Tim takes his MkI on another racing adventure…
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…
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.