Ken Clarke Motorsport was taking three cars to the circuit; the Richard Postins TWR Group A Rover; The Anthony Robinson Ex Works Group 1 Dolomite Sprint; and, my Group 1 ex works Rover 3500s. We arrived at mid day on Thursday, opened the garage, signed on and after a visit from the organisers, we passed scrutineering.
The programme for the weekend was quite sedate, with a free practice on Friday morning, then qualifying in the afternoon and another free practice in the dark that evening. All of which meant there would be plenty of time to relax. Or so we hoped. Not having raced the car here I was hoping to be at least within shooting distance of the 3 mins per lap mark.
From then on my weekend was compromised, no chance of racing at any kind of speed and unlikely to finish any races. Nonetheless the team worked all day to repair the casing and at least get me out for evening practice which went well if slowly. In the meantime an old axle from a 2 litre Rover was being transported from Hinckley and would arrive early the next morning.
|The broken axle showing the repair.|
Nonetheless I was comfortably leading the class which was reduced due to attrition, when the safety car was deployed due to a massive oil spill at the entrance to Blanchiment. We had at least one lap to run behind the safety car before the pit lane opened for the necessary stops, although my class rivals arrived just as it opened. That then compromised my chances of the class win because having spent another two laps behind the safety car my class rivals caught me up and passed me with a lap to go.
So, second in class and that was only due to the replacement axle which surprisingly held together for the race.
Massive thanks to Ken Clarke Motorsport and the entire team. As it happens I was the only podium finisher out of the three cars; Richard Postins broke his gearbox when lying fourth and Anthony Robinson suffered similar gearbox maladies when leading the Group 1 (TC2) class.
We shall be back!