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Jeff Marsden: Mallory & Oulton Park Race Reports

By 29/05/2015October 15th, 2015No Comments

Race Report

Mallory Park 29th March 2015

Entered the TC for the Iconic 50’s Sports cars. Stayed at a local hostelry overnight for an early signing on and scrutineering.   Practice was wet, in fact there were hailstones whilst waiting in the assembly area!   Qualified 5th behind 2 MGA’a and the Edneys in a 1500 TB and a 1350 supercharged TC.

Come the race, one car in front was missing and the grid positions were not quite right. However when the lights changed I had a good start and into 3rd place only to be passed and pushed into 4th place at the exit of Gerards.  When the tyres were a bit warmer and I had judged the track conditions I managed to get 3rd place back and so an MGA, a supercharged TC of Peter Edney and my TC were in close company for several laps. That was until I could not find a gear coming out of Devil’s Elbow and it took until the entry into Gerards to find 3rd, by which time the leading pair were a further 150 yards up the track.  I was then baulked by some back markers which would have made it impossible to catch the leading pair so I settled for 3rd place and saved the engine. All in all. Not a bad result considering the conditions.

Oulton Park 16th May

This was a round of the Equipe GTS series in which my son and I could share the drive in the MGB as it was a 40 minute race.  Looking at the programme I realised that I could also race the TC so I duly entered at a discount rate.

It was cold with the occasional short shower and a distinct lack of cars.  The Silverstone meeting must have enticed some drivers.  As I was racing the TC, I did a short qualifying session (4 laps) to warm the tyres and check out the car having replaced the head gasket before handing over to son.  He did a quicker qualifying time than me but we were still near the back of the grid.

TC qualifying went OK making 5th on the grid despite there being some quick cars in the session. Towards the end of qualifying I noticed the water temperature starting to rise so eased off for the last lap. Back in the paddock I added some water to the rad after it had cooled, checked the tyres, refuelled and checked the wheel spinners.  However, after lunch there was a slow drip of water coming out of the exhaust pipe below the manifold and the level in the radiator had gone down.

Another head gasket failure?  Withdrew from the race as engine rebuilds are quite a lot more cash than head gasket replacements.

And so to the MGB race.  Next to last on the grid and at the side of a DB2 Aston. Lights on, 4500 revs, lights off and a brilliant start with some help from someone further up the grid that bogged down and held several people up. Must have made up at least 8 places. On the outside of a congested 1st bend and I have to take avoiding action and onto the grass. There is absolutely no control and the car spins and comes back onto the track to be hit at the front by another competitor which spun the car round in the track. Thanks to the quick reactions of the following drivers there were no other impacts, but the car that had hit me went out of control and took out somebody else.  Red flag, race stopped after the first corner.  Suspended tow back to the paddock and after a cup of tea set about getting it back into the trailer.  The clerk of the course summoned the three unfortunates for a report on the accident(s) and concluded it was a racing incident.

Damage assessment is new front end as both chassis legs were bent from the bulkhead, new bonnet, wing, grille, headlight, etc.  It will probably total somewhere near £5k to repair.  So, as well as depriving son of a drive, it was an altogether BAD day out and there is no chance of it being ready for Silverstone in June.  At least I was OK and it could have been worse!

TC now has a new gasket and faced head and the “B” is stripped down waiting for the repair panels to arrive.

Let’s hope that the TC survives Donington Park on 31st May.