Tel's Tales 022: Thoresby Park 14th & 15th Sept 2013
Thoresby Park, run by Nottingham Sports car Club, has been supported by Westfield competitors for many years now and still has its challenges. It is on normal Thoresby Hall Estate roads that are only 8ft to 10 ft wide, are lined by trees and the course is protected by very large straw bales and the famous Thoresby barrels which not only damage your car if you hit them but also adds 1sec to your time if you clip a red one and knock the tennis ball off it. The build up to the weekend had forecast bad weather and that would prove quite a challenge to the 10 Westfield competitors. I had worked on my car in the week to put a new clutch in and fit new rear wings plus a repaired trickshifter so I had my fingers crossed. Barry Slingsby had been busy putting in his refurbed gearbox fitted with new syncro and Stu Hill had another engine in. Chris Bennett had driven to the event again and it was good to see Ian Davenport out for the first time this year.
Saturday P1 saw a wet but drying track in cold conditions which were going to make things quite challenging. Matt Turner was going very quickly as was Barry and Pete Goulding with Stu Hill providing us all with track reports as he ran in the early batch. There were a few hairy moments for us and P2 was no easier with Pete Gulding suffering a leaking core plug on his engine which he cured using a metal filler which did the job all weekend. In the timed runs I went straight on and hit the barrels at the first chicane as it became obvious that cold slicks and track do not help braking distances. In T1 the biggest off was a single seater who lost it after the finish and took out 30m of post and rail fencing doing major damage to the car but he was ok. At this stage the paddock wind ups were going well and a Dummy mysteriously appeared on the back of Matt Turners car (wonder who put that there then?) The times between everyone were close as usual Westfields led the rest. Steve Everall was going well but having to use different gears due to his new diff and he was under my strict instructions not to break any more wings! It became obvious that due to the track conditions we were struggling to get near the target times so class wins and FTD became our new target with several spirited and butt clenching drives as the grass verges and barrels tried to slow us down. Andy Hargreaves was struggling to get his brakes balance and pedal travel right on his R1 car. Matt's dummy seemed to be working as he was quick and did not eject the dummy from the car. In T3 Matt tried a bit too hard and nearly took his right rear wing off and the dummy nearly got jettisoned but in the true spirit of support I gave him 3 “used” nylon number plate bolts to refix it. (He really wanted 6 but that was just taking the p*** and would have added weight to his car!)
In the end Barry's spirited drives took FTD with Matt, Pete and myself close behind.
The big issue facing us all on Sunday was the weather. The forecast was for rain and wind as depicted in the bible describing the end of the world. Barry decided that he had nothing to gain and could easily damage his car so he withdrew whilst everything was still in one piece. Luckily it was not like that but was even colder and wetter than Saturday and that made grip levels low if none existent. P1 and P2 were on a very wet track and I put full wets on but they were no better than slicks. After P1 and P2 we were all about 9secs off target and I could not decide which tyres to use for T1. We had a brilliant wind up session and debate about what I should run and it was hard to know who was helping and who was giving me crap advice as the forecast rain did not arrive and the sky did not look too threatening. I always listen but do my own thing in the end anyway so I left the wets on and the run was almost the same as Matt who was on slicks. The fastest of the Westfield was very close with myself, Pete Goulding and Matt trying to post quick times and some prayed for rain whilst others wanted the dry. There was even a comical discussion in the paddock about stopping after T1 to ensure it was a 1.6e event scoring 100 points max but there were too many serious competitors there as well as Yorkshire men who want value for money so on we went. At some stage Stu Hill showed that he can be a bit aggressive and removed his right hand rear wing on some part of the course,which Richard Kerr helped refix. We tried bleeding Andy's brakes but it made little difference even when he borrowed my proper bleeding bottle etc and had Matt pumping the pedal. I put the whole issue down to a lack of adequate maintenance or technical skill and he was letting down the Yorkshire Mafia team so we will have to do something as punishment. He was later found to have dislocated his ankle whilst running across the paddock and I understand that he will not be reporting the incident to the Police. The times were getting tight and the posting of 1 sec penalties for some drivers was hard to understand as often there was no evidence of contact with the dreaded red barrels and tennis balls. In the end, despite a great last run from Pete Goulding, I held onto FTD by 0.04secs and from a hard trying Matt who decided to keep the dummy as a trophy.
On the way home the end of the world did happen as torrential rain forced us almost to a stop on the A1 as you could not see a thing and the wipers were useless. I do hope Chris Bennett made it and was not washed away in his floating Westfield so if nobody hears from him by next weekend please report him as missing in action.
I summary it was a good weekends sport that would have been better with more WSCC cars there and maybe we need to see if NSCC can get rid of the non essential barrels and make car damage a little less dramatic?
Next and last 2 events of the seasons are at Anglesey in October so lets have some good weather and hope to see ypu there on the island. In the meantime watch out for Tiggers results and see if they were 1.6e events and I am away on hol for a week in Turkey so that should warm me up.
Speed Series Correspondent
Class G competitor