Tel's Tales 017: Llandow 27th July 2013
Having missed 2 events at Harewood I decided that I would travel down to south Wales and try to score a few points at Llandow. For those who dont know south Wales is not my most popular arae as this year at Pembrey my engine had a problem in 2nd practice so I did not figure in the points and in 2008 I had a big crash at high speed, smashed the Duratec and broke 2 ribs in the process, when a single seater dumped oil on the wet track.
I set off on Friday at 1300hrs and joined the holiday traffic on the A1, M18, M1, M42, M5, M50 and M4 so over 6 hrs later I finally arrived at the camp site as you cant stay in the paddock. I pitched my small tent next to James Thatcher and went for a chat with Del, Gary, Keith Adams etc. Almost like summer with everyone in shorts and the lager flowing. Up at 0630hrs on Sat and tent packed up and off to track at 0700hrs. Quick ride around on my bike to check where the track went and remind myself of the painful part of the track at the end of hangar straight through the chicane. Looked like they have not replaced the front kerb line that I demolished years ago! Scrutineering produced the usual odd comments such as needing padding to the full cage and a few other interesting observations. We all got through and prepared for P1 with the weather forecast to rain later in the day.
There were 11 Westfields out and Barry (Mister 102) Slingsby was there to watch over proceedings but target times here are already very quick and in the end nobody beat their target and track conditions were very good. P1and P2 was the chance to try and remember the correct (if there is one) line through the bustop/control tower complex as well as judging how much of the white lines could be straddled. Del's gripper diff had been adjusted and reset but both he and Gary were not sure it was performing well and was still giving them grip problems. Everyone kept it on the black stuff and I was fastest Westfield on 77.89secs but still over 3 secs off target. The double driving Alun Price and Phil Dobson were concerned that their twin engined BEC had one engine that was playing up a bit. Del was down to 79.67secs but struggling for consistent rear end grip.. Tim Pennington, who was having a break from his normal harvesting tasks, was just ahead by 0.02secs at 79.00secs whilst battling with John Loudon, Keith Adams and Rob Crossland in class D. RbC's alternator got mashed due to it contacting the steering column...... he needs solid engine mounts to cure it but he kept running on battery power alone and no charging.
T1 was taken before lunch as a light rain was forecast and luckily T2 was also dry as the rain had passed. In class F James Thatcher made a change to his Protech shocks and got down to 86.16secs. Hard pushing Tim Pennington just lost out to John Loudon with 78.80secs and 78.31secs respectively. In class A Chris Bennett was on his own with 83.49secs. The class D battle was close and ended up with John Loudon winning with 78.31secs from Tim on 78.80secs, Keith Adams on 79.22secs and Rob Crossland on 83.09secs. Gary just pipped Del with 78.63secs against 79.26secs on his last run. Brian Jones clocked 82.56secs in class G and despite a fail in T1 due to my battery dropping to 9.90v (which the ecu did not like!- the south Wales bug strikes again) my only timed run was quickest on 76.03secs but still not as fast as Tim Nunn's record set last year. All Westfields were finished by about 1530hrs and there was no T3 so after the awards at 1615hrs we all set off home. Was it worth the cost and time for me ? ??? a great track but I think there needs t be a trackday or testing the day before, camping allowed in the paddock and a 2 day event. Track time (assuming I had not failed on T1 would be 4 x 76secs = 304secs = 5mins ! Distance travelled 530miles at 27mpg ( fuel at M1 services was 151.8p per litre and total travel time about 12 hours.. Will I go next year......... not if I have better options which is a shame cos its a great track and challenging. Off to garage now to see what is wrong with the battery or charging.
Speed Series Correspondent
Class G competitor