HSCC meetings Croft and Oulton Park August 2016
August is a busy month in the competition calendar with two of the most distant (from West London) meetings at Croft, near Darlington, and at Oulton Park by Chester. Driving the race-car to and from the circuits as I have done for 25 years, this August came to 1250 miles in the Camaro - and 105 gallons of fuel! Many thanks to Jeff Bloxham for the fantastic photgraphs (obviously the copyright is his).
At Croft, a 2.1 mile ex-WW2 airfield circuit, we had one race on the Saturday and another on the Sunday. Our HSCC Championship, the Historic Road Sports (for sixties sports cars) was merged on the track with the HSCC 70s Road Sports. This made for a large grid of 36 cars for Race 1. After my poor start from 21st on the grid, the Camaro was placed 18th overall and sixth out of the HRS competitors. For Race 2, I concentrated on my starting technique and got away cleanly climbing from 18th to 12th in the first lap. However a Savage novices-style mistake on the penultimate lap demoted me to 18th at the finish, 8th in H.R.S. The Yokohama tyres were rooted after Croft, so it was off to Martin at RPM for a tire change & balance, and some serious work on the gear selection linkage after problems in the Croft races. The linkage apparatus catches a lot of road debris, and after a meticulous clean-up, re-adjustment and oil change by Martin, all was well.
Three weeks later we set off the 180+ miles to Oulton Park on the Friday prior to August Bank Holiday, never a good day on Britain’s roads and certainly not on the M6 which was jammed from 11 a.m. Oulton is a 2.7 mile parkland circuit - very fast and undulating with a number of quick and tricky corners. After an enjoyable and trouble-free race, the Camaro finished 9th out of 24 starters, beaten by the lighter Morgan Plus8s and a 5-litre de Tomaso Mangusta.
At both Croft and Oulton I was able to beat last year’s fastest lap times. As at mid-August the Chevy was running sixth overall out of 30 regular contenders in the HRS championship with one round to go. The key to the Camaro’s success is Martin’s careful and meticulous race preparation, the engine untouched for 3 seasons since its May 2014 rebuild. Next and final race is Silverstone on Sunday 16th October.