'Equipe' GTS at Croft - May 16th/17th . .

Variable weather failed to hinder Darlington & District Motor Club's enthusiastic operation, and the welcome was typically warm for many first-timers to the North Yorkshire circuit.

Practice - Stephen Radcliffe's MGB set the pace (1.44.5) with an unusually large 1.8s margin for the head of the 'Equipe' GTS grid, although Graham Shrigley-Jones produced a corking lap for second spot. The TVR scrap for top dog continued with Simon Ashworth (3rd) and Malcolm Johnson (6th) to the fore, while in-form David Beresford and Jerry Stock were locked in MGB battle at 4th and 5th. Brian Arculus cajoled the Lotus Elite into 8th, and newcomer Paul Garside impressed with his similar car. After a huge accident at Spa at the end of last season, and subsequently enlisting MGA pilot Ron Cody's ministrations, it was good to see Paul Freeman out again in the rejuvinated MGB - likewise 'Equipe' GTS co-organiser Jim Lowry and the Lenham Spitfire.


Race 1 - Poleman Radcliffe's MGB gear lever came off in his hand in the assembly area, so at the start Shrigley-Jones was soon swamped by the unwelcome attentions of Ashworth and Beresford. Johnson hauled in Stock and Shrigley-Jones, chalking up fastest lap in the process, until the passenger door flew open and necessitated a pitstop to close, while 13th qualifier Mike Harris harried his way up to 7th. Colin Elstrop had mirrors full of the Graham Bates MGB in his quest for 10th, and "I'm not competitive . ." Clive Cocks in the WSM Sprite fended off the Garside Lotus by one second for 19th after availing himself of the gravel trap contents. Ashworth pulled away up front (1.43.4) for a comfortable win from the fast moustache in the Beresford 'B' and an ominous Johnson TVR in 3rd.

Race 2 - Tim Patchett's recalcitrant MGB gave a real workout for the paddock spectators and did eventually deign to start, and after fixing the errant gear lever, the Radcliffe MGB started at the back in 29th. Johnson from 3rd on the grid duly took the bull by the horns and swept into the lead, and although Ashworth lopped a second off his best lap from race one, he had no answer to a dominant Johnson who racked up a blistering 1.42.0 on his 13th lap and an impressive win. Drive of the Day arguably came from Radcliffe however, who stormed up the grid to 4th place and ran out of laps with the third placed Beresford moustache just 9 seconds up the road. The Elstrop & Bates show continued unabated until Elstrop pulled a comparatively massive 3 second margin through traffic to ease the grief for 10th. Mark Panhorn's elegant Healey 100 looked quite at home with the entertaining sideways antics employed to garner 14th, while John Hatton and Peter Bolderson might be at different ends of the hairstyle spectrum, but little separated their MGB's after 30 minutes close racing for 20th place.

WSM 208 had the engine back in on Friday evening, and with a few 'out of the box' issues to resolve, was resigned to running at the back of the grid. Wheel bearing failure in race one signalled an early finish, and minor gearbox gremlins curtailed race two.

". . Something I saw Mark ?"

. . " Mon dieu, best keep an eye out Colin ?"

What else could the birthday boy want ?

/A winning team

A thankyou to Colin after getting such an earful when he volunteered the catering duties to Helen . . . .

'Equipe' GTS - rounds 6 and 7 Brands Hatch May 30th/31st

Photographic contributions courtesy of Paul Webb