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RACE NEWS 2008
Equipe GTS . .
Click on for 2008 racing calendar . .
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'Equipe' GTS at MGCC Snetterton October 4th . .
Planning has been approved for a Grand Prix length extension of the circuit of this ever popular venue, so 'Equipe' GTS competitors took their last chance to drive the 1.95 mile Snetterton circuit in its current layout. Fine autumn weather greeted the racers on Saturday morning for qualifying and the wet weather held off all day, but overnight rain devastated the Sunday race programme.
Malcolm Johnson's TVR Grantura took pole position, the first of five Granturas on the near full grid of 29 cars, with Tom Smith holding on to MG honours and sharing the front row of the grid in his MGB. Rod Begbie in another TVR and Neil Howe's TR4 filled the second row, while Brian Arculus excelled in his earlier model Triumph TR3a. In the smaller classes, Simon Gurney's MGA Sebring Deluxe lined up next to Keith Hampson's double Le Mans 24 hour Sunbeam Alpine, with Chris Gordon's Triumph Spitfire heading the smallest class from Clive Cocks WSM Austin Healey Sprite and the superb Lancia Fulvia of Dave Wood..
The race was without doubt one of the best ever. Johnson made a poor start and Begbie initially headed the pack from Smith and Howe, with John Andon's similar TR4 among the front runners on the opening laps. Smith took over the lead, yet Johnson was recovering lost ground and taking the lead by half distance. Smith was having none of it and pushed hard, taking the lead back with only a few laps to go. Then the TVR took advantage as the MGB tyres warmed, and Johnson reclaimed the head of the field with two laps remaining which he held to the chequered with Smith a mere 0.3 seconds in arrears. Begbie held on to the final podium place from Andon who inherited fourth as Howe's Triumph TR4 slowed with a broken half-shaft.
The determined Cocks took class B honours from Wood on the last lap as the Lancia slowed, the V4 engined Lancia having drunk way more fuel than estimated, while Simon Gurney ceded a class win to Hampson by three seconds at the finish.
Pictures courtesy of Paul Webb
'Equipe' GTS at MGCC Brands Hatch September 7th . .
The Arc hove into view on Friday morning as we crossed the Irish sea to Liverpool - monsoon conditions followed our tracks every second from the Isle of Man on Friday, and only relented in time for an exciting and eventful 12th round of the successful 'Equipe' GTS series on Sunday.
This popular venue on the shorter 'Indy' circuit gave opportunities for drivers to share drive, there being a mandatory pit stop at between one and two thirds of the race duration where the car had to remain stationary for at least 30 seconds. John Pearson partnered Nick Crewdson, Rob Croft with Steve Hall, Paul Freeman with Dave Wood, Stephen Bolderson made his racing debut with father Peter, and all the double drive's were in MGB's.
Practice - Neil Howe overcame tricky conditions on a soaked track and steered his TR4 to pole position from Tom Smith and Jerry Stock's MGBs. Neil Hardy excelled in the wet conditions and slotted his 1955 Austin Healey 100 into a very impressive 7th position on the grid behind the MGB's of Stephen Radcliffe, Alasdair Bruce and Graham Shrigley-Jones. TR4 mounted Andy Somerville took his maiden bow with the series, while those in the know suspected the Malcolm Johnson TVR in 9th was either giving problems or sandbagging. Brake problems caused WSM 301 to complete less than one lap of practice, necessitating out of session qualification with the Lenham sponsored Sprite's later in the morning, and therefore a back of grid spot for the GTS race.
Race - A dry line appeared over the lunch break, and the full grid squeezed through Druids without trouble with Smith and Howe disputing top dog. WSM 301 made a banzai start from the back, but disaster on lap two when the Somerville TR4 spun at Graham Hill bend, only to be collected by the MGB of Bob Ridgard. With both cars stranded in a dangerous position, the race was stopped.
After a full distance restart, it was soon evident that Johnson was going to take full advantage of the dryer track and stormed through to challenge for the lead. Smith was holding off Howe and Radcliffe to boot, and they all took turns to head the field as each elected to make their stops on different laps. A safety car period to rescue gravel trapped 'offs' complicated the running order, but the Andon TR4 was hassling the Radcliffe MGB for 5th, while Jerry Stock's consistency kept him just out of reach in 4th from the squabbling duo. The situation unfolded after pitstops were completed, and Johnson took an advantage on lap nine which he held - just - to the chequered and take an 'Equipe' GTS lap record (57.95) into the bargain. Smith and Howe rounded up the top three, and class winners included Simon Gurney in his MGA Sebring.
Driver of the Race was awarded to Neil Hardy in his Healey 100 for a sparkling drive to 8th. His rain dance succeeded for practice, but a canny drive in dry conditions highlighted the ongoing family expertise.
Pit & Paddock
Next 'Equipe' GTS race October 4th & 5th at Snetterton
'Equipe' GTS at ADAC Zolder July 5th / 6th . .
Outstanding circuit, access, facilities and organisation contribute to an excellent week-end
Practice - every picture tells a thousand stories - pictured left Allan Ross-Jones and right, Pat Arculus, but David Beresford's reaction to a stonking third place was missed by the camera man. The TVR's of Malcolm Johnson on pole and Mark Ashworth set the pace at 2.00.741 and 2.00.832, but the Beresford MGB posted 2.00.922. Ex-rally driver and multiple Monte Carlo entrant Michelle Billion-Rey took his light green TVR Grantura Mk 3 to a steady 15th place, and those in the know had brought vans full of brake parts, as the thoroughly entertaining but demanding ex-F1 circuit was venemous to all things frictional - the paddock after the half hour practice was strewn with hydraulic fluid and brake pads in attempts to restore stopping power before a 4pm race.
Race 1 - Of 28 starters, several with mechanical woes in practice were launching off the back of the grid and an incident yards from the start involving the MGB of the unfortunate Graham Bates led to a safety car period, which at least ensured the brakes were saved a full bashing. The Johnson TVR duly took an 8 second margin to the flag after indulging in a 1.59.965 lap for good measure, but not challenging last years lap record of Tom Smith at 1.57.21. Ashworth's bid had faded after 6 laps with Grantura gremlins, and Allan Ross-Jones in the TR4 kept the Stephen Radcliffe MGB at bay to complete the podium and win Class 5 from the Brian Arculus TR3a in 5th. Beresford's 4th place and two seconds behind Radcliffe was probably a minor disappointment to the affable Chesterfield based driver, while Alex Quattlebaum took Class 2 honours with his gorgeous MG TC Leco Special. The MG replaced his Elva Courier at short notice and has an MG TC engine on a Tojeiro based chassis built in the early 1950's in Sussex. The other Class 2 contender James Willis had to last the distance in 4th gear and subsequently missed race two with gearbox failure.
Race 2 - Remarkably, a repeat top six performance but by no means processional. Beresford and Radcliffe resumed their squabble over third position, and only 2.5s separated these two in one hours worth of racing. Johnson was comfortable up front and had over 10s in hand over Ross-Jones, and Piers Ward in the Grantura Mk 3 doubled up on his first race 6th spot. Quattlebaum dominated Class 2, and Trevor Kemp Class 3 in the pristine yellow Elva Courier as Doug Martin's superb Alfa Romeo was retired, but Billion-Rey was limited to six laps racing in total as the recalcitrant TVR stubbornly refused tlc with cooling issues.
Pit & Paddock -
If you're looking for staying power, look no further than Barbara Lambert and Doug Smith who operated pit boards on a warm day throughout the 3 hour ADAC race and administered tlc to fellow MGB's . . .
Rob Cull helps with the Andon Morgan . .
Thought the Welcome Centre outside the circuit had opened early at 6am instead of the advertised 7am on Saturday morning to receive bleary eyed travellers to Zolder. Actually the WSM equipe had forgotten to wind the watch forward after the overnight sailing to Ostend. So that's why no-one else was at scrutineering . .
Please note pictures in full fat format are available to email on request . . .
Next 'Equipe' GTS race - Brands Hatch 7th September
'Equipe' GTS at Silverstone MGCC June 13th - 15th . .
The appeal of the series is no better illustrated than at the worlds largest MG meeting where seventy four grid spots were allocated between the Virgin Radio Classic Rock and Jigsaw Racing Signtec sponsored races -
Series organisers Jim Lowry and Christophe Wilmart were awarded three races for the Octagon bash, just desserts for the entertaining and colourful racing on tap. Saturday morning practice saw just over a second separate the top four, with the Class 4 Grantura of Mark Ashworth leading the TVR charge from Rod Begbie, the Class 5 TR4 of Neil Howe in third and Stephen Radcliffe the best placed MGB in fourth. The MGB of newcomer Mike Harris, the Elva Courier of Chris Woodgate and the Gilbern GT of Mike Bell impressed, while the Class 2 tiddlers were lead by John Palmer in the MG Midget and Class 3 was headed by Mark Ellis in the MGA twin cam.
Saturday - A dry track and sunny day furthered the fun factor as a titanic struggle between Mark Ashworth and Howe ended with the narrowest of margins awarded to the TVR. The absence of the unfortunate Begbie with mechanical woes after practice meant the MGB's of Radcliffe and Tom Smith duked it out over the line for the remaining podium spot. Biggest mover of the day was Tim Patchett with a drive from 21st to 11th, and Class 3 was dominated by the Ellis MGA. A spin from the MGB of Holger Felske helped WSM301 up to 22nd and head Class 2 as Palmer's Midget retired on lap 7 and WSM210 of Clive Cocks was stricken by a misfire mid race.
Sunday - The Signtec Trophy race saw Howe turn the tables on the Ashworth family and beat Simon Ashworth in the TVR and father Mark in the MGB. Peter Edney's MGB hassled Mark to the flag, and the MGB's of Gordon Bruce and Jurgen Felske squabbled mightily over 8th place. Diane Osbourne took the Radcliffe MGB to a strong 16th, pipping good drives from novice Peter Bolderson and Michelle Kirkpatrick. Usually Lancia mounted, Mark Hoble saddled up the 1954 TR2 for the first time and as a trial for the Le Mans Classic kept the very pretty Alfa Giuila Spider of Doug Martin at bay. Dennis Bron from the Netherlands topped Class 3 in his MGA.
Sunday - Seconds out, round two, and Howe and Ashworth took up the cudgels again. The gloves off approach meant they both beat Ashworth's 2007 lap record, and the crowd was royally entertained. A jubilant Howe agreed with Ashworth that '. . both had made mistakes . .', but outstanding driving again enhanced the series reputation. Smith comprehensively took back the MGB crown from Radcliffe, and Palmer showed that mechanical woes with the ex-Raultonen Midget were well and truly fixed by scalping Class 2 and taking Driver of the Day. Patchett shone again, this time fending off Piers Ward in the TVR Grantura for 10th. A Bolderson MGB spin at Copse in front of WSM301 woke up both pilots, while Cocks was chuffed with WSM lap times 3 seconds better with a healthy engine and fought with the Morgan Plus 4 of Mark Shears to the line.
Pit & Paddock
Lack of brake lights on his MGB caused Peter Bolderson grief at scrutineering. Intensive and informed investigation failed to rectify. 'Big Pete' from next door was summoned as '. . the man that knows'. Cue hammer to solenoid . . .
Daniel Ross-Jones followed in Dad's considerable footsteps and pedalled the family TR4 in the Signtec Trophy race. Dad (pictured) has'nt taught all he knows quite yet - by 3 secs a lap at present and I think its to do with tyre pressures . . .
The WSM equipe was parked adjacent to the Bolderson camp. Aviator Peter has crash landed in the Alps, and competed in the Isle of Man on motor bikes. He did'nt say, but racing must be a cushy number by comparison . . .
We spare a thought for series regular and all round good guy Rob Cull who lost a close family member just prior to this week-end and naturally Rob was unable to be with us.
Click on results sheets & Autosport report
Next Equipe GTS race - Zolder 5th/6th July
'Equipe' GTS at Donington May 31st / June 1st . .
from Christophe Willmart, the WSM Foreign Correspondant. Pix courtesy of Paul Webb
"For the second outing of the year at Donington, the ex-Grand Prix circuit, our hosts were the VSCC, well known for the quality of their meeting and racing cars. In fact, we must admit it, we were very proud to be invited to their "See Red" meeting at the end of May. Even if we had the biggest grid (a sort of habit) of the week-end, the size of the paddock obliged Jim (with help of some others) to spend his whole Friday helping people to park properly their racing cars, facing the public. As a reward, the VSCC told us that it was the best paddock display they had seen for a long time.
With 37 starters for the practice session, the Donington circuit seemed a bit narrow for the competitors on the Saturday morning. A delayed start, with some confusion at race control, made the practice shorter than expected but Neil Howe managed pole in his full FIA spec TR4, lapping in only 1'28', closely followed by Rod Begbie in his TVR Grantura Mk 3 and John Andon in his TR4. Pat Arculus (also known as Brian Arculus) posted an incredible 1'30' in her Lotus Elite that proved to be in fact her husband's TR3. Anyway, we can be sure that in some years her performance will be the highlight of Lotus' fans! Just "out of the box" was the Dave Wood orange Lancia Fulvia, in need of some TLC after only one lap, but he said, in a Schwarzenegger manner - "I'll be back". Colin Pearcy in his Windmill & Lewis MGB was closely followed by a determined Aladsair Bruce and two ex-works car, the John Gott twin Cam MGA driven by Mark Ellis and the ex-Rauno Aaltonen Midget of Nikki and Dave Saunders and driven by John Palmer, made a fantastic show on the tarmac. Another epic battle for 30th position between Keith Hampson (ex-Le Mans Sunbeam Alpine) and Chris Gordon in Helen Elstop's ex-Le Mans Triumph Spitfire ended with Keith just behind his younger competitor, while the "novice" Colin Reed (novice as he raced mainly on ovals, but watch your mirrors) qualified in 27th position in the ex-Le Mans Sunbeam Harrington coupe. Unfortunately, Mark Field had to take home the recalcitrant Spitfire which let down Alistair Pugh at the end of the practice. We hope to see them soon back on the track.
Rain was forecast in the afternoon, but race one proved to be dry. It was a chance for Rod Begbie's TVR to shine again, but "flying" Neil Howe was not to be headed and he finished more than 11 seconds up. As brakes were fading and letting him down, John Andon was forced to retire on lap 17, giving 3rd position to Colin Pearcy, followed by the Brian and Pat Arculus TR3 and a very quick newcomer, Mike Harris, who established the fastest lap of race one in 1'29''70 (as we said, watch your mirrors). Chris Woodgate took a creditable 13th place at the wheel of the Jon Gross Elva Courier just behind eight MGBs and in front of Jerry Stock who reached 14th position (from the back of the grid as he did not practice). There was an entertaining dice between Paul "Daddy" Freeman (MGB), Mark Shears (Morgan Plus 4) and Simon Gurney (MGA Sebring), but Terry Bryant returned to the paddock with suspension problems, while.a blown piston ended James Willis' race sooner than expected in his Midget. However, he went well in his MG engined single-seater in another BRDC race.
On Sunday, sunshine was expected but we could see some competitors putting Rain-X on their windscreens. The track was dry (and greasy thanks to some leaking pre-war cars) but 'Kermit' Cull went off the track during the formation lap and managed to get some time in the arms of a lovely nurse in the medical centre. His headache was more the result of "thinking about work to do to fix car" even if the doctors kept him in observation. Starting from pole, Neil flew away, again, and as Rod Begbie was forced to retire on lap 16, Brian Arculus, getting back from officials his real name and car, managed to get his first podium of the season, finishing second in front of Colin Peacy's MGB. Jerry Stock did well, as starting from row 7 he finished 4th in front of John Pearson (5th) and Graham Bates (6th). Nick Wilkins worked hard for 13th in his "Silver Bullet" MGA behind six MGBs and John Palmer won the class again at the wheel of the Saunder's Midget. Helen Elstrop enjoyed her first ride in the ex-Peter Owen Racing TVR Grantura Mk3, finishing just in front of Mark Ellis and his works prepared MGA Twin Cam who had started at the rear of the field.
A superb racing weekend, enjoyed by everybody, with beautiful cars and safe racing. Everything was perfect, apart from the English "food". But, as you know, I am just a poor lonesome Frenchman . . . "
'Equipe' GTS at Zandvoort May 3rd / 4th
"The first continental round of Equipe GTS drove the pack to the popular and beloved track of Zandvoort. The ex- F1 Grand Prix circuit ( 1952 to 1985 – 30 GP ) is located a few miles away from Amsterdam, the 'City of Love'. Our hosts at the circuit were the Dutch club Historische Auto Ren Club (HARC), well known for organising good quality races in Holland.
Our next race is at Donington on May 31st with the VSCC meeting.
Christophe Willmart (WSM Foreign Correspondant)
Pictures - courtesy of Sue Richardson
17th/18th/19th April - Mixed Manx . .
Bray Hill - A healthy entry list endured disappointment on Thursday when gremlins and weather combined to beat the best efforts the organisers could muster. After one practice run, the timing gear failed, and although a second run was made, it was untimed in the wet conditions. When the visiting Morgan of Margaret Parkes lost traction on the greasy surface and rammed a wall, the right call was made and the event halted.
After three years of difficulties, it must be time to re-think the geography and plan another course. The work that has to be put in to make the event work is formidable, and one can only sympathise with all the crew involved - indeed, not one competitor stooped to ask for entry fee return. The organisers efforts deserve to be rewarded, and the MMRC now has discussion underway with the relevant bodies to provide for 2009.
Click on for YouTube video.
The Sloc - cold but dry, as evident in much of the garb in the pictures, and a couple of minor 'offs' failed to disrupt the smooth running of the bumpy climb. The largest class entries came from the Pre-71 Classic Cars up to 1500cc, and the Post-83 Sports Libre up to 2000cc where past form suggested Caterham's were the boys to beat. A local clean sweep down to 8th place in the Pre-71 Classics was headed by Dave Musgrove's vertically challenged Mini, while Paul Dangerfield's Caterham R500 had to dip beneath 43s to hold off Richard Weir and Steve O'Donoghue (oddly classed with the Road Saloons) to claim the FTD. Elsewhere, the Nadine Geary Dodge Viper headed up the Post-83 Sports Libre over 2000cc, which meant keeping a possee of GTD40's at bay, Jon Dobson and Anthony Shute got Lotus bragging rights for the day in Road and Racing classes, and Simon Baines comfortably saw off the multiple Morgan challenge.
Lhergy Frissell - acknowledged as the jewel in the Manx Classic crown, and the longest hill climb in the UK. The battle for top dog was decisively claimed by Dangerfield in the R500, but not before O'Donoghue had recorded a rapid 72.34 in the first competition run. Although O'Donoghue improved to 72.02, Dangerfield produced an astonishing 70.69.
The awsome 'Chain Gang' Fraser Nash entries added spice to proceedings, while the John Crook Lotus 69 and Paul Matty Lotus 35 shuffled the Lotus 2-11 of Shute down the order. Ian Corkhill showed his skills have not deserted him by holding off the Escort of Connor Corkhill in the Pre-83 Rally Cars, and the David Gray TVR 420 got the better of Ian Lloyd's BMW E30 in the Post-83 Road Saloons over 2000cc.
Click on for 'Octane' write-up
Pix courtesy of Paul Hardiman who has many quality shots.
Paddock - Good to catch up with Manx Classic regular's like Michael Stead in the Buckler Mk6, pictured 2a with Mike Furse in the Buckler Mk5, Tony Mitchell (4a), Frances Lobb (1c) and David Mylchreest (6a).
Quart in a pint pot - GTD40's three abreast somewhere across the Mountain course - myth or mayhem ? Picture 5b would suggest it was a feat as the 5.7 litre Bailey-Watts car limbers up at the Sloc.
3b, 6d and 9d, Clerk of the Course Graham Malcolm was a positive force over three days, and fronted a great team of marshalls and volunteers without whom the events simply don't happen.
John Richards (7a) debuts his Healey 3000 on the Island, and Jane Millward (7b) enjoyed her first visit too.
(1d ) Sprite fan Graeme Jennings (left) from Northern Ireland and Colby's Dave Turner will be back.
Not just cars that caught the eye - June Matty (7d) and Lyn Luxton (8c) enhanced the Lotus brand.
Edwin Faulkner's gorgeous Best of Show Maserati (4b) was not competing, but worth the snap.
Clustered by Chris Boyd's Westfield Megabusa (1a), the boys had the right gear for the Bray Hill conditions.
(5a) Q at the Sloc as rally man Alan Hisscott passes by in Adrian Kermode's Cooper 'S'.
Michael Webb's Moggie (3a & 3d) was certainly a box of tricks, and well presented.
"7000 miles a year in this ?" - realisation that the WSM editor's not made of the right stuff (2b)
The 308 Ferrari of John Moore (4d) hit the wall in practice at Waterworks, but credit to John in getting sorted for later.
John Aubiston's TVR 420 hit problems at the Lhergy Frissell, but what a soundtrack (2c)
"An evident reason for not wearing a roof (6c) on my GTD40 . . . "
(3c) O'Donoghue and the very rapid Caterham 7 HPL.
Where better ? Malcolm Openshaw typified the friendly and helpful marshalls (5d).
(8d) Tim Bowles and John Dalrymple ( Event Secretary - kilted) deserve the plaudits.
Morganistes Phillip and Margaret Parkes with C of C Graham Malcolm (9d).
Musgrove's love - the Mini specialist (10d) handled the accolades at prizegiving.
|Dinner pix courtesy of Bill Dale at isleofmanphotos.com
Pix courtesy of Pat Arculus Equipe GTS at Snetterton 5th/6th April . .
Click on for race report . .
Pix courtesy of Paul Webb Equipe GTS at Snetterton 5th/6th April . .
Ashworth TVR Win . . .
Click on for Equipe GTS race report from Donington on Easter Monday