to Goddards on lap four went unnoticed by DW-S in the grandstand but blew my socks off. James and Tim disappeared off to play and simply drove better on Dunlops. Had a battle with Andrew until he got his skates on, leaving Stephen Barlow in an MG TC and Bob Allen in his TC giving us grief for class 4th, the WSM quicker in a straight line/brakes but Stephen and Bob better in a few of the corners. 5th in class, 14th overall did not set the WSM world alight - lots to learn on Dunlops in the wet veil drawn. Good to see class 3 MGBs give it loads and congrats to Oliver Bryant for the race win.
Top notch event from TheMGTeam and sponsors Ridgard Classic Seats like Arnie, WSM will be back.
Top Hat In Top Octane Gear. .
Contrasting fortunes for WSM at Castle Combe for the Easter Monday meeting. A cracking twenty nine car qualifying grid for the one hour European Historic Sports Car Challenge with Shelby Cobra, Ferrari 365 GTO and Cut 7 E Type through Renault Dauphine and Frogeye Sprite. WSM 301 at 15th headed Class D with 1m.29s, the Tony Jardine/Ivor Miller Midget 20th at 1.33 and Stubbings MG Lenham GT 26th at 1.42, while Class Es MCL/Claire Furnell Frogeye Sprite turned in a 1.49 - click on the picture right to see who used tyre warmers . .
WSM fuel tank brimmed (please note) F1 style start lights set off a hectic first twenty minutes. A brief safety car period then bunched it all up again before pitlane became Piccadilly Circus. WSM 301 looked to have Class D stitched up with 1.27 laps against Miller/Jardines 1.30, and spent most of the race warding off the mighty 3.8ltr Jaguar HL special of Brown/Tart - the WSM better on brakes/bends but lacking ccs on the motorway bits - lots of cut and thrust until the WSM ran out of four star six minutes early. The six gallon capacity that fuelled an hour at Mallory with a gallon spare was not enough for an hour at Combe, so the Jardine/Miller MG Midget crew celebrated class success.
The Shipman/Hales Crossle took the overall win and new series sponsors Octane magazine in the shape of David Lillywhite saw a large Bank Holiday crowd entertained in some style. Historic endurance racing was a novelty to Combe but organiser Julias Thurgood confirmed that the Top Hat events had immediately been asked back for next year. Writer of the Year 2003 Marcus Pye in Autosport (April 15th) wrote . .For once the local championship shootouts were overshadowed . .
Plus Old & New Acquaintances . .
Great to bump into WSM connections at Castle Combe. Joe Cox, Healey race co-ordinator was running a beady eye over the Top Hat grid which included Chris Clarkson and Julian Bronson in the famous Healey 3000 DD300. Ian Wilson of autographracing.co.uk was caught at the other end of the lens with David Lillywhite of Octane magazine.