On track

Tim takes his MkI on an­other rac­ing ad­ven­ture…

Mini Magazine - - Our Minis -

Well I had to get the MkI racer to fin­ish one race be­fore the sea­son end, so I en­tered the A-se­ries chal­lenge at Donington (yup – A-se­ries en­gine cars pre-’66). Grids have been down across the board this year but the take up was good in the end, with 41 cars en­ter­ing.

What hadn’t been fac­tored in was that it rained on the day – not just light stuff but mon­soon qual­ity! In the run up this made it fairly un­pleas­ant for those who had come un­pre­pared (me) but con­di­tions favour our favourite lit­tle car. Twenty-six A-se­ries-en­gined cars were fronted on the grid by six Minis, with me in sixth. The floor pan of my car had its own mini-tsunami and even the par­cel shelf at the back was awash. The track was lit­tered with rear-wheel drive stuff spin­ning off.

Come the race and there was a fran­tic wip­ing of Fairy liq­uid on the in­sides of the glass and poly­car­bon­ate to stop demist­ing; WD40 on the dizzy cap and leads, wet weather grille with plate in front of the dizzy just in case. Joe Fer­gu­son was on Pole but as we were called up his electrics died so he sadly didn’t get a race.

I had a Mus­tang be­hind me and when the flag dropped I made a nice clean start and got up to third be­hind fel­low Mini shop owner Nick Paddy and Wil­liam Lynch. We scrab­bled our way around see­ing if there was much oil down just to add in­sult to the rain, and on the sixth cor­ner Wil­liam found some and went straight on into the gravel trap. The con­cen­tra­tion to keep the car on the road was im­mense and on the end of the first lap en­gine-builder Tom Bell eased past me so I set­tled down in third be­hind Nick Paddy. There was a gap be­hind so as I wasn’t im­me­di­ately go­ing to be chal­lenged from be­hind there came the three mind games bit: 1) Try to out-psych the man in front to make a mis­take; 2) Work out where you might be able to get past cleanly; and 3) Wait un­til a back-marker gets in the way to give you an ad­van­tage!

Well I have to ad­mit that as it was a short­ened race I copped out and set­tled for third, as I fig­ured that was bet­ter than a heroic dive that might have ended up with an­other re­tire­ment. Ah, the joys of age.

The other joy I had re­cently was meet­ing an old friend at the Ac­tion Day at Cas­tle Combe. Mark Davies used to help me at shows in 1983-4 soon af­ter I started my busi­ness. He’s now a re­spectable hus­band and fa­ther but has re­cently started rac­ing in Mighty Minis and this is his ‘learn­ing how to do it sea­son’. Proper grown up and sen­si­ble, just like me…

Pho­tog­ra­phy Stu­art Wat­son

Tim and his MkI get­ting out on a very wet track!

Tom Bell had a good race.

Andy Har­ri­son and Howard Don­ald.

Wil­liam Lynch in ac­tion.

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