Silverstone Stowe Circuit 3rdJune 2018
After around a 6 or 7 years break we eventually managed to get invited to attend this meeting although it turned out to be a single lap and not the 2 lapper I remember from the past. We had quite a good turnout of 11 Westfields even though it was on the same weekend as Pembrey (2 events in the south on the same weekend!). The forecast for Sunday was good but as I loaded up the car and set off it was raining hard in York. The first bad news I had was that Mark Anson’s engine had failed in first practice at Pembrey so he was not a happy bunny particularly after his long haul from Blackpool. That track does seem to eat engines for some reason. We could only arrive after 1600hrs to get a decent paddock position but what a shock Steve and I got as it was in the worst condition I have ever seen. Basically it was a gravel covered dirt area with no chance for cars on slicks (one actually punctured on the gravel and you can’t repair slicks) There was dust everywhere and even a sweeping brush had no effect. Steve, Margaret, Simon Waterfall and I walked the “new track” and it looked very tight in places through the chicane in the straight which was about 40m wide so it was anyone’s guess as to where the best line was and there was even gravel patches on that too. On getting back we noticed that the main toilet block was being locked for the night and were told of an alternative hut where there were only men’s toilets so that went down well for the people camping with girlfriend’s , wives and kids. The place reminded me of a rundown building site. We met up with Lee Collar who is now driving Mark Anson’s old orange blade car and it was good to see Richard Houlgate, Matthew Haynes out again. The sunny evening and a few beers with my chilli diner made the world look a bit nicer but sleeping was hard as there were 2 generators running all night. Sunday was a hot, hot day. The contrast between surviving the Siberian cold and wet of Croft compared to today’s Saharan desert sun was crazy but just as difficult as we suffered in our hot babygrows and helmets whilst in long queues towards the start line. Some of us signed on and were scrutineered on Saturday night but Howard Gaskin was panicking a bit as he had left his competition licence at home.
I was lucky enough to have Steve’s wife Margaret acting my pit buddy and carrying tyres as well as doing a great job cleaning them between runs. The first clean after P1 produced two tack nails that she found stuck in my tyre.
We were promised 2 practice and 3 timed runs but an hours delay at the start plus problems with the heat affecting the timing gear meant we only got 2 timed runs. Whilst waiting in line for the start some of us were politely told not to lean on the pit wall which was odd as the event had not even started. It was obvious from early incident of cars hitting the tyres forming the chicane that this was a tricky area that could cause bug damage if you got it wrong. I missed the tyres by a whisker on my first run and I think that Richard Houlgate and Matthew Haynes had to go for a gap between the tyres as they lost their way through the chicane. The timing was also frustrating the drivers as often there was only one car on the track which slowed proceedings down so we did not finish P1 until 1115hrs approx. After P1 there were 10 Westfields in the top 12. Just to add to the fun the Gents toilets became blocked and the café ran out of food. Most of us found that by P2 we were beginning to get an idea of where the track went and starting to get some grip through the tricky bends.
T1 started at around 1400hrs by which time the heat was becoming intense and god knows how many cans of diet coke I drank. T2 was the final run except for me as my engine refused to start as I headed to the start. Despite the help of Steve Carpenter, Roz Kennett, Steve Everall and Howard Gaskin we could not get it sorted. The other guys put in some great times in a field of 110 cars and there were some very close battles going on for class on the day awards as well as our own classes. In the end there were 6 Westfields in the top 12 cars and Simon Waterfall, Matthew Haynes, Howard Gaskin and myself won our classes on the day. I had a personal with Lee Collar and I just beat him by half a second (he looks a good bet for future honours as does Simon Waterfall).
Overall Positions on the day were as follows:
I was quite jealous of the trophies awarded as they were huge and well received by our guys. In summary it was a good challenging track to drive but the weekend did not run smoothly.
Class G competitor