Shelsley Walsh August 16th / 17th 2008 Results

Shelsley Walsh Saturday 16th / Sunday 17th August 2008

Another 1st and 2nd in Class!

Well, we expected the weather to win another round this season but as it turned out we were very lucky. We arrived with slicks on – a bit optimistic given the forecast – but the rain held off longer than expected. We both had two practice runs and were able to use them to try out various suspension changes. In the hope of getting a third practice I removed the rear diffuser to see if we could reduce the drag on the final straight. Unfortunately just as I sat in the queue the rain started so although I took the third run it wasn’t possible to judge what difference it might make.

Sunday was almost a repeat of the previous weekend at Loton. The overnight rain had left the track very wet and there was no sign of it drying when we walked the course at 8.15. People who had stayed overnight said it had not dried at all in the last two hours. So with Fen to run 4th car up the hill we decided to put on the cut slicks. This proved to be the correct decision and she did a steady 37.71 secs. By the time I went up in the next batch the track was drying rapidly but it was still very damp through the “S”s and the cut slicks did not slow me down. I recorded a time of 30.89 secs, enough to lead the class. We enjoyed the rest of the morning watching other runs. Meanwhile the face of Formula 1, Murray Walker, amazingly sprightly at 85, was doing a good trade in book signing!

With the weather looking unpredictable we waited until later in the morning to change onto slicks. It was a very full meeting and the first top 12 run-off hadn’t even taken place by the time the Spitfire arrived at 2pm to entertain the crowd. No announcements were made so we assumed that, despite the late-running, a lunch break would be taken before second runs. Imagine my shock, when, helping some of the other drivers near the start line, I realized that the first batch of 2nd runs was already coming to the line. I ran back to help Fen into the car and encouraged her to really go for it in the 2nd run. And she did – a personal best of 31.99secs which proved good enough for 2nd in class. Reassuring me that all was well with the car I set out to try to break my own record. With two practice runs under 30 seconds I was sure that a 28 second run should be possible and conditions were perfect. But after rounding Top S and heading towards the finishing line there was a horrible knocking noise from the car so I couldn’t fully commit and ended up with 29.60 seconds, winning the class but not a new record. Worrying that the noise I had heard might be serious and knowing we were due out next week at Gurston, I was relieved to realize it was the undertray which had come loose in the middle, probably sucked off with the downforce because we had removed the rear diffuser. Nothing that a few rivets and a few uncomfortable minutes under the car couldn’t sort and it was good to have the car running so strongly with another big power hill next on the schedule.

Waiting to go:

Approaching the start:

Off the start line:

A fitting tribute!:

[Photographs by Stephan Lewen]