29 September 2012
Spa 6 Hrs 2012
Sometimes even one's favourite event can lead to disappointment and this year Spa was just that. Arriving on the Thursday we had the usual hassle associated with access to the garage due to a team already ensconced complete with transporters etc. No space for us. After a bit of discussion we managed to organise things and get the cars into "our"bit of the garage, which admittedly would be crowded.
We scrutineered the Capri on Thursday and the MG on Friday morning. Both cars had already been prepped so it was just a case of firing them up and heading out for the necessary qualifying. First up was the Masters race so I took the Capri out for its 30mins. Previously on the Dunlops I managed 3:08 so I was hopeful of improvement now that I'm using Toyos. I managed 3:06 which was a bit disappointing but I felt the gearing was all wrong. I generally take Eau Rouge and Raddilon in top gear and then just keep the foot in all the way up to Les Combed. This year the car came off cam going up Raddilon but I felt, not enough to warrant changing down.
Anyway I qualified 24th so wasn't too unhappy, just puzzled.
The MG ran into electrical problems after an hour of running in which I spent most of my time behind slower but very wide cars. Hence I was not a happy bunny. However we qualified quicker than last year but only 8 places further forward! We replaced the alternator, front brakes (which had gone spongy) and for good measure, the head gasket, which on inspection had begun to leak in three places! Not an auspicious session really.
The race was going well until on lap five Ken brought the car in with a snapped alternator belt. Tim changed it in quick time and Ken took the car out again. When he came in for his scheduled stop we were 84th so we'd made up 6 places. Then it was my turn and once I had disposed of service mini my times started to become respectable and I came in at the end of my stint in 78th. Anthony took the wheel and went quicker to bring us down to 72nd, but he came in early with overheating and a rattle from the engine. Sadly our Six hours ended after three.
Sunday arrived without the predicted rain and we assembled on the grid for the Masters race. As expected I was able to overtake cars into Eau Rouge, but they go back going up the hill! I will have to start changing gear. I got a fright when I was preparing to overtake a BMW and as I was about to out brake him, he slammed his brakes on. I took avoiding action and went to the outside of the corner (last Source). Anyway, having to follow him I came upon Henry Mann in the Cortina. I passed him into Eau Rouge and with boring predictability, he got past by Les Combes. I got into position overtake into Les Combes on the next lap and went down on the inside on the brakes. He had other thoughts and as Inwas giving us both room Henry came back at me with the result that we both spun! Hegot going quicker than me and not knowing whether I had suffered damage, I pitted. After a quick check I went back out.
There are various accounts of what happened next so here is my view. On my second lap after stopping, I was passed by Any Scragg in the Jag, he also passed a black Healey just ahead of me. I was lining up the Healey when, rounding the first Ranges, I saw the Jag spinning in the air! Realizing there would be yellows both the Healey and I slowed. However there was oil all over the track and try as I might I couldn't get round so I followed the Healey into the gravel trap. Fortunately I was able to avoid hitting the Healey by turning my wheels As they hit the gravel so I missed him by about half a metre.
I undid my belts and was just reaching for the door when I was raggy dolled by the Momo Escort which had obviously.not been warned of the danger. Sadly that pushed me into the Healey! But it didn't stop there. As I was climbing out there was another loud bang which was an Aston DB5 hitting the Escort! After that Tommy Gilmerton Arrived and hit the Aston, Henry Mann managed to park in the gravel, without hitting anything!
I think there were, in all, ten cars in the gravel. The Jag had hit the Sunoco Camero that was already there, and I think (but don't know) that it was this car that dumped the oil, not the Jag. My car was pulled out and I was able to drive back, however my damage is small compared to that of the Escort, Aston and the Gilmartin Capri.
It was clear to me that the marshals at the first Fanges were slow in putting out the slippery surface flags, that said any car traveling faster than 10mph would probably have left the track anyway! The marshals on post, it must be said, could not have done anymore than they did.
Anyhow it kind of summed up my weekend.